BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
Arkansas softball’s version of Major League Baseball star Shohei Ohtani got it done on both the mound and at the plate Saturday.
Freshman Hannah Camenzind went 2 for 3 at the plate with 3 RBIs and did not allow an earned run while giving up just three hits on the mound as the Razorbacks run-ruled UAB 11-1 at Bogle Park.
Arkansas (30-12) scored four runs in the opening inning and added seven more in the fourth, far different from a 5-0 Razorback win over the Blazers (21-20) on Friday night that was scoreless until the sixth.
“Anytime you can run rule a team, it is pretty big,” Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said. “Those two innings that we scored were huge, just passing the bat and putting good swings on good pitches.
“I thought Ha threw a great game. I think it was a great collective effort. I wish we were cleaner (two errors) on defense. I do wish that, but it was a great day and there is not much more to say.”
Camenzind (3-2) , whose twin sister Lauren was her catcher on Saturday, was thrilled with the opportunity to do both.
“It was a lot of fun,” Camenzind said. “It was my first game that I’ve got to pitch and hit at the same time, so that was a lot of fun. I did that in club ball a lot, so it was fun to experience that here.”
Firing pitches to her sister was fun as always.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Hannah Camenzind said. “It just gives me a lot of confidence to have someone behind the plate who knows me so well. She knows when I’m struggling, when I’m not, and it’s just nice to have someone to talk to anytime. It’s been a lot of fun.”
As it pitching with a lead.
“It makes it a lot easier just having more confidence to throw the ball through the zone and let my defense work,” Camenzind said. “The defense was outstanding today. You know, it’s a lot easier when the defense has your back, and just those runs were great. The offense really did great today.”
Hannah Camenzind, Hannah Gammill and Raigan Kramer all had two hits each of their team’s 11 in the game while Rylin Hedgecock and Regan Johnson both drove home a pair.
“Exactly that,” Deifel said. “I think it clusters and they feed off of each other good and bad of each other’s feelings. So when they can get into this mindset of just being really gritty and passing the bat, it catches on and it goes throughout the line up.
“I think that is what we have seen and what we saw today for sure and saw at the end of yesterday.”
It starts with Johnson and Kramer at the top of the line up. Both got on to start the first and scored on Rylan Hedgecock’s bases-loaded double.
“Reagan is so fun to watch on the bases – Reagan Johnson,” Deifel said. “Then it is nice that Raigan Kramer just rarely has a bad at bat. She makes the pitcher work, she makes her throw pitches. She knows what she is going after. She is just so composed in that two hole. They really do set a good tone for us.”
Hannah Camenzind added a run-scoring infield single later in the first and had two hits in the seven-run fourth – an RBI single and and a two-run double to cap the scoring.
“She can swing it, it’s just finding a spot in the line up to get her some at bats,” Deifel said. “She is a really great hitter. So it was nice to be able to kind of work the line up today so she could pitch and hit. Then we got to put Cally (Kildow) in right field, who is an exceptional outfielder and has a ton of range.
“It was nice to get her in there and she is somebody that we are always trying to get more at bats. So it was nice to see her cope through come through.”
Gammill had an RBI single in fourth as well and seems to be comings around at the plate after struggling early.
“It’s nice to get the hits, but it is how she looks in the box that is pleasing to me,” Deifel said. “I know she feels a lot more comfortable. It is how she is taking pitches, it is her approach, it is the swings she is putting on pitches. Her overall presence in the box is more like Hannah so that is what I really like seeing.”
Arkansas and UAB will finish off the series with a noon game on Sunday.
Photo by John D. James