Softball Recap

Graduate senior shortstop Braxton Burnside walked it off for the No. 6 Arkansas softball team to complete the extra-inning victory over the Central Arkansas Bears, 7-6, Wednesday at Bogle Park. The Razorbacks completed the two-game sweep, previously defeating the Bears, 4-1, on March 9.

The Bogle Bombers got out in front in the first inning with a three-run home run by designated player Linnie Malkin after back-to-back walks with two outs.

The Hogs extended the lead in the next inning with a single by freshman third baseman Hannah Gammill to drive in senior second baseman Keely Huffine from second. Arkansas made it 5-0 in the third on a sacrifice fly by junior catcher Kayla Green.

UCA finally found its offense in the top of the fourth with an RBI triple by senior third baseman Cylla Hill for the Bears first hit of the game.

Junior right-handed pitcher Mary Haff relieved starting right-hander Jenna Bloom with runners on the corners and one out. Bloom went 4 ⅓ innings, allowing three hits, two earned runs, a hit batter and two walks while striking out seven batters.

After the substitution, freshman second baseman Mary Kate Brown scored sophomore catcher Tylar Vernon on a sacrifice fly to cut the Razorbacks' lead to 5-2.

Arkansas got its lead back up to four after a solo shot by Malkin for her second home run of the day. She went 3-3 with four RBIs in her second multi-homer game of the season.

The Bears got a run back in the top of the sixth with an RBI single by freshman right fielder Tremere Harris to cut the Hog lead back down to three.

In the top of the seventh, down to their last out, the Bears rallied with an infield single by junior center fielder Reagan Sperling with runners on the corners. Vernon then sent a two-run double in center field to tie the game. Haff then struck out Harris to end the inning.

After Arkansas was shut out in the bottom of the seventh, freshman left fielder Jenna Wildeman led off the inning with a single for UCA and stole second during the next at-bat for her nation-leading 39th stolen base of the year. However, Haff was able to work around the threat and kept the game tied, 6-6.

“I didn’t think this was one of our better games from a concentration standpoint,” Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said.

With two out in the bottom of the eighth, Burnside called the game with her 23rd dinger of the year. She has reached safely in 36 straight games and is tied for the most home runs in the NCAA with Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo.

“I was just trying to stay within my approach more than anything,” Burnside said. “Then just try to see the ball and put a good swing on it.”

Haff picked up her 20th victory of the season while pitching 3 ⅔ innings. She allowed eight hits, four runs, an earned run and two walks while striking out two.

Central Arkansas sophomore right-hander Jordan Johnson was hit with her sixth loss of the season in her relief appearance.

“That seventh inning was exciting, it was fun,” UCA head coach David Kuhn said. “It came down to a couple of long balls.”

Every hitter in UCA’s starting lineup recorded a base hit.

“UCA is a really tough squad,” Deifel said. “And when you have this in-state battle, it adds a little more edge to them. We knew that they would come in and battle us to the end.”

The No. 6 Hogs will stay in Fayetteville to face off against the Missouri Tigers for their final home series of the season Saturday-Monday. Game one will be broadcast on the SEC Network+ and games two and three will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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