Tulsa scores 5 in final inning, sends Arkansas to loser's bracket in NCAA Tournament

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019
Arkansas starter Autumn Storms delivers to the plate against Kentucky Friday, March 29, 2019, during the first inning at Bogle Park in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas starter Autumn Storms delivers to the plate against Kentucky Friday, March 29, 2019, during the first inning at Bogle Park in Fayetteville.

A scoreless pitchers’ duel through six innings turned into an error-filled seventh for the University of Arkansas softball team as Tulsa beat the Razorbacks 5-0 on Thursday at the NCAA Stillwater (Okla.) Regional at Cowgirl Stadium.

Tulsa freshman right-hander Chenise Delce (15-5) threw a shutout and held the Razorbacks to 5 hits with 2 walks and 9 strikeouts.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed in our outing overall,” Arkansas Coach Courtney Deifel said. “We left seven runners on base and we made five errors, and really, it seemed like a lot more than that.

“If you play like that, you’re just not going to win at this point. I give credit to Tulsa. I thought they fought a lot harder than us and they deserved to win.”

Arkansas (38-19) will play an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. today against BYU.

“I think as a team we just have to want it more,” said Arkansas sophomore designated hitter Danielle Gibson, who was 2 for 4 against Tulsa. “We didn’t show it today as a group. I’m hoping tomorrow we can come out with a fire lit and just kind of guns blazing.”

Tulsa (36-18) sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh inning when the Golden Hurricane had five hits and benefited from three Arkansas errors to score five unearned runs.

Arkansas catcher Kayla Green had two errors in the seventh and third baseman Nicole Duncan had another. Two runs scored on Duncan’s throwing error to home on a ground ball to give Tulsa a 2-0 lead with one out.

“I think we panicked on that play,” Deifel said. “She kicked it a little bit, and when she picked it up, I’m not really sure she had a play at home.

“In that moment, you have to know you’re beat there and throw it across the field [for an out at first base]. When she rushed that throw, she threw it past our catcher and that allowed another run to score.

“That’s really the big difference. If they get one run on that play and we get an out across the field, it changes the momentum. Then we can battle to get out of that and get back in the dugout and fight from a one-run deficit.

“Instead it kind of leads to more and the next thing you know they had a five-run lead.”

Tulsa second baseman Morgan Neal, a senior from Springdale Har-Ber, went 2 of 4. She had a single and scored in the seventh-inning rally, when Rylie Spell had a two-run single.

Arkansas junior right-hander Autumn Storms (20-8) pitched all seven innings. She had allowed three hits going into the seventh inning. She finished with six strikeouts and didn’t allow a walk or an earned run.

The Razorbacks, who had five hits, left the bases loaded in the fourth inning.

“This time of the year it’s all about timely hitting, and we didn’t get it,” Deifel said.

Arkansas senior first baseman Ashley Diaz was 2 for 2 with a walk.

All eight of Tulsa’s hits were singles.

“I was just proud that we kept having good at-bat after good at-bat,” Golden Hurricane Coach John Bargfeldt said of the seventh inning. “That’s the kind of team we are.

“We’re not going to hit a three-run home run very often. Every once in a while we will, but we just need to be somebody that passes the bat to the next person. Just keep the line moving.”

Tulsa improved to 19-14 against Arkansas, including 3-1 in NCAA Tournament games. The Golden Hurricane won 2-1 at Arkansas earlier this season.

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