UA softball kicks off event vs. Iowa State

By: Ethan Westerman
Published: Thursday, March 2, 2023
Arkansas softball coach Courtney Deifel is shown during a game against South Carolina on Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Fayetteville.
( David Beach/Special to the Democrat-Gazette )
Arkansas softball coach Courtney Deifel is shown during a game against South Carolina on Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — For the second weekend in a row, Bogle Park will be the host site of a multi-team event.

Following a Razorback Invitational that saw the Arkansas softball team finish 5-1, including two wins against then-No. 13 Arizona, Courtney Deifel’s squad returns to action today in the Wooo Pig Classic.

The sixth-ranked Razorbacks (13-3) open the tournament against Iowa State (6-7) at 2 p.m on SEC Network-Plus. The game time was pushed ahead by two hours due to expected inclement weather later in the day.

The five-team field also includes North Texas (10-4) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (8-6).

“They're very strong opponents,” Deifel said. “Iowa State is very, very tough. North Texas has had a really great run and played a tough schedule thus far. Corpus Christi has had a good year and been really close with the ones that they've dropped.

“It'll be a good weekend [and] it'll be a good challenge.”

Reflecting on the Razorback Invitational, Deifel said her team was placed in a postseason-like situation and handled it well.

“I really liked that we figured out how to win the series, per se, with Arizona,” she said. “I think it has an SEC feel to it. I think it had a super regional feel to it.

“Kind of staying the course and finding a way to win two out of three when I don't necessarily feel like we were playing all that well.”

A big part of the Razorbacks finding a way to win three different one-run games was a spectacular individual effort.

Arkansas senior pitcher Chenise Delce had a dominant performance in the Razorback Invitational, which resulted in SEC co-pitcher of the week and NFCA national pitcher of the week honors.

Delce dazzled in the circle to the tune of 25 strikeouts and 2 runs surrendered over 18 1/3 innings. She earned four of Arkansas’ five wins.

“I don't know how to else to explain it but just trusting,” Delce said of her mentality. “I'm trying not to take things, I don't want to say too seriously, but I don't want to overwhelm myself. I know as a pitcher a lot of your teammates feed off of your energy.

“I'm just trying to stay calm and not overwhelm my teammates either. Just trusting myself, trusting God, trusting my coaches, trusting my teammates, keeping calm and just keeping the energy good.”

Arkansas and Iowa State have one common opponent this year – Drake. The Cyclones lost both meetings, and the Razorbacks swept the Bulldogs last weekend.

However, Arkansas’ first win against Drake took a resilient comeback effort. The Razorbacks tied things up with two outs in the seventh inning then earned a 4-3 victory via a walk-off in the 11th inning.

The game taught Deifel what she needed to know about her club’s toughness.

“I don't think that as a whole this weekend we were firing on all cylinders,” Deifel said. “So finding a way to win five of the six was huge. Being down to our last out in the Drake game when things clearly weren't going our way and pulling through to tie it and give us more time to win it, I think was a lot of character.

“I like our fight.”

Wooo Pig Classic at a glance

WHEN Thursday-Sunday

WHERE Bogle Park, Fayetteville

THURSDAY Arkansas vs. Iowa State, 2 p.m.

FRIDAY Arkansas vs. Texas A&M-CC, 3 p.m., Arkansas vs. North Texas 5:30 p.m.

SATURDAY Arkansas vs Iowa State 3 p.m., Arkansas vs. Texas A&M-CC 5:30 p.m.

SUNDAY Arkansas vs. North Texas 12:15 p.m.


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