Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Gunnar Rathbun)
SAVANNAH, Ga. (Univ. of Ark.) - The University of Arkansas softball team defeated the Savannah State Lady Tigers, 14-1, in five innings on Wednesday in Savannah, Georgia.
Arkansas (21-10) was led at the plate by Nicole Schroeder. She hammered a first-pitch grand slam in the third inning to give Arkansas a 6-0 lead. Schroeder finished the day with six RBI, upping her total to 21 in 2013. Also homering in the game was Amanda Geile. She hit a pinch-hit, two-run blast in the fifth inning.
In the circle it was the senior, Chelsea Cohen, pacing the Hogs. She went five innings, giving up one run on two hits, while striking out nine. Cohen picked up her 10th win of the season in the effort. She now has 100 strikeouts in 80 innings this season.
"Once again, we played really well," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Chelsea came out and was pretty dominant, another nice pitching performance. Our defense was excellent again tonight."
Devon Wallace started the game with her SEC-leading 40th walk of the year. She stole second base and then was moved over to third with a groundout to the second-baseman by Stephanie Canfield. On the next pitch Wallace crossed home plate as the ball went soaring over the catcher's head. The wild pitch gave Arkansas a 1-0 lead after the top of the first.
Jayme Gee led off the third inning with a walk and she advanced two bases with wild pitches from Lady Tiger pitcher, Amanda McDowell. After a Claire Clark fly out, McDowell dealt 12 straight balls to start the third inning and loaded the bases for Oprzedek. The Lady Tiger pitcher balked on her third pitch of the at bat and Gee came home to score. After Oprzedek walked, that loaded the bases again, this time for Schroder. She tomahawked a ball over the leftfield fence for a grand slam. Her sixth homerun of the year gave Arkansas a 6-0 lead. Clarisa Navarro added to the lead when she walked and then scored on an Ashley Martindale double. After Martindale stole her 12th base of the season, she came around to score on a Sierra Bronkey sacrifice fly. Her 12th run of the season made the score 8-0.
Cohen continued to deal through the third inning. After battling Rachel White to a full count, Cohen got the junior on an off-speed pitch for out number one. Antonette Smith suffered the same fate on three straight pitches for Cohen's fourth strikeout of the game. Cohen continued the trend for the third out of the inning and got Michaela Patton to chase a changeup.
Arkansas added three more runs in the fourth as Wallace started the inning with a single to leftfield. Three batters later she scored when Schroeder tapped out to the shortstop. Canfield walked earlier in the inning and was pinch ran for by Amanda Summerford. The senior scored on a wild pitch to make it a 10-0 lead for the Hogs. Oprzedek scored two pitches later when Martindale reached on an error.
The Razorback pitcher, Cohen, used the offensive momentum and continued to dominate in the circle. She notched three more strikeouts in the bottom of the fourth to give her six in a row and eight on the day.
Jennifer Rambo started the fifth inning with a pinch-hit single. Geile followed the hit with a two-run bomb over the leftfield fence. This was Geile's first homerun of the season and it gave Arkansas a 13-0 lead. Back-to-back walks followed for Summerford and pinch-hitting Alyssa Bass. This left two runners on with one out for Schroeder. The freshman lined a single through the left side of the infield and Summerford scored to give Schroeder her sixth RBI of the day.
After Cohen got Tiffany Taylor to groundout to the second-baseman, Bronkey, Megan Uhrman turned on a 2-2 pitch and shot it over the leftfield wall. The solo-shot cut the lead to 14-1. Cohen rallied back and retired the next two batters to end the game.
Next up, the Razorbacks will continue their eight-game road trip with game three games at the University of Florida. Game one will begin at 4 p.m. CT, Friday.