No. 19 Arkansas handles No. 9 LSU

By: Steve Andrews Special tothe NWA Democrat-Gazette
Published: Friday, April 19, 2019
Arkansas' Ashley Diaz runs the bases after hitting a home run during a game against South Carolina on Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas' Ashley Diaz runs the bases after hitting a home run during a game against South Carolina on Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Senior Ashley Diaz knocked in four runs Thursday night to propel the No. 19 Arkansas softball team to an 8-5 series-opening victory over No. 9 LSU at Bogle Park.

The Razorbacks smacked three home runs as part of nine hits, while sophomore Mary Haff (16-9) pitched the final 42/3 innings without allowing an earned run to get the victory.

"This is huge, and I just loved our mindset all night," said Arkansas Coach Courtney Deifel said. "We weren't fazed by anything and fought from the very first pitch."

The victory was the largest margin of victory Arkansas has ever had against LSU.

The Arkansas (33-14, 7-9 SEC) bats got hot early as the first four Razorbacks reached base. After consecutive singles by sophomores Hannah McEwen and Danielle Gibson, Diaz ripped a three-run home run over the left-center field fence, putting Arkansas up 3-0. It also made Diaz the eighth Razorback in history to reach 200 career hits.

"I thought our offense was excellent tonight," Deifel said. "And Ashley is just seeing the ball really well -- she's not getting cheated. Heck, even her outs make a pretty loud bang. She just has such a presence right now that is really fun to watch."

LSU (36-10, 13-6) struck back two runs in the second on Shemiah Sanchez's solo home run and a wild pitch that scored Michaela Schlattman. The Tigers scored three more in a four-hit third inning to take a 5-3 lead.

"They have, statistically, the best offense in the conference," Deifel said. "But our girls didn't flinch, they just kept working their adjustments and kept grinding away."

Nicole Duncan was hit by a pitch to begin the Arkansas fourth and scored on Gibson's line drive that was misplayed by the Tigers. Diaz then tied the game at 5-5 scoring McEwen on her 10th career sacrifice fly, an Arkansas record.

Sophomore Linnie Malkin's two-run home run over the center-field fence in the fifth put Arkansas back on top 7-5. The home run was the Razorbacks' first pinch-hit home run of the season.

Senior Katie Warrick then capped the scoring in the sixth with a solo shot to left-center.

"It's nice to get the first one, but we know LSU is going to come battling back," Deifel said. "But I expect our girls to have a ton more fight in them as well."

After getting hit by a pitch to start the fourth inning, sophomore Nicole Duncan moved to 10th on the all-time Razorbacks' list with 15.

LSU AB R H BI ARKANSAS AB R H BI

Andrews, cf 4 1 2 0 McEwen, lf 2 2 1 0

ASanchez, 3b 3 0 0 0 Gibson, dh 4 1 2 1

Sunseri, dh 4 1 1 0 Diaz, 1b 3 1 1 4

SSanchez, 2b 4 2 2 2 Warrick, rf 3 1 2 1

Thrnhll, rf/lf 4 0 0 0 Green, c 4 0 1 0

Doyle, 1b 4 0 1 1 Haizlip, pr 0 0 0 0

Schlttmn, c 3 1 2 1 Parr, cf 3 1 1 0

Serrett, ss 1 0 0 0 Bugarin, 2b 2 0 0 0

Stewart, lf 3 0 1 0 Duncan, 3b 2 1 0 0

Antoine, rf 0 0 0 0 Edwards, ss 1 0 0 0

Malkin, ph 1 1 1 2

TOTALS 30 5 9 4 totals 25 8 9 8

LSU 023 000 0 -- 5 9 1

Arkansas 300 221 x -- 8 9 1

E -- S. Sanchez, Warrick. LOB -- LSU 7, Arkansas 6. 2B -- Schlattman 2, Green. HR -- S. Sanchez (16), Diaz (7), Warrick (9), Malkin (1). SAC -- Bugarin, Edwards. SF -- Diaz.

LsU IP H R ER BB SO

Wickersham 32/3 6 5 3 3 0

Kilponen L, 5-3 21/3 3 3 3 0 1

ARKANSAs IP H R ER BB SO

Storms 21/3 5 5 3 1 1

Haff W, 16-9 42/3 4 0 0 1 3

WP -- Storms 2. HBP -- by Wickersham (Duncan), by Haff (Serrett). Umpires -- Home: Thomas; First: Douglass; Third: Kerney. Time -- 2:10. Attendance -- 323.

Sports on 04/19/2019

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.