BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
Arkansas freshman catcher Lauren Camenzind came up big Sunday as the Razorbacks stemmed the softball Tide in Alabama.
Camenzind’s RBI double in a three-run second inning got the Arkansas offense going and she also tagged a pair of runners out at the plate in her team’s 5-3 win.
She also was behind the plate as winning pitcher Chenise Delce (10-4) – the Razorbacks’ third hurler of the game – fanned three with the bases loaded to end the game.
The victory for No. 12 Arkansas (21-8, 2-3) gave it a split of the first two games with No. 13 Alabama (22-7, 1-1) with the series finale set for Monday at 6 p.m.
“It was huge to be able to come back and get the win today and show that we aren’t going down without a fight,” Camenzind said. “We are a team that is gritty and is going to fight for everything. We’re going to come back tomorrow with same mentality we had today and scratch and claw away.”
Cylie Halvorson and Kacie Hoffman walked in the second before Camenzind doubled to send Halvorson for a 1-0 lead.
Fellow freshman Ataylia Rijo’s followed with a single to score Hoffman and Camenzind to make it 3-0.
“My mentality at the plate was to find a pitch that was in the zone and do damage when it was thrown there,” Camenzind said.
Alabama, who out-hit Arkansas 8-3 on Sunday, cut it to 3-2 in the third, but Raigan Kramer threw out Emma Broadfoot at home to end the inning.
Kramer then fired to Camenzind again in the fourth to cut down Jordan Stephens at the plate and keep it 3-2.
“Raigan Kramer had two big throws in the game that shifted momentum to our side and shut the Alabama offense down by taking two runs away from them,” Camenzind said.
The Razorbacks pushed that lead to 5-2 when the Crimson Tide committed a pair of errors on balls hit into the outfield by Halvorson and Camenzind.
Alabama put itself in position to win the game when it loaded the bases with nobody out in seventh and Emma Broadfoot’s RBI single cut it to 5-3.
But Delce then finished the game off by fanning Jenna Johnson, Kali Heivillin and Stephens to end the game.
“When we get bases loaded in the seventh with nobody out, we have to win the game,” Alabama head coach Patrick Kelly said.
Kelly also lamented not getting runs in the first against Arkansas starter Robyn Herron.
“In the first inning, we had the bases loaded with one out and couldn’t put it away,” Kelly said. “We got a strikeout and a popup.
“Maybe if we get a hit there and put a crooked number on the scoreboard, then Arkansas is playing on their heels and we’re excited. Instead, they score in the top of the second and now we’re on our heels. So, the exact opposite could have happened.”
Photo courtesy of Alabama athletics