BY JASON PATTYSON
The Razorback softball team fell in the regular season finale 7-6 Sunday and dropped their third SEC series of the season to a red-hot Missouri Tiger that has won 8 out of their last 11 games.
The result has Arkansas (38-16, 14-10) entering the SEC Tournament this week as the No. 4 seed and it will begin action Thursday at 4 p.m. against fifth seed Alabama (38-17, 14-10), 13th-seed Missouri (33-23, 7-17) or 12th-seed Mississippi State (28-24, 7-16).
The tournament at Arkansa’ Bogle Park begins Tuesday night with Missouri against Mississippi State.
Cylie Halvorson and Atalyia Rijo brought the firepower, but it wasn’t enough to top the Tigers. Halvorson got the Hogs on the scoreboard first with her second home run in as many days with a shot over the left-center field fence. That scored Rylin Hedgecock, who reached on an error by the catcher in the first inning.
Robin Herron got the nod from head coach Courtney Deifel in the last regular season game of the year. She battled, but the Mizzou bats kept finding pitches in the zone and that led to her early exit. She gave up three runs, two were earned, off of two hits, with a strike out and two walks.
Atalyia Rijo entering the game Sunday, was batting .216 and has batted in the nine-hole spot for most of the season. Today, she worked the count full twice; she was poised at the plate and made every pitch she saw count.
She came up in the top of the fourth inning with the bases loaded. Rijo saw three straight balls, and Missouri pitcher Cerria Harrison worked the count full with a strike and a foul ball.
” The next pitch Rijo saw turned on it and made Harrison pay with a grand slam over the right field wall that scored Camenzind, Gammill, and Foreman to give Arkansas a 6-3 lead.
The Arkansas pitching would squander the three-run lead over the next two innings. First, a home run by Riley Frizell off of Hannah Camenzind in the bottom of the fourth inning. Then a two-out two-RBI single again by Frizell to tie it up at six a piece.
Chenise Delce entered the game to stop the bleeding and was on point for an inning and two-thirds before she gave up a game-ending home run to Kara Daly in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out. Daly sent a 3-2 count drop ball over the left-center field and that was back-back walk off home runs for Daly over the weekend
“I mean just trying to keep it simple,” Daly said on her game winning home run. “I didn’t hit the ball too well so I just tried to put it in play and do my job.”
Delce finished the regular season 20-8 and she picked up her second loss of the weekendPhoto courtesy of the University of Arkansas