Arkansas falls to South Carolina at SEC Tournament

By: Matt Jones
Published: Friday, May 11, 2018
Arkansas center fielder Loren Krzysko connects for an RBI single Friday, March 30, 2018, during the fourth inning against Mississippi State at Bogle Park in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas center fielder Loren Krzysko connects for an RBI single Friday, March 30, 2018, during the fourth inning against Mississippi State at Bogle Park in Fayetteville.

Arkansas' run is over at the Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament.

The Razorbacks lost 3-1 to No. 3 seed South Carolina on Friday in the tournament semifinals in Columbia, Mo. Arkansas was held to five hits and struck out seven times against pitcher Dixie Raley, who threw a complete game.

Raley was a last-minute replacement after the Gamecocks' scheduled starter, Cayla Drotar, injured her back during warmups.

"I was really impressed with Dixie Raley's performance on the mound today," South Carolina coach Beverly Smith said. "I thought she had great command, a lot of swings and misses, and she got us out of a couple of jams. I'm really proud of her performance."

South Carolina (45-13) scored three runs off Arkansas starter Autumn Storms. Kenzi Maguire's two-out RBI single gave the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead in the second inning and Tiara Duffy hit a two-run home run to left-center field in the fourth.

"They made us pay for some mistakes we made in the circle," Arkansas coach Courtney Deifel said. "I thought we were a little slow to make adjustments and South Carolina just beat us today."

Arkansas (39-15) scored its only run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by A.J. Belans. The Razorbacks stranded a runner at third base with consecutive line outs to end the inning.

South Carolina will play Florida in the tournament championship game Saturday.

Arkansas will learn its NCAA postseason destination during the NCAA's selection show Sunday at 9 p.m. The Razorbacks entered the tournament with the nation's No. 19 RPI and defeated two ranked teams, Kentucky and Georgia.

"I think we have a lot to take away from the (SEC) tournament and the whole SEC season," Deifel said. "You learn some much in these games and they're all battles. We're playing the best of the best, so we're prepared and we're ready to go for postseason."

Arkansas has an outside chance to host a regional for the first time. The Arkansas Activities Association is scheduled to host its state softball championships at Bogle Park the weekend of NCAA regionals, but contingency plans are in place to move the high school games to another site if needed.

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