FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas freshman Stephanie Canfield hit a game-winning two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday, giving the Razorbacks a surprising 4-3 comeback victory over LSU in Southeastern Conference softball action at Bogle Park.
Arkansas (26-14, 4-7) trailed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but started its rally against LSU’s starting pitcher, Ashley Czechner.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Jayme Gee lined a double the right-field wall. Ashley Martindale then came in to pinch-run, and two batters later, Devon Wallace was intentionally walked, putting two runners on with two outs for Canfield.
Facing LSU pitcher Rachele Fico, who’d come on in relief, Canfield bounced a single over the head of LSU first baseman Sandra Simmons. The single scored Martindale from second, and the throw from right fielder Simone Heyward soared over the head of catcher Laruen Houston.
Wallace, hustling from first, came to the plate. By the time the ball returned to Houston, Wallace had slid head-first into home, giving Arkansas the 4-3 win.
“Arkansas did a good job of putting the ball in play hard when they needed to,” LSU coach Beth Torina said. “They built momentum throughout the game, and we couldn’t get it back. ... If the ball bounces two inches differently, there’s no doubt that we win the ballgame. Ultimately, I think the result of this game is our offense not having very quality at-bats.”
Arkansas got a brilliant pitching performance from sophomore Kimmy Beasley (5-5). She went seven innings and fired a career-high 12 strikeouts, giving up three runs on two hits. The two hits tied a season low for LSU (32-8, 8-3).
“Beasley threw a good game, and she gets a lot of credit,” Torina said. “We didn’t know what to expect from her. Our offense didn’t make any adjustments and (we) weren’t very disciplined by chasing pitches all over the place.”
Gee who paced the Hogs, at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and a solo home run.
The Tigers struck for two runs in the top half of the first. Jacee Blades reached on an error and scored when Bianka Bell hit a one-out single. Bell came around to score after a three-base error on the play.
LSU added another run in the top of the third when Bell drove a two-out homer over the right-field wall. Her ninth homer of the season gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Gee answered in the bottom of the third with a towering a solo homer into the right-field grass. The junior’s seventh homer of the season cut LSU’s lead to 3-1.
Arkansas pulled to within one, 3-2, when Sierra Bronkley hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Chloe Oprzedek.
The series concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday.