The Liberty Flames snapped the No. 17 Razorbacks’ (20-3, 3-0 in Southeastern Conference) winning streak (18-9), 2-0, in a 10-inning affair at Bogle Park on Tuesday, March 16, ending the Hogs’ program record, 19 game-winning streak. It was the Razorbacks’ first loss since Feb. 20 at McNeese State.
The lone runs came in the top of the 10th inning when Liberty freshman Denay Griffin pinch hit with a runner on second and one out. Arkansas junior right-handed pitcher Mary Haff gave up a two-run home run on an 0-2 count to Griffin to break the scoreless tie. It was Griffin’s first home run of the season.
The Hogs started the bottom of the 10th with junior first baseman Danielle Gibson reaching on a dropped fly ball in left field and advancing to second. Liberty lefty Emily Kirby was able to work out of the jam and retired the side.
Haff, who leads the country in wins at 13, pitched a complete game and allowed six hits, two earned runs, no walks and struck out nine batters while throwing 118 pitches. It was her second loss of the season and first since the season opener against No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 11.
"I think Mary was excellent tonight, one of the best games she has thrown as a Razorback," Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said in a postgame Zoom press conference. "It's just tough that it came down to one pitch. But it still doesn't take away from the game that Mary threw.”
Kirby threw a complete game, allowing five hits and four walks. She struck out eight batters in 164 pitches and picked up her fifth win of the season while tossing the shutout.
The Razorbacks came into the game leading the SEC in home runs with 53 and averaging just under seven runs per game.
Arkansas had a baserunner in each extra inning. The Hogs left junior designated player Linnie Malkin on first after she drew a one-out walk in the eighth. The ninth featured sophomore third baseman Valerie Ventura reaching with a single to start the inning, but Kirby was able to retire the side.
“Liberty is a very tough team, and that's what we knew we were getting when we scheduled them," Deifel said. "So, we knew we would get an absolute battle tonight, and that's what they gave us."
The No. 17 Razorbacks will stay in Fayetteville to take on the Ole Miss Rebels from Friday-Sunday. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 6 p.m., and all three games will be broadcast on SEC Network+.