Arkansas Sends Bears to Fourth Straight Loss with 11-3 Victory
SPRINGFIELD -- Arkansas built an early lead over the Missouri State Bears Wednesday (April 28) evening and never let up, pounding out 14 hits in an 11-3 victory in non-conference softball action at Killian Stadium. UA's Sandra Smith went 3-of-5 with four RBIs to lead the Razorbacks, who improved to 26-24 overall on the season.
Brittany Robison played a key role for Arkansas as well, highlighting the Hogs' three-run, first inning with a two-run double and driving in another run in the fourth with a sacrifice fly. Courtney Breault added a pair or RBI singles in UA's two key scoring rallies and finished the game 2-of-4.
Arkansas wasted little time in grabbing control of the contest, striking for three runs with two out in the top of the first inning. After MSU starting pitcher Lauren Supak retired Smith on a foul-pop to rightfield for out number two, Miranda Dixon coaxed a walk to keep the inning alive. That opened the door for the Razorbacks who recorded three straight hits, beginning with Layne McGuirt's liner off the foot of Supak for an infield single that loaded the bases. Breault followed with a line-drive base hit off the glove of third baseman Bubba Weiss to plate the first run of the game, and Robison came through with a double into the gap in right-centerfield to chase home two more baserunners for a 3-0 UA lead.
The Bears (14-28) came right back with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first. Jenna Schwark drove in Tyler Porter with a single to center, and Ashley Knehans delivered a two-out single to left to plate Schwark and draw MSU to within one run.
After the Razorbacks added a single run in the second on a Dixon RBI-double, UA capitalized on a one-out Missouri State fielding error in the fourth to break the game wide open with four more runs. MSU reliever Natalie Rose got Brittany Griffiths on a fly ball to center to open the frame, Jessica Bachkora hit a hard grounder to first that Knehans couldn't handle to set up another UA scoring opportunity. Becca Carden then hit a slow roller to short for another infield single, and Smith belted a two-run double to right-center to make it a 6-2 game. Following another walk for Dixon, Breault made the Bears pay once again, this time with a single to left that brought in pinch-runner Amanda Summerford. Robison capped the rally with a sacrifice fly to right that drove in Dixon to make it an 8-2 contest.
MSU added a run in the sixth when Weiss doubled home Knehans, but Smith would help push the Arkansas lead to eight runs with two more run-scoring doubles over the final three innings. The senior third baseman drove in Griffiths with a gap shot to right-center in the fifth, then put the finishing touches on her day with a liner down the rightfield line to record her fourth RBI and stretch the UA lead to 11-3.
Chelsea Cohen (3-2) worked four shutout innings of relief to earn the victory for Arkansas, while Supak (6-9) was saddled with the loss for the Bears.
Alaina Burkhart joined Knehans and Weiss in leading the Bears with 2-for-3 performances at the plate to key MSU's nine-hit attack.
Up next, the Bears will close out the home portion of the home schedule with a three-game series against Indiana State, beginning with a noon doubleheader on Saturday (May 1).