By Jason Pattyson
FAYETTEVILLE — Oregon scored eight runs in the fifth inning to send #11 seed Arkansas to an elimination game with a 10-4 victory at Bogle Park Saturday.
Chenise Delce took the circle for the Hogs in her first start in this postseason. She didn’t have her best outing, as she was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning. She tossed four and one-third innings, giving up four runs, three earned, off of seven hits in the loss.
Oregon got on the scoreboard first with a single to left field by Ariel Carlson, scoring Kai Luschar from second to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Hogs responded quickly with both Reagan Johnson and Raigan Kramer collecting a single each to start their half of the first innings. Cylie Halvorson would hit a sac-fly to deep left field to score Johnson from third to even the score up at 1-1.
Oregon tried to regain control of the game and put it out of reach with Hannah Delgado. She laced a single to left, and Carlson scored to give Oregon a 2-1 lead.
Halvorson would respond for the Razorbacks with a two-run laser shot over the left field wall, and Rylin Hedgecock scored on the play to give Arkansas a 3-2 lead and some momentum.
Delce was cruising into the 5th inning, and that’s when the wheels came off for the Hogs defensively, and a hitting clinic broke out at Bogle Park. The Ducks sent 13 batters to the plate, eight hits, eight runs, two left on base, 3 Hog pitchers, and a bunch of dejected Hog fans unhappy with the umpire after a couple of unsure calls that went to review.
That was highlighted by a grand slam by Tehya Bird, her second home run in two days, to add to the snowman the Ducks tacked onto the scoreboard to take a commanding 10-3 lead.
Callie Turner was a bright spot in the circle, and she stopped the bleeding in the fifth inning. She gave up a run off of three hits in two and a third innings.
Kristina Foreman would tack on an opposite-field home run in the sixth inning, but that’s all the Razorbacks could do at the plate and fall to the Ducks and face elimination to face Notre Dame in the night cap.
Arkansas 5 – Notre Dame 0
In game two, an elimination game for both Arkansas and Notre Dame, a pitchers duel broke out, and Arkansas held on to win 5-0 and see another day in Bogle Park Saturday night.
Chenise Delce took the circle in game two, her second game to start on the day, and she was not ready for the Hog’s season to end Saturday night. She was dominant, throwing seven innings of scoreless softball, and gave up three hits in her 7th complete-game shutout to earn her 21st victory on the season.
“It was a tough game earlier, and I felt like it showed a ton of maturity and a ton of character to turn it around and answer and respond and fight and go for it in the way that they did tonight,” head Coach Courtney Deifel. “Just really, really proud of their fight and their heart. Notre Dame’s tough. I just told them every time they swing, you feel it. And I thought Shanice threw an exceptional game tonight.”
Arkansas would get two runs early, Hannah Gammill was walked with the bases loaded in the first inning, and Raigan Kramer drove in Lauren Camenzind in the second inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Micaela Kator would settle down and retire seven straight batters to give the Fighting Irish a chance to stay in the game. Her final stat line was seven innings, six hits, five runs, and four strikeouts in the loss.
The offense just didn’t show up in game two for the Irish, and Joley Mitchell and Lexi Orozco accounted for all of Notre Dame’s offense in the loss.
The final dagger to the Irish’s season came from Rylin Hedgecock in the top of the seventh inning. She blasted a no-doubter bomb out of left field to give Delce some insurance and set the final margin of victory.
Delce and the Razorback defense would retire the side to move on to face Oregon in another elimination game.
This loss ends the Irish’s season, and the Razorbacks will face Oregon Sunday at 1 p.m., and the game will broadcast on ESPN Plus. If a game seven is necessary, it will start 35 minutes after the first game concludes.