FAYETTEVILLE – After running unbeaten through Manhattan, South Dakota State and Stanford’s in last week’s Fayetteville Regional, the Arkansas Razorbacks were nearly 8-run ruled by the 10-4 victorious Arizona Wildcats in Friday’s first of the best 2 of 3 Fayetteville Super Regional at Bogle Park.
The series, whose winner advances among the Elite Eight to the NCAA Women’s Softball College World Series in Oklahoma City, continues Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.
If Arkansas makes it necessary with a Saturday victory, an 8 p.m. Sunday winner take all final will ensue on ESPN2.
A Bogle Park full house tried hard to rally the Razorbacks Friday but Arkansas trailed on Dejah Maripola’s 2-run home run four batters into the game and never quite climbed back in it. Down 3-1 on Hannah McEwen’s leadoff home run in the fourth marked the Hogs’ closest deficit after a leadoff error eventually handed Arizona an unearned run and 3-0 lead in the third.
Arkansas would have been 10-2 8-run ruled in six innings but for Hannah Gammil’s 1-out, sixth-inning 2-run home run extending the game to the regulation seven innings.
Arkansas also netted Aly Manzo’s 1-out fifth-inning solo home run.
All proved too little too late vs. Arizona starter Hanah Bowen.
Setting down Arkansas’s first nine batters through the third and also a 1-2-3 seventh, Bowen threw a complete game for the Pac 12’s 40-13 11th-seeded Wildcats.
Meanwhile the Wildcats solved Arkansas ace Mary Haff, unscored upon by Manhattan, South Dakota State and Stanford last week.
Sharlize Palacios singled home a run in the third and blasted a 2-run home run during the 4-run fifth that exited Haff.
Reliever Jenna Bloom yielded a 2-run double in the fifth and consecutive home runs, the first a 2-run shot, in the sixth by Jessie Harper and Mulipola again.
Friday’s flop certainly was not typical of her now 43-10 SEC co-championship team, Arkansas Coach Courtney Deifel said.
“Just not our night,” Deifel said. “We know we have to be better and play tougher tomorrow. We need to be tougher across the board.”
At least they didn’t get run-ruled.
“Nobody likes to get run-ruled,” Deifel said. “So I actually felt we had a little more fight at the end than we did at the beginning. We weren’t very tough tonight in any facet of our game and have to get back to what got us here. This wasn’t us today.”