UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS SOFTBALL
BATON ROUGE, La. – For the first time in school history, the Arkansas Razorbacks are SEC Champions after beating LSU 4-1 in the second game of a doubleheader Monday night in Baton Rouge, La. The victory split the double dip with the Tigers taking the first game 2-1.
Arkansas wraps up the regular season an incredible 40-8 and 19-5 in the SEC. The Razorbacks have clinched at least a share of the SEC crown and now await Florida’s series on the final weekend of the regular season next week. The Gators host Texas A&M and must win all three games against the Aggies to pull even with the Hogs and share the title. Arkansas becomes the first school outside of Alabama and Florida to win the SEC regular season since 2007.
How it Happened
Game 2: Arkansas 4, LSU 1
The Razorbacks scored a single run in the top of the first inning for the second straight game and took advantage of free baserunners. Hannah McEwen led off slicing a single to left and Braxton Burnside was hit by a pitch, allowing infielder Hannah Gammill to sacrifice both runners into scoring position. A passed ball allowed McEwen to score, giving Arkansas a 1-0 lead with two outs and two strikes in the inning.
Arkansas turned to the long ball, grabbing a 3-0 lead in the third on back-to-back homers from designated player Linnie Malkin and catcher Kayla Green. They were the first two Hog homers of the series and brought the team’s season total to 89.
LSU scratched a run in the bottom of the fourth inning on three hits to chase Arkansas starter Autumn Storms and put the tying run aboard. Summoned from the bullpen after starting the first game of the doubleheader, Mary Haff entered and struck out Shelbi Sunseri to strand a pair of Tigers and end the LSU threat.
An Ally Manzo RBI-double in the fifth chased home Green and immediately pushed the Arkansas lead back to three runs. Haff took it from there, sealing the victory with zeroes in the fifth and sixth followed by a perfect seventh with a pair of strikeouts putting an exclamation point on the victory.
Green led the way offensively for Arkansas with two hits and two runs scored while Haff picked up her 23rd win of the season.
Maribeth Gorsuch took the loss for LSU, allowing one run on one hit with a walk in 1.2 innings.
Game 1: LSU 2, Arkansas 1
Arkansas quickly loaded the bases in the first inning with nobody out on McEwen’s single through the right side and walks drawn by Burnside and Gammill. Infielder Danielle Gibson lifted a deep sacrifice fly to centerfield, picking up her SEC-leading 51st RBI of the year and scoring McEwen. A 6-4-3 double play ended the only Arkansas scoring inning of the game.
McEwen’s base hit was the 200th of her career making her just one of nine players in program history to reach the mark.
LSU quickly responded in the bottom half shooting a two-out single to center, tying the game. After loading the bases on a hit by pitch, walk and bunt hit, the Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second on a groundout, which was the game’s final run.
Arkansas was held to a single hit, its season low. Infielder Keely Huffine was the only other Razorback baserunner after the first inning, drawing a walk in the second frame.
Haff (22-5) gave the Hogs a quality start, throwing 6.0 innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. She retired her final 10 batters faced and 14 of the last 15. LSU starter Ali Kilponen (13-6) allowed one earned run on one hit and three walks with three strikeouts over 7.0 innings and retired 16 consecutive Razorbacks to end the game.
LSU outhit Arkansas 4-1, and neither team had a baserunner in the last four innings. The Hogs conference-only road winning streak of 10 games was halted and matches the fourth-longest in league history. Arkansas was one-hit for the first time since March 10, 2018 against then-No. 11 Georgia.