Arkansas Drops Quarterfinal Game To Alabama, 3-2 In A Pitchers Duel.
Jason Pattyson // Sports Reporter // @thejpattyson
Arkansas’s late rally in extra innings falls short to Alabama 3-2 in the SEC Softball Tournament Quarterfinals at Bogle Park Thursday night.
In late March, these ladies went the distance in one of the most epic Monday night SEC league games. Arkansas won the game and their first series in Tuscaloosa in program history. Part two of the pitcher’s duel between seniors Chenise Delce and Montana Fouts didn’t disappoint.
Delce left it all on the field Thursday, nearly going the distance for Arkansas. She gave up three runs from nine hits over eight and one-third innings. She also struck out ten and walked seven batters in the loss.
“I thought they fought their tails off tonight,” said head coach Courtney Deifel. “It’s just a good old fashioned pitchers duel,” where honestly, no one deserves to lose. So I’m already really proud of the way they responded from this past weekend.”
Delce ran into trouble in the second inning, and the Crimson Tide had runners on first and second. Center fielder Kristen White hit a sharp ground ball to junior Cylie Halvorson at first base, who booted the ball. It rolled by graduate Kristina Foreman at second base, allowing Ally Shipman to score from second base to give Alabama a 1-0 lead.
Montana Fouts didn’t have her best stuff tonight, but she battled the Razorback order and used her veteran experience to silence the Hog bats. She left in the bottom of the seventh inning with a lower leg injury and couldn’t return. Her final stat line was impressive. She tossed six and two-third innings, giving up one run off of five hits. She struck out nine batters and walked three in the no-decision.
Sophomore left fielder Raigam Kramer made two inning-ending highlight reel catches that helped limit the damage Alabama could do on the scoreboard. Her fully extended diving catch ending the third inning brought the crowd to their feet, and her teammates congratulated her with cheers and high-fives when she returned to the dugout.
Halvorson came up in the bottom of the sixth inning with runners on first and second base. She took the first Fouts pitch she saw, drove it to center field, and scored Reagan Johnson to tie the game up at one apiece.
Alabama’s Bailey Dowling came up in the top of the ninth inning, had little success in the game to that point, and had struck out three of her four trips to the plate. She fouled off a couple of pitches that she was ahead of into foul territory, and they had some heat on them as she was getting her timing on Delce’s delivery.
Dowling got her timing right and stoked a hard-hit ground ball to Gammill at third base. The ball bounced off of her shoulder and rolled into left field. Prange and Preuitt scored on the play to give the Crimson Tide a 3-1 lead.
Sophomore center fielder Reagan Johnson tried to get the hogs back on track and drew a walk to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Kraimer flew out to center field, and the ball fell safely to the ground after some miscommunication in the field. The throw from center found the backstop, Johnson scored on the play, and Kraimer advanced to third base with two out and closed the scoring gap to 3-2.
Rylin Hedgecock drew an intentional walk to bring up Halvorson, who had two game-winning hits under her belt this season. She worked the count to 2-1, and she turned on a pitch, but it went right to the shortstop, and she fired it to first for the final out as Alabama topped Arkansas in the final quarterfinal game of the night with a 3-2 win.
We had our chances and didn’t get it done tonight. That happens, but we’re ready to see where we are on Sunday in the NCAA College Softball Selection Show. We’re in a position to host. The body of work these athletes have put together has earned that. They’re ready, and tonight’s game stung a little bit, and the heartbreak will motivate them for what comes next, Deifel said.
What Is Next?
Arkansas will have to wait until Sunday when the NCAA Softball selection show broadcasts on ESPN at 7 p.m.