FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - No. 4 Arkansas inched itself one game closer to Oklahoma City after an emphatic 7-1 win over No. 18 Texas Saturday night at Bogle Park. The victory also marks the first Super Regional win in program history.
"Tonight was a huge team win," said head coach Courtney Deifel. "Chenise (Delce) was exceptional tonight. I thought our defense was really, really tough, and our offense was relentless. We continued to put pressure on them and pass the bat."
Junior RHP Chenise Delce (19-2) displayed why she was tabbed SEC Pitcher of the Year, tossing a six-hit gem with six strikeouts and restraining the Longhorns to six scoreless frames. The Longhorns had a leadoff batter reach five different times, but Delce remained unfazed and curbed each scoring threat until Texas avoided the shutout and scored its lone run in the seventh. Working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, Delce issued a strikeout and ground out to Audrie LaValley at second to keep the hot-hitting Longhorns scoreless.
The Hogs outhit Texas at a 12-6 clip. Four different Razorbacks filed multi-hit nights.
The momentum shifted in favor of Arkansas in the fifth after Delce and the Razorbacks worked out of the jam. The Hogs broke the 0-0 ballgame in the bottom frame on the crack of sophomore Hannah Gammill's bat, who rocketed an RBI single to left to grant a 1-0 lead. All seven of Arkansas' runs were scored in the fifth and sixth.
Gammill shined bright on the big stage. The Beebe, Ark., product tied her career-high in hits after slashing three to go along with two RBIs and a run scored. Senior Hannah McEwen pounded three hits, including a double, with two runs scored. Senior Linnie Malkin went 2-for-3 with an RBI, run scored and walk. Graduate Taylor Ellsworth also had two hits.
Arkansas improves its record to 48-9 and 7-0 in the postseason.
How It Happened
Both teams placed a leadoff batter on through the game's first 2.5 frames, but the game remained scoreless until the fifth.
Arkansas' scoring threat initiated with McEwen's double to center. Ellsworth laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher and advanced McEwen to third. Gibson was intentionally walked, placing runners at the corners with one out. Gammill manufactured the game's first run on her RBI single to left. Malkin followed suit with her own single to center, which loaded the bases for freshman Kacie Hoffmann. Applying pressure to Texas, Hoffmann's dribbler to first resulted in a Longhorn throwing error back to home, allowing Gibson and Gammill to score and broaden the lead to 3-0.
McEwen began the sixth with a single to third. Ellsworth then ripped a single to center to move McEwen into scoring position. After Gibson's fly out to right sent McEwen to third, Gammill waited on an offspeed pitch and plummeted it to right for an RBI single, which plated McEwen. Malkin followed, torching an RBI single to left and scoring Cally Kildow. Again on Hoffmann's bat, Arkansas tagged on two more runs on a throwing error and stretched its lead to 7-0.
Texas escaped the shutout after tallying a run in the seventh.
- Chenise Delce registered her fourth-consecutive complete game and 14th of the season
- Delce dealt six strikeouts and six scoreless innings
- Arkansas picked up its first-ever Super Regional victory
- Hannah Gammill and Hannah McEwen each went 3-for-4
- The Hogs combined for 12 hits - the most hits in a Super Regional in program history
- The Razorbacks outhit Texas at a 12-6 clip
Quoting Hannah Gammill
RE: Program's First Super Regional Win
"It just sets the tone for us. It shows us and gives us the confidence while applying pressure on the other team. It's really huge to win the first one."
RE: Batting After Danielle Gibson
"I didn't really think too much about Gibby (Danielle Gibson) getting intentionally walked. She is a great hitter, so I would've done the same thing. I told myself I was made for this moment. That's what I always tell myself. I take it one pitch at a time. I didn't overthink it, and I knew I was going to get a hit and pull through."
Quoting Chenise Delce
RE: Fifth Inning
"I had to put my stuff against their stuff. I'm really confident in my stuff. I tell myself to keep throwing, and I'll probably get good results. I had to focus on hitting my spots, so I feel like that's what worked."
Game two between Arkansas and Texas is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday on ESPN2. The Razorbacks need one win to punch their first-ever trip to the Women's College World Series.