No. 12 Arkansas hands No. 3 Tennessee its first SEC softball series loss of the season
on 2023-05-01 21:09 PM
BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
The last couple of days have seen Razorback softball fans leaving Bogle Park with big smiles on their faces.
Rylin Hedgecock’s SEC-leading 20th home run of the season proved to be all the offense No. 12 Arkansas (37-14, 13-8) needed on Monday night in a 2-0 win over visiting No. 3 Tennessee that handed the home team a series win.
The pitching tandem of Razorback freshman Hannah Camenzind and senior Chenise Delce shut out the first-plae Volunteers on five hits while stranding eight in the contest before 2,912 fans.
“Well, they just stayed the course and competed their butts off all weekend,” Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said. “I thought we played really well on Saturday, too, and just didn’t get the win. They just fought. I am just so proud of them. It was such a huge weekend.
“Obviously we saw Hannah Camenzind step up big-time and we saw combining her with Chenise worked in our favor.”
Tennessee (39-7, 17-4) won Friday night’s opener 3-1, but Arkansas rebounded with a 6-4 win on Sunday that also had Camenzind (4-2) and Delce (19-5, 4 saves) combining on the mound.
Camenzind pitched 5 2/3 innings while allowing five hits while Delce kept the visitors hitless while getting the last for outs.
“I would just say that it shows how tough we are,” Camenzind said. “I mean was senior weekend so it was just leaving it all out there. We really just came together and it took everybody this weekend to get those two wins. I would just say our residency and toughness was huge.
Hedgecock believes the two-time defending SEC champions are hitting their stride now.
“I think Coach has said this, too, but I think this weekend that we were clicking on all cylinders and I feel like everything that we have learned over the course of the season is finally starting to pay off,” Hedgecock said. “I think that showed this weekend.”
Hedgecock’s home run came in the bottom of the fourth and after Reagan Johnson singled and was erased on Raigan Kramer’s fielder’s choice.
She hit it off Tennessee starter Karlyn Pickens (8-5).
“All this week we talked about how obviously she throws 70 miles an hour, somewhere around there,” Hedgecock said. “So may biggest thinbg was just being on time. In my first at-bat, I thought I put a pretty good swing on it, but I was just late.
“So my second at-bat, I really just wanted to be on time…My main thing was that I was going to swing as hard as I can and I’m going to on time.”
It was the Volunteers’ first SEC series loss of the season.
Tennessee is two games ahead of Georgia (38-10, 15-5) and will host South Carolina next weekend while the Bulldogs go to LSU.
Arkansas, tied for third with Auburn, is at Missouri this weekend and then host the SEC Tournament May 9-13.
Photo by John D. James
(Last updated: 2023-05-01 21:09 PM)