FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The No. 22 University of Arkansas softball team completed a sweep of the Auburn Tigers with a 5-0 win on Sunday at Bogle Park.
Arkansas (34-17, 12-10) benefited from back-to-back homeruns in the fourth inning from Amanda Geile and Nicole Schroeder. The two homeruns helped capture Arkansas' first finish above .500 in SEC play since 2000.
"We talk to our players about being great in May and hopefully June," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Amanda Geile is stepping up for us right now, as are others. It was nice to see two bombs today."
Geile finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Also having multiple hits in the game was Clarisa Navarro, who went 2-for-3. She finished the Auburn series with a .545 batting average and scored two runs.
"Navarro is getting comfortable in the two spot in the lineup," Larabee said. "We have made some changes in the lineup and it has really helped us offensively. We have lofty goals this season and it was nice to see the bats come out this series."
Kimmy Beasley led Arkansas in the circle. The sophomore went five scoreless innings and allowed two hits. She struck out seven batters in the game after striking out a career-high 15 batters in game one. She did not allow a run in her 12 innings pitched of the series. Senior captain Chelsea Cohen came on to work the final two innings and retired all six batters that she faced.
"It all starts in the circle," Larabee said. "You aren't going to be very good if you don't have a dominant pitcher. Kimmy is pitching at a high level and is getting ahead of hitters. She is one of the hottest pitchers in the country. I also love the way Chelsea came in and threw today."
The game began with Beasley retiring three of the four batters she faced in the first inning. She struck out Emily Carosone and Brooke Lathan to end the frame.
The Foreman, Ark. native also worked a scoreless second inning, striking out three Auburn batters in the process. She had tallied five strikeouts through two innings of work.
She continued to work wonders in the circle and retired all six batters she faced in the third and fourth innings. Beasley racked up six strikeouts through four innings of play.
Chloe Oprzedek and Jennifer Rambo notched back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Sierra Bronkey continued the hit parade and hit a bloop single into shallow rightfield. The second baseman, Lathan, bobbled the ball and allowed Oprzedek to score from second. Two batters later, Geile cleared the bases with a three-run homer to leftfield. Her second of the series and fifth of the season put Arkansas up 4-0. Schroeder added to the lead two pitches later when she soared a ball over the leftfield fence.
Beasley used the offensive momentum and worked a 1-2-3 fifth. She struck out Jade Rhodes for the second time of the game for out number two. This was Beasley's seventh strikeout of game. Baylee Stephens grounded out to end the top of the fifth and was the ninth straight batter that Beasley retired.
Navarro tallied her second hit of the day in the bottom of the fifth. She doubled off of the leftfield wall, but went stranded and the score remained 5-0 after five innings of play.
Cohen came out to work the sixth inning and worked a 1-2-3 frame. She struck out Tiffany Howard to start the inning and then retired Melero and Carosone.
She followed the scoreless sixth with a quick seventh inning. Cohen gave Arkansas its 34th win after retiring her sixth straight batter to end the game.
Next up, will be the SEC Tournament in Lexington, Ky. The Razorbacks will likely play on Wednesday, but their seed has not yet been decided. This is the first SEC tournament berth since 2010 for the Arkansas program. Check for updates on seeding on ArkansasRazorbacks.com later today.