LAKE CHARLES, La. – Outfielder Linnie Malkin hit two home runs, including the go-ahead two-run blast in the top of the 14th inning, as No. 25 Arkansas downed McNeese, 6-4, in the second-longest game in program history on Saturday evening at Cowgirl Diamond
The Razorbacks rallied by bringing the game’s go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh but fell, 7-4, in the nightcap.
Game 1: No. 25 Arkansas 6, McNeese 4 (14 innings)
Arkansas (1-2) held a 4-0 lead through five innings on outfielder Keely Huffine’s two-run second inning home run to left and catcher Kayla Green and Malkin’s back-to-back jacks in the fourth. Pitcher Autumn Storms did not surrender a hit and allowed only two baserunners through the first five innings, but the McNeese (3-3) bats had a big turn in the sixth. After back-to-back singles started the stanza, a flare single to right and a double down the left field line that deflected off diving left fielder Hannah McEwen, the Cowgirls tied the game. They scored their only runs of the game behind four hits, three walks and an error.
Pitcher Mary Haff got the relief call with one on and one out midway through the sixth, and after a walk, struck out two in a row with the bases loaded holding the score, 4-4. The Floridian hurler kept the Pokes bats off balance during extras and masterfully tight roped out of a one out runners on second and third jam in the 10th, inducing a strikeout and a popout.
The Razorbacks had chances to score, especially in the top of the 11th leaving a runner at third with one out, but ultimately sealed the win on Malkin’s 14th inning heroics. Green made the homer possible, drawing a crucial two out walk before Malkin stepped to the plate.
Haff (1-1) earned the win throwing a whopping 8.2 scoreless innings, all in relief, allowing six hits with nine strikeouts on 149 pitches. Ashley Vallejo (0-2) took the loss for McNeese tossing 11.0 relief innings, surrendering two runs, five hits and five walks with four strikeouts.
The only game longer by virtue of innings in the 25 seasons of Arkansas softball was on Mar. 21, 1999, a 12-7 setback in 19 innings against Alabama.
Malkin posted the second two-homer game of her career – the first since 2018 against Grand Canyon – and scored three runs. McEwen set a career-high drawing four walks.
Game 2: McNeese 7, No. 25 Arkansas 4
Huffine gave the Hogs a brief one-run lead, smashing her second homer of the night in the top of the third. The Pokes took a 4-1 run in the fourth, scoring four runs in the frame on just one hit, and were helped by three walks and two hit by pitches. McNeese scored two runs in the fifth and a solo tally in the sixth to go up, 7-1.
The Razorbacks started a comeback attempt when they were down to their final three outs in the seventh as third baseman Hannah Gammill hit her first career homer leading off the inning. McEwen, and infielder Braxton Burnside followed with singles setting up infielder Danielle Gibson run scoring base hit to right. After outfielder Ryan Jackson singled up the middle which loaded the bases, Green walked bringing the Hogs within three at, 7-4. Arkansas struck out twice in its last two plate appearances.
Pitcher Lauren Howell made her first collegiate start and completed 3.1 innings, allowing one hit and three earned runs with three walks. Jenna Bloom (0-1) was tagged with the loss, surrendering one hit, two walks and an earned run. In her collegiate debut, Allie Light worked the final 2.1 frames and struck out two while allowing two earned runs.
Arkansas is back in action tomorrow, Feb. 21 at the Cowgirl Classic playing a pair of games. First pitch against No. 18 Baylor is set for 10 a.m. with game two against McNeese at 12:30 p.m.