The Arkansas softball team (5-2) secured a 3-1 record at the Cowgirl Classic in Lake Charles, Louisiana, from Saturday, Feb. 20 to Sunday Feb. 21. The Razorbacks then traveled to Arlington, Texas, to take on the Texas-Arlington Mavericks on Monday, Feb. 22 and swept the Mavericks in a doubleheader.
The Razorbacks were originally scheduled to be a part of the Maverick Classic in Arlington, but inclement weather forced the Hogs to reschedule and head to Lake Charles.
The Hogs took on the McNeese State Cowgirls in a doubleheader on Saturday. In the first game, the Hogs won 6-4 in a 14-inning affair. No team had scored since the sixth inning, until Arkansas junior outfielder Linnie Malkin hit a 2-run home run in the top of the 14th with two outs off of McNeese State freshman pitcher Ashley Vallejo.
Vallejo came in for the long haul, throwing 152 pitches across 11 innings while allowing five hits, two runs (one earned), five walks and struck out four. Junior right-handed pitcher Mary Haff put up a zero in the bottom half to obtain her first win for the Razorbacks.
Both teams started back up for the second game and the Cowgirls picked up the win, 7-4. With a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth and one out, a walk and back-to-back hit batters loaded the bases for the Cowgirls. Freshman right-handed pitcher Lauren Howell was relieved by freshman right-hander Jenna Bloom and gave up back-to-back walks for the Cowgirls to take a 2-1 lead. A 2-run single made it 4-1 and McNeese State never looked back.
The Hogs took on the No. 18 Baylor Bears on Sunday morning and ran away with a 7-2 win. After Baylor senior third baseman Taylor Ellis hit a two-run home run in the top of the second, the Hogs rallied with six runs. Junior infielder Danielle Gibson went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBIs.
Arkansas played a rubber match with McNeese State and edged out the victory, 3-1. In the top of the sixth inning, with the game tied 1-1, Malkin hit a 2-run home run to take the lead over the Cowgirls.
The Hogs traveled to Arlington, Texas, on Monday, and defeated UTA in a doubleheader 10-6 and 4-3. Arkansas started game one with four runs in the first and second innings to take an 8-0 lead. Howell started the game on the mound for the Razorbacks and earned her first career win. She pitched 4 ⅓ innings, allowing four runs (three earned), two hits and five walks.
Game two proved to be more dramatic for the Hogs. With Arkansas leading 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, UTA sophomore Lindsey Franklin pinch hit with two out. Franklin hit a home run to make a 4-3 game. Haff came in to get the final out and made UTA junior third baseman Kimber Cortemelia fly out to left. Bloom got her first victory of the season while Haff got her first save.
The Hogs went 5-1 in three days and improved their record to 5-2 on the year.
The Razorback softball team will play its first home games as part of the Razorback Invitational Thursday-Sunday. The Hogs will kick off the tournament with a doubleheader against the North Dakota State Bison starting at 3 p.m. at Bogle Park and are slated for a total of six games throughout the weekend.