Deifel SEC COTY

Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel watches a game from in front of the third base dugout. Deifel earned SEC Coach of the Year honors, as announced by the conference Tuesday morning.

Arkansas softball head coach Courtney Deifel won the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year award, the league office announced Tuesday morning. She guided the sixth-ranked Razorbacks to a 40-win season during which the Hogs posted a record of 40-8 — 19-5 in SEC play — and obtained their first-ever SEC regular-season title.

Deifel is the first Razorback softball coach to win the award since Carie Dever-Boas, who led the Hogs to 46 wins in 1999.

Junior right-handed pitcher Mary Haff captured a share of the SEC Pitcher of the Year award, tying with junior right-hander Montana Fouts of Alabama.

Haff set the school record in career wins at 74, picking up two in the team’s series against the LSU Tigers from May 1-3. She ranked first in conference game wins, saves and appearances, and fourth in strikeouts and ERA in 2021. Haff was named a USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 10 finalist and nabbed SEC Pitcher of the Week twice. She threw the second no-hitter of her career February 26 against the North Dakota State Bison, an error away from a perfect game.

Haff ranked fifth in the country in wins and saves. She was named to the All-SEC First Team for the first time in her career after achieving All-SEC Second Team in 2018. Haff took on a huge workload for the Hogs and finished the regular season 23-5 with a 1.61 ERA across 170 innings.

Graduate senior shortstop Braxton Burnside was named to the All-SEC First Team. Burnside set the Arkansas single-season home run record with 24 on the year, tied for the fifth-most home runs in SEC history. She was named a USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 10 finalist with Haff, and grabbed two SEC Player of the Week awards.

Junior first baseman Danielle Gibson, junior outfielder Hannah McEwen and senior right-handed pitcher Autumn Storms were tabbed for All-SEC Second Team. Gibson also earned SEC All-Defensive Team recognition and freshman right-handed pitcher Jenna Bloom was named to the All-SEC Newcomer Team.

Gibson led the team with a .369 batting average, smacked 15 home runs and tied for a team-most 51 RBIs. The first baseman tied with Kentucky freshman infielder Erin Coffel for the league lead with 16 doubles on the season.

The Bogle Bombers hit a program-most 89 home runs, the fourth-most in the nation, and went on a school-record 19-game win streak from February 21 to March 14. The Razorbacks started conference play at 12-0, the best by any SEC team since 2009. The Hogs are the first to go 11-1 on the road since the SEC adopted the 24-game conference schedule in 2013.

The five total selections on the first and second teams are the most in a single year in school history.

The Hogs are the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament and will play the winner of No. 7 Tennessee and No. 10 Texas A&M in the quarterfinals Thursday.

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