BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
Arkansas softball season got started Friday afternoon in Las Vegas and the Razorbacks hit the jackpot in their first inning of the campaign.
Redshirt junior Callie Turner pitched four innings while allowing just two hits and her teammates put up five runs on five hits in their first at bat as Arkansas roared to an 8-0 run-rule win over Weber State in the Rebels Kickoff.
“We were scoring from the beginning of the game,” Turner said. “Our offense started off strong, which gives me confidence knowing they have my back. I know I don’t have to be perfect because they’ll always put us in position to win.”
Arkansas (1-0) is set to face host UNLV (1-0) late Friday night and will have two games on Saturday and one on Sunday in the event.
UNLV had 12 hits while downing Southern Utah 13-3 in its first game on Friday.
The Razorbacks had nine hits against Weber State with Cylie Halvorson contributing a pair, Spencer Priggie delivering a double that chased home three and six others adding one hit each.
Turner walked four and fanned three before turning the fifth and final inning over Robyn Herron, who fanned the game’s final batter in a 1-2-3 inning.
A Florida native who transferred to Arkansas in 2022 after playing two years at Tennessee, Turner stranded six runners, including a pair in the first against Weber State, who lost 8-4 to Baylor earlier on Friday.
“My off-speeds were working well for me out there today,” Turner said. “I settled in and got more confident as the game went on. I focused a lot on my off-speeds this offseason, so I felt more confident out there today.”
Reagan Johnson singled to start the five-run first before being forced at second on Krisitian Foreman’s fielder’s choice.
Foreman stole second, went to third on Halvorson’s single to left and scored on Hannah Gammill’s infield single. Rylin Hedgecock walked to load bases.
Priggie’s double ended up chasing home a trio and she scored on Raigan Kramer’s single to push that lead to 5-0.
Foreman’s homer in the second inning made it 6-0 and Halvorson’s ensuing single was the last batter starter Brooke Hatfield faced as she was replaced by Madison Peterson
Johnson’s sacrifice fly against reliever Jaycie Finch pushed it to 7-0 in the third.
The Razorbacks’ final run came in the fourth when Kacie Hoffman had a two-out double and pinch-runner Cally Kildown raced home on Hedgecock’s single.
“I feel excited for this season,” Turner said. “I’m happy this team started off on the right foot. I felt really good in the circle. The defense had my back the entire game, and they made me feel comfortable from the jump. It’s exciting to get a good win over a really strong team like Weber State.”
Photo by John D. James