The No. 6 Arkansas softball team breezed by with a 4-0 victory over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits Saturday to advance to the Fayetteville Regional final at Bogle Park. It was the first time the Jackrabbits had been shut out all season.
Junior designated player Linnie Malkin put the Razorbacks ahead in the top of the second inning with a two-run home run into left field, her 17th of the year.
In the top of the fourth, junior catcher Kayla Green laced a double to right-center, which brought in a run. Senior right fielder Aly Manzo drove Green in on a single to extend the lead to 4-0.
“I was really pleased by the way our team came out today,” Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said in the postgame press conference. “I thought Linnie (Malkin)’s home run in the second was a momentum shifter, and I just thought our team did a really good job of sticking to our plan on both sides.”
Junior right-hander and SEC Co-Pitcher of the Year Mary Haff started for Arkansas for the second straight game after pitching five innings in the run-ruling of the Manhattan Jaspers on Friday. In Saturday’s go-around, Haff tossed six innings and allowed four hits and a walk while striking out seven. She obtained her 25th victory of the season.
“Today, I controlled my emotions better and just let the game come to me,” Haff said. “It’s all about my preparation, and I prepared for this, and I just have to trust that and stay with the process.”
Senior right-handed pitcher Autumn Storms came in to close it out in the bottom of the seventh. After giving up three singles, she struck out freshman right fielder Emma Osmundson swinging, ending the game.
Later in the day, the Stanford Cardinal manhandled the Manhattan Jaspers, 11-2, and outlasted SDSU, 2-1, in 10 innings, earning the team a spot in the Fayetteville Regional final.
“It’s always nice to go into Sunday as the undefeated team that has to be beaten twice,” Deifel said. “So I feel good about that, but I won’t take any breaths.”
The Razorbacks and the Cardinal will face off at 3 p.m. Sunday. If Stanford wins, both teams will play again Sunday at 5:30 p.m. The Hogs are looking to win their second regional in program history and host a super regional for the first time ever.