FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 23 University of Arkansas softball team (10-1) extended its winning streak to eight games with a 13-3 victory over South Dakota State (5-5) and a 7-0 win against Marist (3-2) at Bogle Park on Friday evening. In both games the Razorbacks combined to outhit its opposition, 16-6, while the pitching staff struck out 19 batters and walked just three.
Junior Hannah McEwen was a force at the plate and went a perfect 5-for-5 in the twinbill with two doubles, four RBIs, five runs scored and two walks.
Game 1: Arkansas 13, South Dakota State 3 (5 innings)
The Razorbacks posted three multi-run innings in their fourth run-rule victory of the season. The Hogs fell behind 2-0 on a Jackrabbit homer in the top of the first inning, but the bats quickly responded with four runs in the bottom half of the stanza. Junior Linnie Malkin shot her team-leading fourth home run of the year over the left field wall to give the hosts a 3-2 advantage. Redshirt freshman Valerie Ventura blooped an RBI base knock to center to cap off the inning.
After SDSU added a single run in the second, the offense registered a six run third. McEwen skipped a single into right which brought in two runners, senior Sydney Parr scored on a wild pitch, junior Danielle Gibson laced an RBI single and another run trailed on a fielder error by the centerfielder. Malkin capped off the sixth and lofted a softly hit single toward right to tally her career-best fourth RBI of the contest.
Up by seven runs entering the bottom of the fourth, Arkansas put up three runs to shorten the game to five innings. McEwen collected her third RBI of the game on a single and junior Braxton Burnside plate two more on a rocket single up the middle.
Senior Autumn Storms (5-0) earned the win coming out of the bullpen. The righty made swift work of the SDSU bats in her three innings as she struck out six of the 10 batters she faced. The reigning all-american lowered her season ERA to 0.59.
Freshman Jenna Bloom went two innings to start the game and surrendered three hits, three earned runs and two walks with three strike outs.
The Razorbacks outhit the Jackrabbits, 10-4, and drew six walks. McEwen totaled a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate with a double, walk, three RBIs and three runs scored.
South Dakota State was plagued by poor fielding and committed two errors. Five of Arkansas’ 13 runs were unearned.
Game 2: Arkansas 7, Marist 0
Parr energized the team by making the catch of the year in the first inning. She raced back to the warning track to rob what would have been a Marist homer by jumping and reaching over the wall to bring the ball back in.
The pitching tandem of junior Mary Haff and Bloom sliced through the Marist lineup and allowed only two hits all game. Haff (4-1) walked one and struck out four in her four innings of work. Bloom’s arm was electric as she struck out six while facing the minimum. The freshman notched the three inning save for her third stop of the year.
The offense only needed six hits to score seven runs as it took advantage of five walks, two hit by pitches and two errors. Arkansas scored a single run in the first, three in the second, two in the fourth and a solo tally in the fifth. McEwen led the way with a pair of hits, an RBI and two walks.
Parr, Gibson, Ventura and sophomore Audrie LaValley picked up RBIs while Burnside led the team with two.
The Razorbacks play another twinbill on Saturday, Feb. 22. Arkansas will rematch Boston University at 12:15 p.m. and face Montana for the first time in program history at 2:30 p.m.
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