FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Playing as the No. 13 national seed, the University of Arkansas softball team turned the program’s first-ever NCAA Regional host duties into the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Super Regionals. The Razorbacks rallied past Wichita State for a 6-4 win Sunday afternoon in front of 2,142 fans at Bogle Park to clinch the team’s spot into the next round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I thought our team showed a ton of character today, a ton of fight and a ton of heart,” head coach Courtney Deifel said after Sunday’s win. “I’m proud of this program and really excited we get to spend some more time together. I’m not ready for this year to end.”
Mary Haff picked up her third win of the weekend while fellow freshman Hannah McEwen and senior Autumn Buczek each had two hits. The Razorbacks trailed twice in the game but McEwen’s two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth put the home team up for good. Buczek’s diving play on a pop up in foul territory closed the door on the Shockers.
As winners of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, the Razorbacks will now face two-time defending champion Oklahoma in a Super Regional in Norman. Dates and games times will be announced at a later time.
FINAL: #15 Arkansas 6, Wichita State 4 | Box Score
Sunday’s crowd of 2,142 is the third-largest home crowd in program history and one of three top-six attendance figures set during the weekend. Overall, the Razorbacks played in front of 6,138 fans during its regional run at Bogle Park.
NCAA Fayetteville Regional Attendance (Arkansas games)
Friday vs DePaul – 1,985
Saturday vs Wichita State – 2,011
Sunday vs Wichita State – 2,142
Wichita State (32-23) plated a run in the first inning but the Razorbacks responded immediately with three runs in the bottom of the frame. The offense generated three-consecutive hits including an RBI single by Ashley Diaz that scored McEwen and tied the game. Katie Warrick and Tori Cooper drove in the next two runs with a sacrifice fly and RBI ground out, respectively.
After a quite second inning for both teams, the Shockers regained the lead with three runs of their own in the top of the third with the help of a two-run double by Asea Webber. Haff, in relief of starter Autumn Storms, shook off the hit and retired the next two hitters to keep Arkansas within one.
McEwen put her team back on top with a one-out, two-run shot to left center field and the Razorbacks led, 5-4. Junior Haydi Bugarin drew a walk to flip the lineup and bring the freshman to the plate. McEwen took the 2-1 pitch from Wichita State’s Caitlin Bingham and knocked it over the fence for her team-leading 12th home run. Arkansas added an insurance run in the sixth when pinch runner Sydney Benz scored from third on a wild pitch.
After working around hitters on base in the fourth and fifth innings, Haff faced a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the fifth inning but retired the next two hitters to maintain the lead. In the sixth, the freshman struck out the side and was given a two-run cushion with Benz’s run in the home half of the frame. Haff retired the final eight hitters she faced Sunday, ending the game with seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings of relief work.
NCAA Fayetteville Regional | Tournament Central
Wichita State: 2-2
Oklahoma State: 1-2
Friday, May 18
Game 1: Wichita State 8, Oklahoma State 2
Game 2: Arkansas 2, DePaul 0
Saturday, May 19
Game 3: Arkansas 5, Wichita State 0
Game 4: Oklahoma State 6, DePaul 0
Game 5: Wichita State 5, Oklahoma State 4
Sunday, May 20
Game 6: Arkansas 6, Wichita State 4
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