Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Gunnar Rathbun)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -The University of Arkansas softball team fell to the No. 13 LSU Tigers, 8-2, on Friday at Bogle Park. Arkansas (25-14) was led at the plate by freshman Nicole Schroeder. She notched two hits off of the LSU ace, Rachele Fico. Chloe Oprzedek also provided some fireworks at the plate as she lined an RBI-double off the wall in the sixth inning.
"We just have to keep on fighting," head coach Mike Larabee said. "The bottom line is, we didn't play Razorback softball tonight. We didn't pitch or defend well. I thought we had some quality at bats off of a very good pitcher. Our goal is to come out and get one tomorrow."
Arkansas' starter, Chelsea Cohen, started the first game of the series against LSU. She struck out A.J. Andrews and Jacee Blades to start the game before giving up a single to Bianka Bell. Cohen walked Allison Falcon to put two runners on for Sandra Simmons, she then delivered a two-out, RBI-single that gave LSU a 1-0 lead after the top of the first. The Razorbacks also put two runners on in the first after Stephanie Canfield walked and Schroeder lined a single into centerfield. However, the Hogs were unable to plate either runner and the score stood at 1-0. After Cohen worked a 1-2-3 second inning, Andrews led off the third with a single. She stole second base and was hit home two batters later by Bell. Her second hit of the game, a double, gave LSU a 2-0 lead. Falcon reached on an error and was hit home by Simmons. She notched a two-run triple that gave the Tigers a 4-0 advantage. Rikki Alcaraz followed the triple with a double and that plated another runner. Cohen then walked Tammy Wray and gave way to her senior classmate, Hope McLemore. She was able to retire the next two batters and keep the damage to a minimum.
Andrews and Blades started the fourth inning with back-to-back singles for LSU. After a passed ball both runners advanced and then Andrews scored on a groundout from Bell. McLemore got Falcon and Simmons to fly out to end the top half of the inning.
Clarisa Navarro started the bottom half of the inning and she was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Oprzedek walked to put two runners on for the Hogs. However, they were left stranded as Fico worked out of the jam.
Claire Clark walked in the bottom of the fifth and Devon Wallace followed the hit and worked a 2-2 count, but eventually went down swinging. Canfield followed with a groundball to second base, but was narrowly thrown out at first to end the inning. LSU added another in the top half of the sixth as Andrews got her third hit of the day and then scored on a Falcon single. Falcon's 22nd RBI of the year gave LSU a 7-0 lead. Navarro reached base for the second time as she reached on an error to start the bottom of the sixth. Schroeder followed with her second hit of the game and that put two runners on for Oprzedek. She lined a double off of the leftfield wall to cut the lead to 7-1. Sierra Bronkey was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Jayme Gee. She skied a ball into leftfield that was caught, but scored pinch-running Kyndra Meeker from third. Gee's 22nd RBI of the year cut the lead to five after six innings.
Freshman Kelly Young came on in relief of McLemore in the seventh inning and got Alcaraz to lineout to start the frame. Back-to-back Tigers reached base with one out and Heyward was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Andrews. Young jammed the centerfielder and forced her to fly out to the shortstop, Navarro. Pinch-hitting Dylan Supak walked on four straight pitches and the Tigers added another run to make the final score 8-2.
Next up, the series continues with game two on Saturday. The game is being televised by CST and will begin at 1 p.m. Fans that come out to Bogle Park will be treated to one dollar tickets.
Jacob Thomas Demyan: arkansas media relations