Arizona’s 2-1 softball win over Arkansas has Razorbacks in NCAA Tournament bind

By Jason Pattyson
on 2024-05-18 17:28 PM


If it No. 12 Arkansas is going to advance to an NCAA Softball Tournament Super Regional, it’s going to have to go about it the hard way.

Second-seeded Arizona put up a couple of first-inning runs and that proved to be all the Wildcats needed in downing the top-seeded Razorbacks 2-1 Saturday afternoon in the Fayetteville Regional at Bogle Park.

Both teams had just three hits each while the Razorbacks left six on the Wildcats a trio.

Three walks and Blasie Bringle’s two-run single in the first inning helped score those two runs off of Arkansas starting pitcher Robyn Herron (12-9) and were just enough to steal a win.

The loss meant Arkansas (36-17) will have to beat Saturday’s Villanova-SEMO winner in a 7 p.m game and then beat Arizona (38-16-1) twice on Sunday to win the Regional.

The Wildcats just need one more win Sunday at 3 p.m. or in the if necessary game to advance.

Arizona’s game plan for the Razorback offense was not just good, it was strategic and executed to perfection.

The aim was clear- limit the runners on base and neutralize the power bats from the right side of the plate. And they did just that. 

“Yeah, we wanted to mix up the look today, especially for those power-hitting righties,” Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe said after the win. “I think they do a good job of making adjustments. So, I wanted to get her right back in the game for sure. I think, you know, we have a staff that we are, you know, coming to the postseason with, and she needs to be ready.”

That first inning was not indicative of how Herron’s final six innings went. She was stellar after that, tossing 102 pitches Saturday after tossing five-plus innings in a win against SEMO late Friday night.

Arizona had a chance to break the game wide open in the fifth.

A quick throw to home plate by junior shortstop Spencer Priggie prevented a run, and catcher Kennedy Miller threw out the runner trying to advance to second for an inning-ending double play.

The play at home was overturned after a lengthy review by the umpire to keep the deficit at two runs. 

Rylin Hedgecock, who had been struggling with her bat while batting .220 and hitting only four home runs this year, showcased her resilience.

Her pivotal double sparked the comeback against the Redhawks Friday in a 3-2 win.  She came to the plate in the exact scenario down two runs in the bottom of the seventh this time.

Hedgecock delivered a towering fly over the left field wall to cut the Wildcats lead to 2-1.

Arkansas had been shut out only twice this season. Hedgecock prevented that, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Razorbacks from now having to stave off elimination.  

Photo by John D. James

(Last updated: 2024-05-18 17:28 PM)