COLUMBIA, Mo. – Behind a complete-game effort from freshman Mary Haff, the 18th-ranked University of Arkansas softball team snapped an eight-game skid in SEC Tournament play with Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over No. 19 Kentucky in the first round of the conference tournament.
With the win, Arkansas (38-14) advances to Thursday’s quarterfinal to face No. 2 seed and eighth-ranked Georgia.
Down a run and after stranding runners in each of the first two innings, the Razorbacks got on the scoreboard with two runs in the bottom of the third. Freshman Hannah McEwen led off the frame with a base knock through the left side. On the next play, an errant throw to second for a would-be force out rolled to the wall which allowed McEwen to score the tying run and Autumn Buczek to move up to third.
The senior infielder hustled down the line on a wild pitch to score the go-ahead tally.
With the run, Buczek crossed the plate for the 100th time in her career and is now tied with Chloe Oprzedek (2011-14) for seventh on the program’s all-time list.
After Haff worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth inning, Arkansas tacked on a third score in the home half of the frame.
Ashely Diaz lined a single to left field and pinch runner Carley Haizlip moved up to second into scoring position on a wild pitch.
Haizlip came around to score an insurance run on an errant throw to first on what would have been the third out of the inning.
Kentucky (31-19) threatened again in the top of the seventh inning.
After a lead-off double to left, a two-out walk put runners on first and third.
The Wildcats sent the runner from first but the throw down to second from freshman catcher Kayla Green resulted in a rundown that ended with Ashley Diaz applying the tag on the runner attempting to dive back to the bag.