|THURSDAY SOFTBALL SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|Arkansas 8, Jackson State 0
|Mississippi State 2, Florida Atlantic 1
|Arkansas 8, Butler 1
|Mississippi State 5, Florida Atlantic 0
Razorbacks Sweep Two Games in Home Opener
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The University of Arkansas softball team opened its 2014 home schedule Thursday with wins over Jackson State and Butler at Bogle Park. The Razorbacks posted winning scores of 8-0 and 8-1, respectively, to get to 4-3 through the first seven games of the season. During the two games, Arkansas hitters combined for five home runs while pitchers Grace Moll and Kimmy Beasley totaled 18 strikeouts.
GAME 1 vs. Jackson State:
After two scoreless innings, the Razorbacks tallied the first run of the day with a solo home run by Devon Wallace. The big fly was the first of the season for Wallace and second hit of the game as she led off the game with a double. Later in the inning, Arkansas worked the bases loaded with the help of a JSU error and two hit batters. Parker Pocklington delivered with a bases-clearing double to left center.
Moll, in her second career start, struck out eight hitters and held the Tigers to just one hit and no runs in five innings. Back at the plate, Arkansas tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings. With the score standing at 6-1 and a runner on second, Jayme Gee lined a ball down the left-field line and over the fence to clinch the Razorbacks’ five-inning win.
GAME 2 vs. Butler:
Kasey Fagan was 4-for-4 in the second game including an RBI triple in the first inning to start the Arkansas scoring. She came around to score on a base hit by Clarisa Navarro to give the Razorbacks an early two-run lead. Overall, Arkansas had a season-high 12 hits against the Bulldogs with at least one hit from seven different players. After a sacrifice fly scored a run in the third, Pocklington launched her first of two home runs with a solo shot to lead off the third. She and pinch hitter Amanda Geile each had solo home runs in the sixth frame.
In the circle, Beasley notched an Arkansas season-high 10 strikeouts and allowed just two Butler hits. The Bulldogs scored their only run in the top of the sixth but stranded runners on first and third when Beasley posted her eighth strikeout of the game. The Foreman, Ark., native struck out the first two hitters in the seventh and got Audrey Hiner to foul out to end the game.
MSU Softball Takes Two At FAU
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Playing its first road games of the 2014 season, the Mississippi State softball team (7-0) used dominant pitching and two home runs to sweep Florida Atlantic (3-4) on Thursday evening to open the FAU Strike Out Cancer Tournament.
The Bulldogs took game one 2-1 with a two-run home run from junior Julia Echols and the nightcap 5-0, powered by a solo long ball from senior Heidi Shape and two-run single from junior pinch hitter Erika Gaul.
MSU is 7-0 or better for just the fourth time in program history, joining the 2008 (11-0), 2006 (16-0) and 2004 squads (7-0).
In addition to the home run heroics, pitching was a key piece of the MSU puzzle again as senior Alison Owen and freshman Alexis Silkwood combined to surrender just four hits and strike out 23 without walking a batter.
In the opener, Owen (3-0) limited the Owls to two singles and a solo home run and did not walk a batter while fanning 11 in the complete-game performance. Kylee Hanson (0-2) went the distance for FAU and held the Bulldogs to two hits and a trio of walks while fanning three.
During the second contest, Silkwood (2-0) retired the first 12 batters of the game and finished with a career-high 12 whiffs. Silkwood surrendered just a leadoff single to open the bottom of the fifth. FAU’s Samantha Messer tossed five-and-a-third innings, yielding three singles, a walk and Shape’s long ball. She fanned five, walked one and hit two. Amanda Wilson entered for the final inning-and-two-thirds, giving up two hits and a pair of runs with a walk and strikeout.
In game one the Bulldogs scored their two runs with a two-out rally in the top of the second inning. After a strikeout and groundout opened the frame, freshman Mackenzie Toler drew a walk to continue the frame. Echols followed with her second home run in the last three games to give the Bulldogs a two-run lead.
Neither team mounted another threat until the bottom of the fourth, when FAU’s Christina Martinez beat out a single to Owen to open the frame. Owen bounced back with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to end the threat.
Following the Echols’ home run, Mississippi State did not have another hit until one out in the fifth, when sophomore Loryn Nichols singled off the glove of a leaping FAU third baseman. Nichols was erased on a fielder’s choice by classmate Kayla Winkfield, who left first base early to close the frame.
Owen retired the next six batters she faced before Melissa Martinez led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run just inside the left-field foul pole. Owen answered with three-straight strikeouts to seal the victory.
In the second contest, the Bulldogs had a two-out opportunity in the top of the first on consecutive singles from seniors Logan Foulks and Sam Lenahan. Messer ended the frame with a lineout to the left fielder.
Silkwood retired the first nine batters in order. In the top of the fourth, MSU mounted its second threat as Foulks was hit by a pitch to open the frame, but three-straight fielder’s choices ended the half inning.
Echols led off the Bulldogs’ fifth getting hit by a pitch. A Nichols fielder’s choice erased Echols at second, but Nichols stole second base with Winkfield at the plate. A Winkfield groundout moved Nichols to third, but she was left stranded after a strikeout.
After the Owls’ defensive hold, Shelby Knox led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single to left to break up Silkwood’s perfect game. Pinch runner Sarah Howell moved to second on a one-out fielder’s choice but was left stranded by a strikeout.
In the top of the sixth, the Bulldogs took a 4-0 lead. Shape led off with her long ball. Following a Foulks lineout to left, Lenahan walked and was replaced by redshirt freshman pinch runner Olivia Golden. Freshman Caroline Seitz singled through the left side and Toler walked to load the bases for Echols, who was hit by a pitch to force in Golden for a two-run cushion. After a strikeout, Gaul delivered a two-run single to left center for the final two runs of the frame.
Lenahan tacked on the final run for MSU with a two-out solo home run in the top of the seventh.
Silkwood got into her only trouble of the night in the bottom of the seventh as Christina Martinez was safe at first on an error to open the frame. After two strikeouts, Silkwood hit Jordan Stovall to put two runners on. Silkwood shut the door, recording her third whiff of the frame to earn her second victory in as many starts.
MSU continues action Friday at the FAU Strike Out Cancer Tournament with a 9 a.m. CT contest against LIU-Brooklyn before taking on Maryland at 2 p.m.