FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The University of Arkansas softball team dropped the series finale to the No. 13 LSU Tigers, 5-4, on Sunday at Bogle Park.
In the loss, Devon Wallace walked three times to give her 105 walks in her career. This cemented Wallace as the UA all-time career walks leader. She passed Sandra Smith's total of 103, who tallied her walks for the Razorbacks from 2006-2010.
"That is incredible because she is just a sophomore," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Devon is probably going to break almost every hitting record in Arkansas history. We talk about her plate discipline all the time, but she is great at not swinging at pitches out of the zone."
Leading the Razorbacks at the plate was Sierra Bronkey. The junior belted a two-run homerun in the second inning. Also tallying an RBI was freshman Claire Clark, she went 1-for-3 on the day.
"There are a lot of positives to take away from this game," Larabee said. "We talked about coming out and scoring a big number, early. In this conference, teams are not going to quit. I think we can learn from that today."
In the circle it was Kimmy Beasley for the Razorbacks. She went seven innings and gave up four earned runs on seven hits. She also struck out 11 LSU batters to give her 23 on the weekend in 14 innings pitched.
"Unbelievable performance from her this weekend," Larabee said. "I challenged her in front of the team to put us on her shoulders. She gave us a chance to win. I am proud of her for throwing back-to-back quality starts."
Beasley started game three of the series with the same result as game two, a strikeout of A.J. Andrews. After a single by Jacee Blades, Biance Bell chopped a ball to second base. Bronkey gathered the ball, tagged second, and then rocketed the ball to first for a double play.
After a 1-2-3 inning from Beasley, including two strikeouts, Clarisa Navarro notched a one-out walk in the bottom of the second. Bronkey followed the walk and lined a two-run blast over the rightfield fence. Her first homerun of the year gave Arkansas a 2-0 lead. Jennifer Rambo followed the bomb with a single up the middle. She stole second base and then was hit home by a Clark single. The next batter, Wallace, walked. This tied Wallace with Sandra Smith for the UA career walks record. Her 103rd walk of her career extended the inning and put two runners on for Stephanie Canfield. The freshman dribbled a ball to second base. Wallace, hustling to second, beat the shortstop, Bell, to the bag and another Razorback crossed the plate. Canfield's 18th RBI of the year gave Arkansas a 4-0 lead after two innings of play.
Both teams went scoreless in the third inning, but Beasley ran into trouble in the top of the fourth. She hit Allison Falcon in the back with one out. Sandra Simmons then doubled to put two runners on for the Tigers. The Foreman, Ark. native, Beasley, struck out Dylan Supak on three pitches for out number two. The sophomore gunned down Tammy Wray on a high fastball to end the top of the fourth. Her seventh strikeout of the day maintained a 4-0 lead for the Razorbacks.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Wallace drew her 104th career walk to move her into first place, all-time, on the UA career walks list. However, she was unable to score in the inning.
LSU garnered two runners, Lauren Houston and Simone Heyward to start the fifth. Andrews followed with an infield single to load the bases for Blades. The Tigers No. 2 hitter was able to scrap an infield single as Bronkey cut off the ball in front of second base. Bell followed the hit with a single of her own that scored Heyward and made the score 4-2. Falcon also cut into the lead as she skied a ball to centerfield that was caught, but scored Andrews. Beasley was able to jam Simmons and she flew out to Wallace at first base for out number two. Beasley blew three fastballs by pinch-hitting, Hailey Smith to end the top of the fifth.
Chloe Oprzedek led off the bottom half of the fifth with a single up the middle. Two batters later she was moved to second when Navarro reached on a fielder's choice. Amanda Summerford then walked to load the bases for Jayme Gee. LSU starter Rachele Fico got the junior to chase a 2-2 pitch and the side was retired.
Heyward again led to a rally for LSU as she walked with two outs in the sixth. The next batter, Andrews, shot a triple past Canfield in rightfield. This tied the game at four runs apiece. Andrews came home to score on the next pitch as it soared over the catcher, Gee's, head. The Tigers had the lead at 5-4 after the top of the sixth.
Beasley rallied and struck out Bell and Falcon to start the seventh inning. She then jammed Simmons and got her to chop out to Wallace at first base.
Oprzedek led off the bottom of the seventh and lined a ball down the first-base line. Simmons made a diving stop and tagged the bag for out number one. Two batters later, Navarro rolled a ball to the shortstop, Bell. Navarro hustled down the line and beat out an infield single. However, the Hogs were unable to plate the junior and the Tigers won the game, 5-4.
Next up, Arkansas will play host to Missouri State in a midweek game on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The Hogs then head to No. 7 Missouri to take on the Tigers in a three-game weekend series. Game one is slated for 6 p.m. on Friday.