More UA softball home run records fall in win

By: Steve Andrews
Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Arkansas' Braxton Burnside (center) is congratulated after hitting a home run during a game against Southeast Missouri State on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Fayetteville.
( Walt Beazley, Arkansas Razorbacks )
Arkansas' Braxton Burnside (center) is congratulated after hitting a home run during a game against Southeast Missouri State on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Just when it looked like the No. 10 University of Arkansas softball team had broken nearly every record in the program’s 25-year history, the Razorbacks keep raising the bar.

Arkansas smashed a program-record six home runs in a 9-1 victory in five innings over Missouri State on Tuesday in Bogle Park. In setting the single-game record, the Razorbacks also broke the single-season team record with 69, eclipsing the previous mark of 65 set in 2008.

“I think it’s just their level of confidence at the plate, more than anything,” Arkansas Coach Courtney Deifel said of the home runs. “They go up there knowing exactly what kind of pitch they are hunting as hitters, and when they swing, they swing to do damage.

“I think our girls have a ton of confidence in themselves and have a ton of confidence in each other.”

The win is the 12th in a row for the Razorbacks, who improved to 32-3.

“I think we are just playing with that championship mindset,” said catcher Kayla Green, who hit a pair of home runs. “We’re just not going to give up, and we’re not going to take our foot off the gas pedal.”

Freshman Hannah Gammill, who had been sidelined by an injury for nearly a month, made the most of her return, homering in her first at-bat to give Arkansas a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Arkansas stretched the lead in the third when Danielle Gibson and Gammill each hit RBI singles with two outs, making it 3-0.

The hit parade continued in the fourth, as Green led off with a solo home run. Braxton Burnside added to her single-season home run mark with her 20th of the season. Burnside leads the SEC in homers and is currently second in the nation.

“We knew that Missouri State was going to come out and fight, like they do every time we have played them,” Green said. “So, we just came out concentrating on the things we knew we could do.”

Autumn Storms (5-0) went the distance in the circle to pick up the win. She allowed 1 run on 1 hit over 5 innings while striking out 7. Missouri State (16-14) scored its lone run on a ground out in the fourth.

Arkansas finished things quickly in the fifth, as Gibson and Linnie Malkin opened the frame with back-to-back home runs. Three batters later, Green’s two-run shot enacted the run rule to end the game.

Arkansas will host No. 3 Alabama (27-3) for a three-game series this weekend at Bogle Park in the first top 10 matchup in school history. First pitch for Friday’s opener is slated for 6 p.m.

“It’s going to be a huge battle, just like every SEC game,” Deifel said. “We have a ton of respect for every team we face in conference. We just have to study what they do and what our approach will be. Then staying within ourselves and doing what we have done so well all year.”

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