After sweeping the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the Arkansas softball team is riding a huge streak of confidence. Even though she is only a freshman, outfielder Hannah McEwen can be seen as a huge reason for that boost in momentum.
The San Diego, California, native leads the team with a .362 batting average. She also leads the Razorbacks in runs with 28 and RBIs with 36. She has 38 hits, which is second behind senior infielder Autumn Buczek. McEwen also has 105 at-bats, five doubles, four triples and six homers.
The reason McEwen came to Fayetteville was to get a different experience, she said.
“I chose Arkansas because it was so different from home,” McEwen said. “I wanted to experience something different during college.”
Freshman catcher Kayla Green, who played travel ball with McEwen with So Cal Athletics, is excited with the outfielder’s performance so far, she said.
“[She’s] incredible,” Green said. “She doesn’t let the game know that she is a freshman. She plays confident and just gives it her all.”
Deifel is also impressed with McEwen stepping up so early in her collegiate career, she said.
“I think Hannah’s been exceptional,” Deifel said. “She’s incredibly competitive and has a mature outlook on the game.”
Even in high school, McEwen had a knack for playing at a high level. While playing at Patrick Henry High School, she finished with a .463 average, 187 hits, 64 extra-base hits and 156 runs. In 2016, McEwen was named All-Eastern League Player of the Year, as well as CIF Western League MVP honors her senior year after posting a .521 batting average.
In addition to her stats this season, McEwen has received the honor of being named the SEC Co-Player of the Week after the Razorback Invitational on March 2-4. She became only the third freshman player in program history to receive this honor, and was the first since the beginning of the millenium.
Her team has made her grow as a better player, teammate and person, McEwen said.
“My teammates push me everyday to be the best that I can be,” McEwen said. “Being a part of this team has shown me just how small I am compared to the game. The environment we’re in everyday pushes you mentally and physically. It’s shown me just how strong I am inside and out.”
As conference play continues to unravel, the goals remain the same, McEwen said.
“We want to stay within ourselves,” McEwen said. “It’s important that we play with what we have and not try to be anyone else.”
There’ll be many more highlight moments during McEwen’s career, Green said.
“I hope for the best for her because she is an absolute stud,” Green said. “It is so much fun to watch her play because she pushes me to want to be better every game.”
The Razorbacks’ next series is against the No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia on April 6-8. The next home series at Bogle Park will be April 13-15 versus the Alabama Crimson Tide.