The No. 17 Arkansas softball team won two of three games from No. 10 Florida this weekend for its first home series win against the Gators in program history.
Junior Hannah Gammill recorded her second career multi-home run game in a 6-2 victory Friday night. She put the Hogs on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with a line drive just inside the left field pole to tie it at 1-1. She sent another liner to left field, which hit the foul pole for her second of the game.
"Yeah, it feels really good,” Gammill said. “I think I still have a lot of work to do and feels good to especially get two home runs when I've only had one, so it's nice."
Redshirt senior Chenise Delce took the circle for the Razorbacks, and she followed up her epic performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with a gem against the Gators. She gave up two runs — one of which was earned — on five hits, walked six batters and struck out seven over seven innings.
"Just focusing on spin, knowing my teammates got my back and knowing that the offense was going to have my back too as well, so you know I'm not trying not to put too much pressure on anything," Delce said.
The hits were contagious, as six different Hogs recorded at least one, and all nine batters reached base in the victory. The Hogs strung together six runs over the game's last three innings to finish off the Gators.
"Happy that we got the win to start off the series," Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said. "I thought our team played really well and got better as the game went on, which I really liked. I felt like we gave them their runs, and I felt like we responded well, so I just was really pleased with the overall effort tonight."
Florida bounced back dramatically with an 11-4 victory Saturday night, scoring six runs in the sixth inning to seal the deal.
The Razorbacks and Gators both got on the scoreboard in the first inning. Florida's Charla Echols sent a blast to the berm with a runner on to gain a 2-0 lead. The Hogs bounced right back, as transfer junior Cylie Halvorson belted a two-run single to left field to knot the game at 2-2.
Redshirt junior Rylin Hedgecock drew a bases-loaded walk in the second inning to give Arkansas a 3-2 lead, but it didn't last long. Sarah Longley took the lead back for the Gators with a three-run home run to lead 5-3.
Sophomore Raigan Kramer trimmed the lead to 5-4 with an RBI single to center field, but Florida exploded for six unearned runs in the sixth inning to take game two 11-4.
“I thought we battled really well, and obviously the difference-maker was the sixth, just giving way too much away,” Deifel said. “We don’t make the play at third, and that’s where you really want to see someone step in and take charge, and we didn’t. We gave away a lot of free passes, and free passes have been our kryptonite.”
Sunday was a fun day for the Hogs, as they trounced the Gators in the rubber match with a 14-1 run-rule victory in five innings.
Hedgecock was a one-woman wrecking crew on the Gator pitching. She notched the second multi-home run game of the weekend and added a double to knock in a season-high seven runs.
“It feels really good,” Hedgecock said. “My main goal today was to just hit the ball. Yesterday, I didn’t really hit the ball, so I was just trying to get a good pitch and put a good swing on it.”
Freshman Reagan Johnson and Kramer each drove in two runs and collected two hits. Transfer graduate Kristina Foreman capped the Razorback scoring with her fifth home run of the year in the fourth inning.
Delce continued her dominance against the best offenses in the league, tallying her ninth victory on the season. She was much more efficient Sunday with seven strikeouts, two hits and one run allowed over five innings.
“It was an outstanding game,” Deifel said. “To jump on them early and then just be relentless as we went, just really, really pleased with the collective effort today. Obviously, if you put up 14 on a team like Florida you’re going to be pleased with the effort.”
The Razorbacks will hit the road for Starkville, Mississippi, to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs next weekend. Game one is set for 4 p.m. Friday, and it will stream live on SEC Network Plus.
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