Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Gunnar Rathbun)
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 21 University of Arkansas softball team fell to the No. 7 Missouri Tigers, 8-0, in five innings on Thursday in Lexington, Ky. Arkansas (34-18, 12-11) dropped its first SEC Tournament game since 2010 to the Tigers. Kimmy Beasley got the start and pitched four innings. The sophomore gave up five runs on seven hits, while striking out four. The Razorbacks notched two hits off of SEC Pitcher of the Year Chelsea Thomas, who picked up her 21st win of the season. "Kimmy didn't get ahead in counts today," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Missouri used great plate discipline. They did a good job of capitalizing on that tonight." The Razorbacks return home and await their fate in the NCAA Tournament draw. The Hogs will find out their seed during the NCAA selection show on Sunday at 9 p.m. CT. The tournament selection show will be broadcast live on ESPNU. Arkansas has won eight of its last ten games. "We are not going to let one game define our season," Larabee said. "Maybe the game today happened for a reason. This will keep us humble and we can't wait to find out where we are going for a regional. We have to take out our frustrations on our next opponent." Missouri began the bottom of the first with a leadoff single from Emily Crane. Jenna Marston followed the single and cracked a double into the leftfield wall. That put two runners on for Nicole Hudson, who skied a ball to Stephanie Canfield in centerfield and collected a sacrifice fly. Mackenzie Sykes was then hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners for Kelsea Roth. She worked a 3-2 count before notching an infield single. Marston scored on the play to make it 2-0. Beasley batted back and retired Corrin Genovese and Sarah Moore to end the inning.
Canfield roped the first hit of the day for the Hogs, a single to leftfield. Her two-out single was followed by a rocket up the middle from Amanda Geile, but it was snagged out of the air by Thomas in the circle to end the top of the second. Beasley batted back in the second inning and worked a 1-2-3 frame. She struck out Sarah Moore and Carlie Rose, looking, in the inning. Devon Wallace drew her NCAA-leading 75th walk of the season in the third inning with two outs. However, she would go stranded as Clarisa Navarro grounded out to retire the side. Marston smashed her second hit of the day off of Sierra Bronkey's glove to start the bottom of the fourth. Hudson followed and went down swinging over a nice changeup from Beasley. Randazzo followed Beasley's third strikeout with a double off of the leftfield wall. Sykes continued the hit parade and had a two-run triple to make the score 4-0, Missouri. Another run was plated on the next pitch as Roth tallied a sacrifice fly. Beasley struck out Moore two batters later to keep the damage at a minimum.
Jennifer Rambo reached on an infield single with one out in the fourth. Bronkey followed the single and grounded it up the middle, Rambo was retired at second for out number two. Canfield had an excellent at-bat but was eventually struck out to end the top of the fourth. After Beasley worked a scoreless fourth, Chelsea Cohen came out to work the fifth inning. The senior captain retired Randazzo but then allowed a standup double to Sykes. She came home to score in the next at bat as Roth snuck a ball over the leftfield fence. Her 13th homerun of the season gave Missouri a 7-0 lead. Genovese walked in the next at bat and came around to score three batters later on a Crane triple. Her fourth three-bagger of the year ended the game in the fifth inning. Arkansas now turns its attention to the NCAA tournament. The Hogs await their seed and will find out on Sunday at 9 p.m. CT during the NCAA selection show.
Jacob Thomas Demyan: Media Relations