Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Gunnar Rathbun)
NORMAN, Okla. - The No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team fell to the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners, 14-1, in five innings on Sunday in Norman, Okla.
The 2013 Razorbacks finished the season as the program's leader in batting average (.283), slugging percentage (.470), on-base percentage (.390), walks (229) and runs scored (304).
"I am very proud of our team," head coach Mike Larabee said. "We are building a program. This is something that we are going to build on. We set a lot of records this year and we have to take the next step next year."
The Razorbacks' starter, Kimmy Beasley, allowed one earned run on two hits in 2.2 innings of work. The Sooners scored nine unearned runs in the game and the Razorbacks left seven runners on base.
"Oklahoma is a great team," Larabee said. "You cannot give them opportunities or it will snowball. They have a good lineup and will make you pay. Next year hopefully we will be playing a regional in Fayetteville and we will have an easier draw."
Devon Wallace notched two of the three hits for the Razorbacks on the day and belted a solo-homerun in the fourth inning. She finished her sophomore season with an SEC-record 79 walks. The Double Oak, Texas native set the UA single-season record in walks (79), slugging percentage (.768) and on-base percentage (.627). She finished second in the all-time record books with a .376 batting average and 55 runs scored.
Stephanie Canfield capped her freshman year with a walk in the season finale. She finished the year as the program's all-time single-season batting average leader with a .381 mark.
Oklahoma was the away team and garnered its first base-runner when Lauren Chamberlain was pegged in the back by Beasley on the first pitch of the game. She stole second base and came around to score on a Georgia Casey single. Beasley settled down and retired three of the next four batters she faced. The sophomore got Jessica Shults to bite on a changeup to end the top of the first.
Wallace started the hitting in the bottom of the first and lined a single down the rightfield line. Clarisa Navarro followed the single with a gap-double that put two runners in scoring position for Chloe Oprzedek. She worked a five-pitch at-bat before falling victim to an inside changeup. Amanda Geile suffered the same fate as she went down swinging. Canfield followed with a walk to load the bases for Andrea Sullivan. She grounded out to second and the Razorbacks left the bases loaded in the first inning for the second time of the regional against Oklahoma.
After a one-out walk to Destinee Martinez, Callie Parsons grounded a ball to Oprzedek at third. She threw to second but Sierra Bronkey bobbled the ball, this put two runners on for Chamberlain. She walked to load the bases for Casey. Beasley got her to pop-up in the infield for out number two. Shelby Pendley followed with a groundout and Beasley escaped unscathed.
Jennifer Rambo was hit with a pitch to start the bottom of the second. She advanced a base on a wild pitch two batters later, but was stranded as the Razorbacks were unable to hit her home.
After a strikeout to Keilani Ricketts to start the third, Brittany Williams and Jessica Shults tallied back-to-back walks. Beasley battled back and struck out Martinez for out number two. Callie Parsons followed and skied a ball to rightfield. It was dropped and two unearned runs crossed the plate, leaving Parsons at second. Brianna Turang walked to put two runners on for Chamberlain. She made the Hogs pay and belted a three-run bomb over the leftfield fence. Her 27th long-ball of the year gave OU a 6-0 lead.
Back-to-back walks with one out from Oprzedek and Geile put two runners on for the Razorbacks in the bottom of the third. This ended the day for the OU starter, Ricketts. Michelle Gascoigne came on and walked Andrea Sullivan to load the bases for Rambo. She worked a nine-pitch at-bat but eventually grounded out.
The Sooners added another run in the fourth as Pendley shot a solo-homerun over the centerfield wall. After Ricketts grounded out, Williams singled and scored on the next pitch as Shults doubled off of the leftfield wall. Two unearned runs followed to make the score 10-0. Later in the inning, Pendley drove a two-run single into the outfield to make it 12-0, OU.
After a Jayme Gee fly-out to the warning track in rightfield, Wallace worked a full count and barreled up a fastball. Her 13th homerun of the year soared over the centerfield fence to make the score 12-1.
Kelly Young came in to get the final out of the fourth inning and allowed a leadoff double to Erica Sampson to start the fifth. Young came back and retired Shults by virtue of a groundout. She worked a 3-2 count on pinch-hitting Paris Townsend before earning a pop-out. Javen Henson took the next pitch over the fence for a two-run homer.
The Razorbacks were retired, in order, in the bottom of the fifth to end the game. The Razorbacks finished the 2013 season with a 36-20 record.