By Jason Pattyson
FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas softball team watched their season end by way of a 10-run 5th inning from the Oregon Ducks to fall 14-4 in the elimination and championship game on Sunday at Bogle Park.
Arkansas had a hard time Sunday keeping the Ducks off the pond, and the pitching gave up five walks. That, plus timely hitting, was the downfall of the Razorback’s dreams of moving on to the Super Regional round.
The Razorbacks struck first on the scoreboard with a sac-fly deep right field from Rylin Hedgecock to score Reagan Johnson to put the Hogs up 1-0.
Oregon answered in a big way in the bottom half of the frame with four runs. Ariel Carlson had a massive day for Oregon. It started with a single to drive Kai Luschar to even the scoreboard. Terra McGowan drew a walk to set up a big three-run home run by KK Humphries to put the Ducks ahead 4-1 after the first inning.
The Hog’s offense started to show some life on the basepath after Cylie Halvorson and Kristina Foreman reached base. Hannah Gammill came up with two on and one out. She crushed a pitch out of right field to even the score 4-4.
Chenise Delce worked out of trouble all afternoon. She was pitching in her third game in two days. The battle-tested veteran gave the Razorbacks all she had. She would get some help from the defense—sloppy base running by McGowan as she got doubled up by Foreman to help out Delce. Then a soft fly to Atalyia Rijo and Delce worked out of a jam with runners on first and third with no outs to end the third inning.
To this point, Oregon had problems scoring runs consistently, which changed on Sunday. Oregon has used 49 different lineups in 53 games this season, and Head Coach Melyssa Lombardi decided to keep the lineup for a second day in a row to see if it would crack the Arkansas pitching.
Delce exited the game in the fourth inning and ended her career at Arkansas to a standing ovation. She tossed three innings and gave up four runs off of five hits.
Oregon would strike again with Callie Turner in the circle when Kai Luschar drove in the runner at third to take a 5-4 lead.
The Arkansas pitching was starting to struggle, and the Ducks would capitalize. Ariel Carlson launched a bomb out of the left to extend the lead to 7-4 Oregon. Turner would leave the game after the homerun, but she did have an outstanding performance on Saturday. Robyn Herron would take the reins, and it didn’t go well. She recorded one out, gave up a walk and two hits, and gave up three runs.
Oregon put together a huge fifth inning. They scored nine runs off seven hits and sent 11 batters to the plate.
The daggers came off the bat of Ariel Carlson as she hit two home runs in the fifth inning to end it. The first was an offering from Herron, and she parked it in the stands in left field. She would come up again, this time with the bases loaded and the Regional on the line. The Ducks needed three more runs in the inning to run-rule the Hogs. The game is over if a team is up by eight runs in the fifth inning. Carlson saw a 1-1 offering from Hannah Camenzind and crushed it over the left field wall to walk it off for the Ducks.
The Razorbacks ended the season 40-19 overall, and this was their third year in a row to host a regional. They exceeded expectations after Coach Deifel had to fill seven of the nine spots in the field entering the season. Oregon (38-15) was able to keep its hopes of making it to Oklahoma City alive.