Lancers Sweep Opening Day Of Razorback Invitational

Published 1:27 pm Saturday, February 19, 2022

On Friday, Longwood softball showed up and showed out at the Razorback Invitational.

The Lancers (3-4) earned a pair of wins in Arkansas, beginning with a thrilling 4-2 takedown of 25th ranked Wichita State off Korynna Anderson’s two-run, walkoff homer. The electric ending overshadowed an impressive effort in the circle by the ever steady Sydney Backstrom, who tossed a three-hitter for the complete game win.

That was then followed by a 5-1 win over Western Illinois (2-5) as the nightcap. Reagan Kanagawa dominated in the circle and struck out nine in her complete game win.

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The Longwood offense outhit both opponents and has now outhit its opponent five times in seven games this season. Anderson had the loudest hit of the day, but Kelly Park also put together a strong performance at the plate with a five-hit day and two RBI.

“These were two team wins today,” said Longwood head coach Megan Brown, who has now beaten a top 25 team in each of her first two seasons. “It took all 20 of our young ladies. We played Longwood softball, and we are excited to see the team growing each game. We’re looking forward to three more tough games this weekend.”

The Lancers are back in action with a pair of games against Power 5 foes on Saturday. The team opens with 10th ranked Arkansas at 3:30 p.m. (EST) before wrapping up the day against (RV) Illinois at 8 p.m. (EST). All but one of Longwood’s opponents this season have either been in the top 25 or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.

Game 1: Longwood Walks Off Shockers On Anderson’s Two-Run Blast

Korynna Anderson delivered the magic to send Longwood past Wichita State on Friday afternoon. The junior transfer deposited a two-run home run over the wall as the Lancers took down 25th ranked Wichita State 4-2.

Anderson went 1-3 at the plate, but her second homer of the season came at the perfect time. Kelly Park also provided a big lift for the Lancer offense with a 3-3 day at the plate with one double that represented nearly half of Longwood’s seven hits.

Meanwhile, Sydney Backstrom (2-2) was once again steady in the circle. The grad student went the distance and struck out five to only three hits against the 25th ranked team in the nation.

Longwood got on the board when Park kicked things off in the bottom of the third with a double to right center. Kayley Devivi stepped in to pinch run for Park and came home on a pair of wild pitches. With the Lancers up 1-0, reigning Big South Co-Freshman of the Week Emily Vinson got on with a walk before scoring on Alexis Wayland’s line drive up the middle.

With one on and one out in the fifth inning for Wichita State, Sydney McKinney stepped to the plate and hit a dinger over the center field fence for a two run homer. Her bomb evened the ball game at 2-2.

Backstrom righted things in the circle though, serving up back-to-back hitless innings to close the game.

That gave space for the offense to get to work in the seventh. Jaden Pone led the off the bottom of the seventh inning with comebacker straight back to the pitcher, and in a foot race to first was able to beat out the throw. Anderson was the hero who closed out the game with one swing with two outs on the board. Her second home run of the season ended the game with a final score 4-2.

Jordyn Pipkin (1-1) took the loss for Wichita State in the circle after coming on in relief in the fourth inning.

Game 2: Kanagawa K’s Nine, Lancers Down Western Illinois 5-1

Reagan Kanagawa was relentless in the circle in the nightcap on Friday, mowing down Western Illinois to the tune of nine strikeouts against only five hits and a run in her first complete game as a Lancer. The redshirt-junior transfer from BYU went seven innings, a career best, to earn the win, her first this season.

The Lancer offense sprinkled five runs over the first six innings to provide the run support Kanagawa needed. Park stayed hot at the plate for a second straight game by going 2-3 with two RBI. Four different Lancers tallied runs, with Vinson touching home plate twice.

Longwood took the lead in the first inning off a sacrifice line drive from Wayland, and Park poked a single to left field to score Vinson for a 2-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Kanagawa retired seven straight to start the game, including striking out the side in the second inning.

Park doubled home Anderson in the third, and the Lancers took advantage of some defensive mistakes by Western Illinois in the fifth to extend the lead to 4-0.

The Leathernecks got on the board in the sixth on an RBI single by Savannah Rodriguez, but Sydney Jacobsen led off the bottom half of the sixth with a triple. Lauren Taylor promptly singled her home for a 5-1 lead.

Kanagawa wasted no time in the seventh, retiring the side in order to seal the deal. It was her third perfect inning of the game.

Rodriguez (0-2) took the loss in the circle for Western Illinois. She surrendered three runs, all earned, on four hits and two walks while striking out two.