Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Gunnar Rathbun)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The No. 25 University of Arkansas softball team knocked off the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers, 2-1, on Friday at Lee Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. Kimmy Beasley pitched a complete game and gave up one run on four hits for her eighth win of the season. The Forman, Ark. native struck out four batters and walked two. The win for the Razorbacks broke a 19-game winning streak for the No. 2 Volunteers. This was also the ninth win over a ranked opponent for the Hogs this season.
"I am so proud of our team," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Kimmy Beasley settled down and pitched a great ballgame. Two years ago we came here and got humiliated, I am so proud of how far this program has come in two years."
Arkansas (31-17, 9-10) was led by Jayme Gee and Jennifer Rambo, who both notched RBIs during the game. Rambo finished the game 2-for-3 after hitting .700 last weekend against No. 17 Kentucky. Sierra Bronkey also had a single in the game to lead off the fifth inning. "Sierra Bronkey, Jennifer Rambo and Jayme Gee came up huge," Larabee said. "We kept putting the ball in play and it manufactured runs."
Devon Wallace finished the game 1-for-3 and drew an intentional walk. Her 65th walk of the season puts her one walk behind the SEC single-season record of 66. Wallace also grabbed a line-drive out of the air in the bottom of the sixth inning to kill a Tennessee rally.
"How about Devon Wallace?" Larabee said. "She had four quality at-bats tonight. She also played an excellent first base, which she has all season." Beasley ran into trouble in the bottom of the first inning as she walked Kat Dotson. She then hit Lauren Gibson to put two on for Madison Shipman. The senior also drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Beasley was able to retire Melissa Davin and Melissa Brown to work out of the jam and end the inning.
The Foreman, Ark. native battled back in the second and worked a 1-2-3 inning. She struck out Tory Lewis in the process, giving her 148 on the season. Amanda Geile garnered the first runner of the day for the Razorbacks in the top of the third. She drew a two-out walk to put a runner on for Wallace. She battled but lined out to rightfield. Tennessee starter Ellen Renfroe had retired nine of the ten batters she faced through three innings.
Beasley also retired the 'Vols, in order, in the third. She struck out the reigning NCAA Player of the Week, Gibson, to end the third. This gave Beasley four strikeouts on the day. Bronkey led off the fifth inning with a rope-single through the left side of the infield. Ashley Martindale then pinch-ran and advanced to second when Jennifer Rambo reached on an infield single. Nicole Schroeder grounded out to short, but advanced both runners on the play. Gee then grounded a ball to the second-baseman, Gibson. She threw the ball home but it was too late. Martindale scored to give Arkansas a 1-0 lead. After a Geile fly-out, Wallace was intentionally walked to load the bases for Stephanie Canfield. She grounded the ball to the shortstop, Shipman, but was thrown out by a step to end the top of the fifth.
The offensive momentum carried into the bottom half of the inning. Beasley got Cheyanne Tarango to pop out for the first out of the inning. After Lexi Overstreet was hit by a pitch, Tory Lewis popped out on a bunt. Raven Chavanne then grounded out sharply to Wallace to end the inning. Chloe Oprzedek led off the top of the sixth with the second base-hit of the day for the Razorbacks. She stole second two batters later and then advanced to third on a groundout from Bronkey. Rambo approached the plate with two outs and worked a seven pitch at-bat. She hammered the eighth pitch up the middle to give Arkansas a 2-0 lead. Tennessee garnered a leadoff runner in the sixth as Dotson reached on a bunt single. After two straight outs, Davin singled off of Beasley to put two runners on for Brown. She lined a ball down the first base line and Wallace dove to snag it out of the air. The side was retired and Arkansas took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning. Wallace continued her excellent day at the plate and lined a two-out single into centerfield. However, the Razorbacks were unable to plate her and the score stood at 2-0. Overstreet would not let the Volunteers go down without a fight as she notched a one-out triple. Lewis followed the triple with a sacrifice fly to cut the lead in half. Beasley battled back and got the SEC's leading hitter, Chavanne, to fly out. This ended the game and Tennessee's 19-game winning streak.
Next up will be game two in Knoxville, Tenn. The game is slated for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, but rain is expected in the area.
Jacob Thomas Demyan: media relations