FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas struck first but a six-run response by Florida was the difference in a 6-1 setback Friday evening at Bogle Park.
Autumn Russell tallied an RBI in the third inning and had one of the team’s four hits. With the loss, Arkansas drops to 22-10 overall and 2-8 in SEC play.
In a scoreless game, Ashley Diaz led off the bottom of third inning with a base hit to left field.
The Razorbacks had runners on first and second after Shelby Hiers drew a two-out walk. Russell delivered with an RBI single to right field, scoring pinch runner Betina Beringhele from second base.
It was the 99th career hit for Russell. The score was just the third earned run allowed this season by Florida starter Kelly Barnhill, and the first in SEC play.
However, Florida (31-2, 8-1 SEC) responded immediately with the big fourth inning highlighted by a two-run shot off the bat of Amanda Lorenz.
A one-out, two-run double by Jordan Roberts put the Gators on the board and chased freshman Caroline Hedgcock who was making the first start of her Razorback career.
Five of Florida’s 10 hits in the game came in that fourth inning.
Hedgcock finished with a line of three runs allowed on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 3.1 innings.
Grace Moll, who relieved Hedgcock, pitched the final 3.2 innings of the game. After giving up three hits and three runs in the fourth, she kept the Gators off the scoreboard over the final three frames.
Hedgcock and Moll combined for 10 strikeouts against the Gators.
Hiers reached safely in two of three plate appearances. She and Tori Cooper accounted for Arkansas’ other two hits.
With her third-inning single, Diaz has now registered a hit in four of the last five games after going hitless in the previous five.
Game two of the weekend series is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. and will be streamed live on SEC Network+ which is also available through the WatchESPN app.
As part of Military Appreciation Day, the first 150 fans at Bogle Park receive a limited edition Arkansas Softball t-shirt.
General admission is free for all home games with gates opening one hour before first pitch.