Hogs fall in close contest to Bama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In game one of Sunday’s doubleheader, the No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team stood two outs shy of a win at ninth-ranked Alabama before the home team rallied on its way to a 4-3 triumph in nine innings. Alabama completed the day’s sweep with a 5-0 win in the second game. The teams were playing a doubleheader after Saturday’s weather-produced postponement.
Game 1: #9 Alabama 4, #24 Arkansas 3 (9 inn.)
For the 12th time this season, the Razorbacks scored in the first inning. Senior catcher Shelby Hiers led off the game with a walk and after a single by Nicole Schroeder, the team had runners on first and second with one out. Tori Cooper followed with a base hit to right, and a misplay in the outfield allowed Hiers to round third and put Arkansas on the scoreboard. It was her 30th run scored of the season.
The Razorbacks padded their lead with two runs on three hits including a pair of two-out RBI knocks for Stephanie Canfield and Cooper. With Autumn Russell standing on third, Canfield delivered with the 15th-career triple to drive home the second run of the game. After a walk to Schroeder, Cooper tagged a single up the middle to plate Canfield and push the advantage to three runs.
Looking to stretch its lead, Arkansas loaded the bases for the third time in the sixth inning. However, Alabama starter Sydney Littlejohn retired the next three to keep the Razorbacks’ lead at three; Arkansas stranded 14 baserunners in the game. The home team trailed 3-1 entering the seventh but pulled even on an RBI triple and sacrifice fly to send the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Alabama’s Chandler Dare ended the game with a solo homerun to right field.
Freshman starter Autumn Storms took the loss but not without a solid effort, scattering seven hits over a career-long outing of 8.1 innings. During one stretch between the second and fifth innings, she retired 11 of 12. Storms faced a bases-loaded jam in the sixth but limited the damage to one run, getting out of the frame with a strikeout.
Game 2: #9 Alabama 5, #24 Arkansas 0 (6 inn.)
Alabama starter Alexis Osorio—the NCAA leader in strikeouts—held the Razorbacks to one hit in the second game of the day. Junior transfer A.J. Belans registered a one-out base knock in the second inning, and now has a hit in eight of the past nine games. Hiers was the other Razorback to reach, drawing a walk in her final at-bat. Due to Arkansas travel schedule back to Fayetteville, the game was called at the end of six innings.
Freshman Caroline Hedgcock entered the game facing a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second inning. She responded by retiring the two hitters she faced with a pop out and chopper back to the circle which she handled for the last out. Alabama (24-2, 3-0 SEC) did tag Hedgcock with three runs—two earned—on four hits in the third. The home team went on to score two additional runs off Allison Stewart in the bottom of the sixth to salt away the win.
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