Razorbacks, Sooners to meet in region final

By: Democrat-Gazette Press Services
Published: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Arkansas softball coach Mike Larabee has the Razorbacks ranked for the first time in program history.
Photo by University of Arkansas
Arkansas softball coach Mike Larabee has the Razorbacks ranked for the first time in program history.

No. 24 Arkansas advanced to its second consecutive regional final Saturday night after defeating Fordham 5-2 in the NCAA Regional in Norman, Okla.

The Razorbacks, who lost to California in the regional final last year, will have to defeat national top seed Oklahoma twice to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma defeated Arkansas 10-5 on Saturday afternoon to send the Razorbacks (36-19) to the losers bracket against Fordham.

Today’s game begins at 1 p.m. The teams will play a winner-take-all contest at 3:30 p.m. if the Razorbacks win the opener.

Arkansas, which defeated Fordham 5-1 to open the tournament Friday, scored twice in the fourth, another in the fifth and two more in the seventh to eliminate the Rams.

Jennifer Rambo drove in Stephanie Canfield with the first run in the second. A two-out single by Jayme Gee drove in the second run. Chloe Oprzedek scored on an illegal pitch in the top of the fifth to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 lead.

Fordham scored runs in each the fifth and sixth innings to cut the deficit to 3-2, but Oprzedek scored on another illegal pitch with one out in the sixth before Andrea Sullivan drove in Amanda Geile with the final run on a single to left.

Hope McLemore, who relieved Kimmy Beasley in the sixth, retired Fordham in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory.

Beasley (12-8) went 5 innings, allowing 4 hits 1 run and 2 walks while striking out 3. McLemore picked up the save, going 2 innings and allowing 1 hit while striking out 2.

The Razorbacks trailed Oklahoma 6-1 after five innings in the first game of the day. Arkansas scored four in the top of the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 6-5 before the Sooners scored four in the bottom of the inning to regain control.

Geile and Andrea Sullivan had home runs for the Razorbacks, while Clarisa Navarro went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI.

Hope McLemore (6-3) took the loss for Arkansas. She and Chelsea Cohen combined to give up 12 hits, 8 earned runs and 4 walks against the Sooners who was led by Brittany Williams who went 3 for 3 with a home run.

Sports, Pages 33 on 05/19/2013