The Arkansas (10-1) softball team defeated the Dartmouth Big Green (1-5), 12-3, in its opening game of the Razorback Invitational at Bogle Park on March 2.
The Razorbacks were coming off an impressive 9-0 win over the Missouri State Bears at home Feb. 28. Dartmouth came in after losing to the Illinois-Chicago Flames, 2-3, in the Florida Atlantic University Strike Out Cancer Tournament Final.
Arkansas starting pitcher Autumn Storms played for the first four innings, allowing only seven hits, three runs, one walk and four strikeouts against the Big Green. Backup Caroline Hedgecock pitched the fifth inning and allowed only one hit, zero runs and threw zero balls.
The Big Green, however, struggled in its pitching game. Pitchers Shelby Wilkison, Heather Turner and Breanna Ethridge took turns on the mound. Wilkison allowed three hits, five runs and struck out two.
Turner allowed five hits, seven runs and three one ball and zero strikeouts.
The top of second inning saw the first runs of the game. Dartmouth went up 3-0 against the Hogs. The Big Green scored on a double from second baseman Micah Schroder. On the play, catcher Claire Bird and right fielder Jade Bravo scored, and Schroder received two RBIs.
The Razorbacks took the lead during the bottom of the top, scoring five runs. The first run was captured after a fielding error on the Big Green. Razorback center field Loren Krzysko advanced to first, and catcher Kayla Green walked home. Left fielder Tori Cooper was forced to walk to first, allowing first baseman Ashley Diaz to return to her ecstatic teammates.
Even though third basemen Autumn Buczek was taken out, shortstop A.J. Belans scores her first run and gave Buczek an RBI. To close out the third inning, right fielder Hannah McEwan hit a single and allowed Krzysko and Cooper to make their laps around the diamond. McEwan scored two RBIs.
After a scoreless top of the third, the Razorbacks went on to score seven runs. With the bases loaded, Cooper moved to first after being hit by the ball, which resulted in Diaz scoring another run. Second basemen Haydi Bugarin hit a single to the middle of the diamond, giving Belans her second run and herself an RBI. After another single to the right from McEwan, Bugarin and Cooper returned to the plate. McEwan received two more RBIs.
Left fielder Linnie Malkin got out, but she allowed Buczek to score while earning an RBI on the sacrifice. Green went up to bat after Malkin and hit a double to give Arkansas another run from McEwan. Green scored the last run of the game after a single from Diaz, giving her one RBI.
McEwan said the teamwork displayed throughout the game came from an overwhelming sense of trust..
“We all trust each other and have each other’s back,” McEwan said.
Many of the Razorbacks boosted their stats. Buczek has one run and an RBI in three at-bats. McEwan delivered for the team with one run, two hits and four RBIs in three at-bats. Green finished with three at-bats, two runs, two hits and an RBI. Diaz had one at-bat, two runs and one hit and RBI. Belans concluded with three at-bats and two runs. Krzysko had one run and a hit in three at-bats. Even though Cooper didn’t bat, she had two runs and two RBIs. Bugarin had one hit, a run and an RBI in two at-bats.
As for the Big Green, their only stats came from three players. Schroder had one run and a hit to go along with two RBIs. .Bird finished with one run and three hits in three at-bats. Bravo had one run from her two at-bats.
Arkansas softball coach Courtney Deifel was proud of the energy that was built by the team, she said.
“They are a confident team in general,” Deifel said. “They have strong belief in what they do.”
Arkansas pitcher Mary Haff is ready to take on the next opponent, she said.
“[We got] to go at them fearless,” Haff said. “Never give them anything, fight for every pitch.”
Arkansas will next play the Northern Colorado Bears at 6:30 p.m on March 2, while Dartmouth will play Northern Colorado on March 3 at noon.