Four-Run First Catapults No. 10 Arkansas to Series Sweep
ATHENS, Ga. – Behind a four-run first inning, the No. 10 Arkansas softball team recorded its fifth SEC series sweep of the season, defeating No. 20 Georgia, 5-2 at Jack Turner Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Razorbacks (36-5, 16-2 SEC) are in first place of the SEC standings with six league games remaining.
How it Happened
For the second straight game, Arkansas gave its starting pitcher, Jenna Bloom, a lead before she took the circle as the offense exploded for four first inning runs all via the long ball. Infielder Braxton Burnside slugged her 22nd blast of the year, moving into a tie for the eighth-most homers in a single-season in SEC history, to left giving the Hogs a 1-0 lead. Outfielder Hannah McEwen singled through the left side and infielder Danielle Gibson walked, setting up catcher Kayla Green’s three-run bomb that she snuck down the left field line. Green homered for the second time this series and sixth time in her last seven games.
Georgia (27-11, 6-9 SEC) immediately got a run back in the home first on Savana Sikes’ leadoff homer to left, making the score 4-1. After a scoreless second, the teams traded solo shots in the third, with McEwen’s fourth tater of the year going deep into the trees beyond the right field wall, and Sydney Kuma’s shot to right center, bringing the score to 5-2.
Relief pitcher Autumn Storms entered to start the bottom of the fifth and allowed two runners to reach with only one out but induced a 6-4-3 double play to escape the jam. The Bulldogs threatened in the bottom of the seventh, singling with one out. Pitcher Mary Haff entered after the knock and recorded a strikeout and a flyout, ending the game.
Bloom allowed two runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 4.0 innings. Both runs she allowed came on solo homers. Storms tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief with a strikeout, and Haff notched her team-leading fifth save of the season. Georgia starter Alley Cutting could not escape the first inning and allowed four runs on three hits and a walk. Mary Wilson Avant worked the final 6.1 innings and allowed one run on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.
The Razorbacks hit three home runs, totaling three or more long balls in a game for the 11th time this season and the second time this weekend. McEwen logged three of the team’s eight hits and is one hit away from reaching 200 for her career. Outfielder Aly Manzo also reached base three times, going 2 for 3 with a single, a double and a walk.
Arkansas steps out of conference action to play its last home mid-week game of the season at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, against Central Arkansas. The game concludes a home-and-home series between the in-state school after Arkansas won the first meeting, 4-1, in Conway on March 9.