In a near mirror image of the series opener, the No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team lost to second-ranked Florida, 6-1, on Sunday afternoon at Bogle Park. Junior Autumn Russell collected the 100th hit of her career and scored the Razorbacks’ run to give the home team an early lead. With Sunday’s result, Arkansas is now 22-12 overall and 2-10 in SEC play.
The first three innings of the game featured a pitcher’s duel between Arkansas’ Autumn Storms and Florida’s Kelly Barnhill before the Razorbacks broke through in the home half of the fourth. Leading off the frame, Russell recorded the 100th hit of her career with a double to right field. She moved over to third on a ground ball to short. With two outs, A.J. Belans chopped a ball back to the pitcher but an errant throw to first allowed Russell to score.
Storms retired the first six hitters of the game but faced a two-on, one-out jam in the top of the third. However, senior catcher Shelby Hiers threw out her ninth base runner of the season for the second out. Storms got out of the inning with a grounder to second. However, Florida (33-2, 10-1 SEC) put together a five-run response in the top of the fifth inning to go ahead on the scoreboard. All five of the runs were scored with two outs including a two-run shot by Kayli Kvistad.
The visitors added another run in the sixth to produce the 6-1 final score. Arkansas put a runner on base in each of the last two innings—double by Nicole Schroeder in the sixth and walk to Belans in the seventh—but weren’t able to cut into Florida’s advantage. Allison Stewart, the Razorbacks’ third pitcher of the game, kept the visitors off the scoreboard over the final 1.1 innings with the help of two strikeouts.
The Razorbacks hit the road for four games next week beginning with a Wednesday, April 5 matchup against Oklahoma in Norman. The team will continue its travel with a weekend SEC stop at Missouri. Arkansas’ next home game is April 11 when its hosts Tulsa at 6 p.m.