After defeating the Missouri Tigers, 10-7, on March 25, the No. 23 Razorback softball team (25-6, 2-4) secured a 2-1 series victory in its first home Southeastern Conference matchup. The Hogs will next play the Mississippi State Bulldogs (27-6, 3-3) in a three-game series starting Friday.
The Hogs defeated the Tigers, 3-1, in the opening game March 23. Missouri struck back and shutout Arkansas, 3-0. After a back and forth series finale, the Razorbacks capped off the action with a 10-7 win. This win was career victory No. 100 for Arkansas coach Courtney Deifel.
After the series win, sophomore left fielder Sydney Parr said on Twitter that this series was unforgettable for the team.
“An incredible series in our SEC home opener!,” Parr tweeted. “Not to mention Coach Deifel’s 100th win! This team is something special!”
Arkansas freshman pitcher Mary Haff was ecstatic following her first career SEC win against the Tigers.
“First SEC win was better than I could’ve ever imagined,” Haff tweeted. “Amazing crowd and even more amazing team behind me, BUT WE'RE NOT DONE YET!”
For Mississippi State, the Bulldogs are coming off a 1-2 home series loss to No. 7 Georgia, losing the first game, 4-2, winning game two, 5-4, and concluding with a 4-2 loss.
Haff and sophomore pitcher Autumn Storms have combined for 215 strikeouts this season. Bulldog pitchers seniors Holly Ward and Cassady Knudsen have a combined 192 strikeouts. Haff has only allowed 45 hits and 17 runs, while Storms has allowed 79 hits and 36 runs. Ward has allowed 61 hits and 18 runs and Knudsen gave up 42 hits and 19 runs.
On the batting side, Arkansas has some good talent. Senior third basemen Autumn Buczek leads the Hogs with a .364 batting average. She leads the team with 39 hits and four triples. She also has 23 runs, four doubles and 51 RBIs. Freshman right fielder Hannah McEwen is close behind Buczek with a .361 average. McEwen leads the team in runs with 24, RBIs with 35 and is tied for first in homers with six. She also has 35 hits, five doubles and one triple. Junior first basemen Ashley Diaz is third in batting with .351. She is tied with McEwen with six home runs and has 15 runs, 32 hits and three doubles.
For the Bulldogs, freshman catcher Mia Davidson is a dangerous weapon. With a .429 average, she also leads the team with 33 runs, 45 hits, 10 doubles, two triples, 31 RBIs and 11 homers. Junior outfielder Kat Moore is second on the team with an average of .361. She has posted 22 runs, 35 hits, seven doubles, one triple, two homers and 11 RBIs. With a .341 average, junior infielder Sarai Niu can make a big impact with her bat. She has 20 runs, 30 hits, eight doubles, one triple, three home runs and 24 RBIs.
After her 100th win, Deifel is on route to break her 31-24 record from last season. She sits at an overall career record of 100-96.
The Razorbacks are excited to continue the season after the Missouri series.
Senior center fielder Loren Krzysko said on Twitter that the Razorbacks enjoy having the state rooting for them.
“SO BLESSED TO HAVE THE WHOLE STATE BEHIND US!,” Krzysko tweeted. “Always such an amazing experience playing in front of home crowds.”
The first pitch for the Hogs and the Bulldogs will be at 6 p.m Friday at Bogle Park. The second game will start at 1 p.m. Saturday, and the series will conclude at 1 p.m. April 1. All three games will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus.