The Arkansas softball team’s season came to a close Saturday at the hands of the Texas Longhorns, as the Razorbacks lost 3-0 in front of a packed house at Bogle Park.
Junior Chenise Delce carried the load for the Razorbacks again Saturday, and she had a solid outing to keep the Hogs in it until the final inning. She pitched six innings, giving up three runs — all earned — on seven hits and adding eight strikeouts.
Senior Mary Haff came in relief for Delce in the sixth inning to retire the side in order. That was the final appearance for Haff in the circle as a Razorback, to conclude a stellar career.
In her final game as a Razorback, senior Danielle Gibson led the offensive attack, going 2-3 at the dish with two singles. Arkansas squandered multiple opportunities at the plate. The Hogs had two runners on base with no more than one out in every inning except the first and third, but they failed to push a run across the plate.
Arkansas missed its best chance when sophomore Marlene Friedman was unable to slide under the tag and was called out on a bang-bang play at home plate on a ground ball to third base.
Sophomore Alyssa Washington doubled to center field, scoring senior Jenae Jefferson and freshman Mia Scott on the play. Senior Mary Iakopo singled to left, and Washington scored to cap the Longhorn scoring at 3-0.
Senior Taylor Ellsworth came up with two out against her former team down three runs with two on and two out with the wind blowing out to left field. She flied out to left field for the final out of the game, and Texas won 3-0.
Texas pitcher Sophia Simpson had the game of her young career, tossing a five-hit complete game shutout and fanning seven batters. The move to roll the dice and start Simpson with an ERA over four, after senior Haley Dolcini carried the load for the Longhorns in the first two games, paid off for Texas.
“The drop ball and screwball were real consistent today,” Simpson said. “I knew my defense had me the entire time. I knew they wanted it just as much as I did the entire time.”
The Razorbacks’ season came to an end, short of where they had set their goal, but it did not take away from the accomplishments and records the squad achieved and the impact the seniors had on the program. They won a program-high 48 games, their second consecutive regular season Southeastern Conference title and the first ever SEC Tournament title in school history.
“I mean they took a chance on us and they built this,” head coach Courtney Deifel said. “I think that when you are out there and you see the 3,000-plus and the Hogs call they did that. I know that I just felt really really lucky that I got to coach them and was really fortunate that they chose us. They have left us in a really good spot and just really really proud I was their coach.”
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