KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Redshirt senior Nicole Schroeder hit her 16th home run to break the program’s single-season home run record but the Razorbacks lost to 16th-ranked Alabama, 4-1, in Wednesday’s first round of the SEC Tournament. Ashley Diaz registered her 13th multi-hit game of the season and Loren Krzysko extended her on-base streak to 15-straight games in the setback. Arkansas sits at 31-22 with an RPI ranking of No. 30 heading into Sunday’s Selection Show.
Final: (5) Alabama 4, (12) Arkansas 1 | Box Score
“(Alabama) played a good game,” head coach Courtney Deifel said. “It’s always a good battle when you play Alabama, but I’m proud of my girls. I think we had some early game jitters, and I think once we settled in we really gave them a game, but it was a little too late.”
Trailing by three runs after two innings, Arkansas put together its first scoring threat in the top of the third after back-to-back singles by Katie Warrick and Ashley Diaz to lead off the frame. After a sacrifice bunt by Shelby Hiers, the Razorbacks had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out but Alabama (41-15) got out of the jam with a play at the plate and fly out to shallow center field. Warrick has a hit in five of her last six games played.
Autumn Storms worked her first 1-2-3 inning with a trio of ground-ball outs in the bottom of the third, and Schroeder cut into Arkansas’ deficit with a two-out solo shot to left field. With the record-setting big fly, Schroeder broke the tie atop the program’s single-season home run list she previously shared with Jessica Bachkora (2007-10) and Devon Wallace (2012-15). With the home run, Schroeder also moved into second on the single-season list with her 48th RBI of the year.
After giving up three runs in the first, Storms steadied and held the tournament’s No. 5 seed to just one run on five hits over the next five innings. The Crimson Tide picked up its final run with a Bailey Hemphill home run in the fourth inning. Arkansas had a runner on base in each of the last five innings including Krzysko who led off the sixth with a hit up the middle. The redshirt junior has at least one hit in 14 of the last 17 games.
The Razorbacks now await their NCAA fate that will be determined Sunday during the NCAA Softball Selection Show which will air at 9 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2. Arkansas is seeking the program’s seventh NCAA Regional appearance.
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