May 17, 2013

NORMAN, Okla. - Despite a record-breaking home run from Elise Fortier in the top of the first inning to take an early lead, the Fordham Rams fell to Arkansas, 5-1, in the first game of the Norman, Okla., Regional.

Fordham will play the loser of tonight's game between Marist and Oklahoma at 4:30 PM ET on Saturday.

Fortier's 20th homer of 2013 broke the single season A-10 record of 19 set by UMass' Sam Salato in 2009.

Arkansas' Kimmy Beasley started the game in the circle and made quick work of the Rams' first two batters, recording back-to-back strikeouts. In stepped Fortier and the junior shortstop battled, fouling off four straight. Then the Coventry, R.I., smacked a 2-2 pitch over the right center field wall and gave the Rams a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the first.

Jamie LaBovick came in to pitch the bottom of the first and struggled with illegal pitches, racking up three in the inning. The three walks that resulted caused LaBovick to give up two earned runs in only a third on an inning. Patti Maloney closed out the rest of the frame, picking up two outs. After one, the Rams trailed 2-1.

Michele Daubman drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second and advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch with one out. Beasley, however, worked her way out of trouble and the Razorbacks maintained their 2-1 lead after one and a half.

In the bottom of the second, Arkansas scored two runs on four hits, pushing its lead to 4-1 after two. Devon Wallace and Clarisa Navarro each picked up an RBI in the inning for the Razorbacks.

LaBovick led off the third with a single to left, but Chelsea Palumbo hit a hard liner to the second baseman and Fortier grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Maloney allowed only one hit in the bottom of the third, keeping Arkansas off the scoreboard for the first time in a frame.

Both squads recorded a hit in the fourth, Fordham's coming from Kayla Lombardo, but neither team pushed a run across.

Sammi Smith singled with one out in the top of the fifth, but the shortstop Navarro turned her second 6-3 double play of the game on the following at bat to help the Razorbacks exit the inning unscathed.

In the bottom of the fifth, Maloney held Arkansas without a run for the third straight inning and the Rams trailed 4-1 entering the top half of the sixth.

Fortier reached with one out in the sixth on a hard-hit single through the left side, but the Rams stranded her at first, allowing Arkansas to keep its three run lead after five and a half.

Arkansas scored a run in the bottom of the sixth on a Navarro sac fly, meaning that the Rams would now have to tally four in the top of the seventh to extend the game. Daubman walked to lead off the inning, but Beasley retired the next three Rams she faced to close out the complete game win.