The No. 15 Arkansas softball team (26-3, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) shut out the Mississippi State Bulldogs (15-12, 0-7 SEC), 2-0, Friday at Bogle Park to remain undefeated in SEC play. The Hogs lead the SEC in the standings and are the only team to still hold a perfect conference record.
With the win, Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel obtained her 200th career victory as a collegiate head coach.
“We always shake hands after we win, and (assistant coach) Matt (Meuchel) got me first and he was like, ‘Congratulations,’” Deifel said. “I was like, ‘Thanks. Why are you so serious today?’ So he told me in that moment, so that was pretty cool and the staff was all on it. It’s a pretty awesome team to get to share that with.”
The only scoring of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs and junior left fielder Hannah McEwen on first, junior first baseman Linnie Malkin lifted a two-run home run into left field.
“I was looking for the inside pitch,” Malkin said. “I knew anything out I wasn’t going to swing at. Obviously inside is more my strong suit, so I wanted to look for that. It was my perfect pitch, I would say. It was one of my best swings I think. It felt really, really good. I was happy. I was excited.”
Arkansas started junior right-handed pitcher Mary Haff and picked up her nation-leading 16th victory of the season. She pitched 5 ⅔ innings and gave up four hits, a walk and hit a batter, while striking out four.
Senior righty Autumn Storms came in for relief and achieved her second save of the season. She went 1 ⅓ innings and gave up one base runner on a hit by pitch. She struck out two.
For Mississippi State, senior right-hander Annie Willis was hit with her third loss of the season. She pitched six innings, giving up two hits, two earned runs, two walks and hitting a batter. In the loss, she struck out a career-high 12 batters.
The Bulldogs had six reach base on four hits, a walk and a hit batter. Mississippi State was able to get one runner to third base in the top of the fifth inning with two outs, but Haff made sophomore third baseman Paige Cook to ground out to first to end the inning.
The Razorbacks had six reach base on two hits, three walks and a hit batter.
Friday was the fifth time this season Arkansas lobbed a shutout and was its sixth straight win.
The No. 15 Razorbacks will face off against Mississippi State for game two Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.