From the University of Arkansas:
FAYETTEVILLE - The University of Arkansas softball team defeated the Colorado State Rams, 5-4, in nine innings, and the Southern Utah University Thurnderbirds, 3-2, at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah.
Both games came down to the final at bat for the Razorbacks and they left day one in St. George with two nail-biting wins. Arkansas won game one on a throwing error committed by 2012 Mountain West pitcher of the year Kacie McCarthy of Colorado State. Sophomore Devon Wallace scored the winning run after freshman Stephanie Canfield sacrificed her to third base on a bunt. Canfield finished the day with five hits in her first two games as a Razorback. She also had a long throw to gun down a Thunderbird runner in game two and preserve a tie. Head coach Mike Larabee was impressed with his freshman centerfielder.
"I think Stephanie had an outstanding day," Larabee said. "She did a great job defensively and came up with some big hits for us. I knew she was going to come in and make some big plays for us."
Wallace also came across the plate to end game two after Clarissa Navarro belted a double off of the left field wall. The second game featured excellent defense from the team, not committing an error after having two in game one. Larabee was happy with the first day in Utah.
"I am feeling pretty good about the team right now,"Larabee said. "Those were two great games. It feels really good to get two wins but we have a lot of things that we need to work on. I don't think we played close to our potential today. But it is a good thing to come out with two wins on the first day. I thought our pitching and defense were solid today."
Chelsea Cohen picked up both wins for the Razorbacks in the circle, allowing three earned runs in 12 innings of work. Hope McLemore started game two, only allowing one run in four innings, while striking out two.
"I thought they both pitched very well," Larabee said. "We always talk about our pitchers keeping us in the game and battling. I thought Hope was really well and I thought Chelsea came in, in game two, and got us some big outs."
Game one began with Colorado State scoring in the first inning when leadoff batter Ashlie Ortega singled and then scored on an Emily Pohl sacrifice fly later in the inning.
Arkansas answered in the fourth when Jennifer Rambo reached on a throwing error from the second baseman and then scored on a Jayme Gee single. Ashley Martindale came in to pinch run for Gee and she was able to advance to third on a Chloe Oprzedek single. The speedster, Martindale, then changed the game when she scored on an out made by Canfield. Canfield's hit was fielded by the shortstop and the shortstop went to third base to get a tag out on Oprzedek. Martindale was able to score seconds before the tag was placed on Oprzedek, giving the Hogs a 2-1 lead.
That lead would prove to be pivotal as the Rams scored in the top of the fifth on a triple by Ortega. Arkansas was able to put runners on in the next three innings but could not convert a run.
The 2-2 tie lasted until the eighth inning when CSU's Cassy Mosser scored. She was on second base due to the international tiebreaker rule, used for this tournament when a game goes into extra innings. After advancing to third on an arid throw by Razorback shortstop Clarissa Navarro, she scored on a single from Alysa Greckel. The Rams scored another run in the eighth to make the score 4-2 with the Razorbacks facing their final half inning.
Arkansas started the inning placing Amanda Summerford at second as its runner for the tiebreaker rule. Larabee pinch hit Rambo and she was able to line a single to right field. This advanced Summerford to third and the Hogs had two runners on. After two consecutive outs Oprzedek lined a two-out, two-run single to tie the game at four.
After a one-two-three inning for Cohen, the Razorbacks had Devon Wallace at second to start the bottom of the ninth. Canfield laid down the bunt to advance the runner to third but McCarthy made a wild throw and Wallace scored the game winning run.
Game two was as tightly contested as game one, but this time Arkansas got on the board first. Navarro singled and scored in the first inning when Schroeder made contact and forced an error by the Thunderbirds.
Southern Utah tied the game when Mikkel Griffin hit a solo home run over the left field wall in the top of the third. The Razorbacks countered in the bottom of the third when Navarro scored her second run of the game after reaching on a fielder's choice.
The game was again tied in the top of the fifth, this time by Katie Olinger, she hit a double to center field and scored on a double by Kelsey Bryant. The game was back even at two runs apiece.
The score would stay tied as Cohen worked a one-two-three sixth and then got out of a one-out jam in the seventh. She struck out two batters with runners on second and third to prolong the game and give the Hogs a tie score going into its final at bats.
Wallace led off the seventh inning with a walk. After Canfield was unable to move her to second, Navarro approached the plate. She was able to shoot a ball into the left field gap for a double. Wallace got a great jump from first base and came all the way around to score her second game winning run of the day.
The Razorbacks will continue play in the Red Desert Classic tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. CT against Loyola Marymount and versus Weber State at 5:00 p.m. CT.