The No. 7 Razorback softball team dropped its first Southeastern Conference series in almost two years over the weekend, losing two of three games to Texas A&M at Bogle Park.
Arkansas had early success at the plate en route to an 8-0 run-rule win Friday night, but the offense struggled to manufacture runs the rest of the weekend.
Redshirt junior Rylin Hedgecock and junior transfer Cylie Halvorson hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning for a fast Razorback start. The bats continued to produce as graduate transfer Kristina Foreman uncorked on a pitch and sent it over the center field wall for her first home run at Bogle Park, and the Razorbacks led 5-0 after one frame.
"It was really exciting obviously to go three up and three down on the defensive side and come out and just be really aggressive," head coach Courtney Deifel said. "Obviously, just making a big statement in the first inning was just really huge."
The Aggies could not put together a sustained offensive effort through dominant pitching from redshirt junior Chenise Delce. She went the distance for Arkansas and allowed just three hits in her sixth complete game and third shutout of the season.
Arkansas loaded the bases in the bottom of the third inning and extended the lead to 7-0 when freshman catcher Lauren Camenzind knocked in two runs with a double.
Defensive efficiency was the overall narrative for both teams Saturday. The Razorbacks only mustered three hits over seven innings off of Aggie pitchers Shaylee Ackerman and Emily Leavitt.
"I didn't think we were the aggressor," Deifel said. "So any game, we aren't the aggressor. I'm really disappointed."
Freshman Hannah Camenzind triggered a 1-2-3 double play on her first pitch after entering the game to shut down a bases-loaded threat in the top of the sixth inning.
"It was huge," Diefel said. "Obviously, with the first pitch when your back’s against the wall, it's the toughest position to be in, and she's a competitor, and she's a gamer, and she executed a great pitch and then fielded her position really nicely."
The Aggie offense found a little success against freshman pitcher Robyn Herron, who is second in team wins on the season. She gave up two runs on four hits, along with five strikeouts over 3 ⅔ innings. Texas A&M added to the lead with a home run by Riley Valentine in the fourth inning and a double by Morgan Smith in the fifth inning to cap the scoring at 8-0.
Sunday’s temperature was cool, but the Aggie bats were hot. Texas A&M wrangled the Razorbacks 9-1 in the five-inning game to secure the series win. Arkansas could not put anything together in the batter's box and pieced together one run on seven hits in the series finale.
"Maybe one of the worst games I have watched on any level, especially for such a what was supposed to be a high-level softball game," Deifel said. "I thought they were the aggressor. I thought they took charge early. I think we competed. I thought they out-adjusted us. I thought they out-competed us, and they out-willed it."
Delce got the nod in the circle for Arkansas, hoping to match her performance from Friday night. She was efficient in the first inning, only making one mistake, which led to Texas A&M's Trinity Cannon sending it over the center field wall for a 1-0 lead.
Smith blasted another Delce offering over the right field wall for another solo homer the following inning. Lauren Camenzind’s double plated an Arkansas run in the second, but the Hogs trailed 2-1.
The top of the third inning featured an onslaught of Aggie offense. They strung together eight straight baserunners and scored five times, capped by a two-run double by Smith. Delce finished her outing with six runs allowed on seven hits over 2 ⅔ innings with just one strikeout, eventually earning her third loss of the season.
Texas A&M pushed two more runs across in the fifth inning and run-ruled the Hogs at home for a series victory.
Arkansas will return to action at 6 p.m. Tuesday against the Wichita State Shockers in Wichita, Kansas. The game will stream live on ESPN+.
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