The No. 6 Arkansas softball team fell 6-3 in the series opener to the No. 19 Missouri Tigers on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Bogle Park. The loss was the sixth for the Razorbacks, fourth at home and third in Southeastern Conference play.
The Hogs jumped in front early with a three-run home run by junior first baseman Danielle Gibson. Her 14th homer of the year scored graduate senior shortstop Braxton Burnside and junior left fielder Hannah McEwen, who got on with back-to-back walks.
Mizzou struck back in the top of the third inning with an RBI single by freshman shortstop Jenna Laird. Junior left fielder Casidy Chaumont followed up with a two-run double to tie the game, 3-3.
Junior catcher Kayla Green sent a double into left-center field with two out in the bottom of the third and Burnside on first. However, Burnside was tagged out at the platea and the score remained deadlocked.
Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said Burnside did not see the stop sign at third base.
“It happens, mistakes happen,” Deifel said in a postgame Zoom press conference. “I feel like we’ve recovered well when we’ve made mistakes of all kinds, but today I just really feel like we didn’t unfortunately. Credit Missouri, they had a really great game.”
In the top of the fourth, junior second baseman Kendyll Bailey sent a solo shot into left field to give the Tigers the lead.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Jenna Bloom relieved right-handed starter Mary Haff in the sixth after Haff allowed a walk. Haff pitched five innings, allowing six hits, five earned runs and four walks while striking out six. She took her fourth loss of the season.
The Tigers’ offense came back again in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI single by freshman designated player Alex Honnold.
Mizzou added one more insurance run in the seventh on a double by junior first baseman Emma Raabe to drive in senior third baseman Kimberly Wert.
“I just think that Mizzou, they controlled the pace of the game today,” Gibson said. “It’s a little frustrating to feel that pressure, us pressing. I just think we didn’t make adjustments when we needed to. We had plenty of opportunities.”
For the Tigers, sophomore right-hander Jordan Weber obtained her ninth win of the season. She pitched 4 ⅔ innings and allowed two hits, three earned runs and four walks while striking out two batters.
Sophomore lefty Emma Nichols picked up her seventh save on the year in her relief appearance, going 2 ⅓ innings and allowing no hits and three walks while striking out two.
The Hogs were limited to two hits, both of them going for extra bases, and had seven reach on walks.
“I don’t know that there was a lot of pressure, but I don’t feel like we controlled our emotions the way we should,” Deifel said. “I don’t really feel like we consistently fought today. I just haven’t seen this team before.”
Sunday, Mizzou dominated Arkansas 10-1 on Senior Day. The Razorbacks had two base hits and committed three errors.
The Hogs and the Tigers will face off for game three at 6 p.m. Monday. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.