FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas No. 10 earned his fourth Razorback Invitational win after going 13 hits to defeat Western Illinois 13-3 (5 Inns) on Sunday at Bogle Park. The Razorbacks lost to Illinois, 8-6, in their first game of the day.
Senior Taylor Ellsworth ignited Arkansas offensively against the Leathernecks, going 3 for 4 with three RBIs, two runs scored, a double and a three-run outburst that towered over the left field wall in the fourth. Senior Danielle Gibson provided another offensive spark for the Razorbacks after going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a double. Senior Hannah McEwen also put on a remarkable game at the plate with a 2-on-3 performance that included three runs scored, an RBI and a double while drawing a walk. Senior KB Sides showed off their offensive prowess after recording three stolen bases while going 1 for 2 at home plate and drawing two walks to the starting spot.
Senior Chenise Delce picked up her second win of the year after getting the nod in the circle against Western Illinois. In three innings of work, the Oklahoma City, Okla., native had four strikeouts and walked zero. Sophomore Lauren Howell pitched the final two innings, allowing no hits and striking out two.
How did it happen
McEwen led Arkansas offensively against the Illini after hitting twice, including a homer to center in the third, with two runs and an RBI. Sides stuffed their stat line after going 1 for 3 with a home run, three stolen bases, two runs scored while forcing a walk. Junior Sam Torres had two hits for eighth. Ellsworth, Gibson and Gammill also recorded one hit per track.
Sophomore Jenna Bloom started on the mound for the Razorbacks in Game 1. In three innings, Bloom allowed two runs on five hits and allowed just one extra hit. Senior Mary Haff pitched the last four innings and posted five strikeouts.
In Game 2, Western Illinois jumped the board in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead. Arkansas responded late in the inning. First, Sides walked and then continued doing what she does best flying second. Ellsworth’s single down the left side moved Sides to third. Gibson took over, throwing a double RBI left and moving Ellsworth to third. Gammill followed up the inning with a walk to load the bases. Torres followed with a two RBI double down the middle to give Arkansas a 3-2 lead. Audrie LaValley’s sacrificial fly at center sent Gammill home for a 4-2 Razorback lead to close out the first frame.
Arkansas worked in the top half of the first inning, clinching a quick 1-2-3 inning. Teams started by selecting short, then stole second place a few pitches later. McEwen followed with a walk to put the runners first and second with no outs. Sides then stole third and continued home on a throwing error from Illini, which sent McEwen to second. Ellsworth doubled on the left to slide McEwen to third before a passed ball tackled McEwen to make it 5-2.
Western Illinois responded with a run in the top of the third.
A walk from LaValley before a short single from Delce put a runner in position to score without out. The sides walked to load the bases. McEwen continued his hot streak with a short hitting single that tackled LaValley. Ellsworth’s pick of a fielder on the ball to the shallow left pushed Sockey through the house for a 7-2 lead. Gibson’s single down the right side gave Arkansas another run in the third.
Freshman Kacie Hoffman threw a solo shot to the center to start the fourth. After Hoffman, LaValley chose right center. McEwen kept the inning alive with a two-out double down the right field line. Shortly after, Ellsworth sent a three-run homer to the parking lot to give Arkansas their final runs of the day and secure a 13-3 victory in five innings.
- Senior Mary Haff recorded her 689th strikeout, moving her closer to the 700 mark
- Senior KB Sides became the first Arkansas player to steal three bases in one game since Shelby Hiers did so against Marist on Feb. 21, 2015.
- The teams had an exceptional weekend on the base path, recording 10 interceptions in five games
- Six different Razorbacks hit home at the Razorback Invitational (Gibson, Gammill, Ellsworth, Hoffman, Sides and McEwen)
- Head coach Courtney Deifel earned victory No. 197 at Arkansas
- The Razorbacks compiled a .976 field percentage over the weekend
- Arkansas hit multiple homers in four of five games over the weekend
Arkansas hosts Louisville Thursday at 5 p.m. before hosting the Wooo Pig Classic Feb. 25-27.