FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team split day two of the Razorback Invitational, taking a 6-1 loss to Southeast Missouri State and following up with a hard-earned 2-1 walk-off win over SIU-Edwardsville.
The walk-off win came at the hands of sophomore Hannah McEwen, who scored Haydi Bugarin on a base hit up the middle. Bugarin reached on a leadoff hit-by-pitch call before advancing to second and then third with a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Nicole Duncan and a ground out by junior Sydney Parr.
McEwen connected on a 2-1 pitch and celebration ensued as Bugarin made her way across home plate.
Arkansas found themselves trailing its opponent for the second time in the same day, and the Razorbacks battled back to overcome a one-run deficit in the sixth with the help of sophomore transfer Danielle Gibson, whose RBI single to left field scored McEwen.
The defensive dual left a total of eight runners on base, six of them Hogs, as opposing pitching staffs combined for not a single walk from start to finish.
The thrilling victory goes in the books as head coach Courtney Deifel’s 100th win as a Razorback, after picking up the program just four short years ago, Coach Deifel has transformed the program into a national contender year-after-year.
The win was much needed after the Razorbacks dropped the earlier game to Southeast Missouri State. The loss is just one day removed from when the Hogs recorded five runs in the fourth inning of a 7-1 win over the Redhawks.
Starting pitcher Mary Haff kept SEMO scoreless through four innings of play, but the Redhawks had seen enough of the sophomore’s portfolio and come the fifth frame, scored two runs on two hits – including Haff’s first allowed home run of the season.
Teammate Autumn Storms tagged in during the fifth inning, but after seeing Storms for seven innings just the night before, the Redhawks quickly familiarized themselves and tacked on four additional runs in the top of the seventh inning with five hits against the Hog defense.
Arkansas was unable to recover from the late rally, falling to the Redhawks. It would stand as the first time this year the Hogs were outhit. The Razorbacks continue to struggle with scoring runners on base, stranding 11 in the loss – only against #5 Washington did the Hogs leave 10 or more runners on base.
The Hogs return to Bogle tomorrow, Sunday (Feb. 24) for another double-header, slated to host Drake at 2:30 p.m. and SIU-E once more at 4:45 p.m. The Razorbacks will close out the tournament on Sunday, with a 12:15 p.m. first pitch against IUPUI.