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Arkansas softball clinches second straight SEC regular season title

The Razorbacks won the SEC regular season championship Sunday afternoon.
The Razorbacks won the SEC regular season championship Sunday afternoon.(Razorback Athletics)
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 7:05 PM CDT
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There couldn’t have been a better ending to senior day at Bogle Park Sunday afternoon.

No. 5 Arkansas shutout South Carolina, 8-0 (5), to claim its second-straight SEC regular season title while capturing its third conference sweep of the season. The Hogs clinch at least a share of the 2022 SEC regular season title and will look to earn it outright at Texas A&M on May 6-8.

Senior RHP Mary Haff (16-3) got the green light on the mound, twirling a three-hit shutout before receiving a long and loud standing ovation as she passed reigns over to junior RHP Chenise Delce for the game’s final out. An already cemented figure in program history, Haff turned in yet another outstanding performance in the circle, curbing the Gamecocks to just three hits while striking out six en route to her second win of the series. The Winter Haven, Fla., product also allowed zero extra base hits.

“It was an incredible experience to be able to celebrate this moment at home on senior day,” said Haff. “Having all of my other seniors with me made it a special day.”

Fittingly enough, the Hogs’ senior class shined all day. Taylor Ellsworth had a perfect day at the plate, tying her career-high in home runs with two while piling on four RBIs. Hannah McEwen went 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs and a run. KB Sides laced a leadoff double and a sac fly. Danielle Gibson also punched a base hit and added an RBI. Linnie Malkin, Audrie LaValley and Marlene Friedman recorded a hit apiece.

Arkansas improves its overall record to 39-8 and a league-best 17-4 in conference play. The Hogs are one of four conference schools to win back-to-back regular season championships (LSU, Florida, Alabama and Arkansas). After clinching the series against South Carolina Saturday, the Razorbacks have now won eight-straight SEC series and remain the only conference school to not drop a series during the 2022 season.

In three commanding performances, Arkansas outscored South Carolina at a 28-4 clip while outhitting the Gamecocks 31-11. The pitching duo of Haff and Delce posted two shutouts and dealt 24 strikeouts in 16.1 innings across three games.

How It Happened

Ellsworth casted her first home run on a two-run shot to left to grant a 2-0 lead in the first.

The Hogs added another run in the third off Gibson’s bat, which prompted a South Carolina fielding error and allowed Friedman to score.

Sides extended the lead to 4-0 in the fourth on a sacrifice fly to plate Sam Torres from third. McEwen followed suit with a two-RBI triple to push the lead to 6-0. Arkansas got its final two runs off the crack of Ellsworth’s second two-run home run of the day.

Hog Highlights

  • Arkansas clinched at least a share of the 2022 SEC regular season title and will look to win it outright at Texas A&M on May 6-8
  • Mary Haff recorded her second win in as many days and 16th of the season
  • Haff registered her 93rd career win
  • Taylor Ellsworth tied her career high in home runs with two
  • Ellsworth has tallied three games with two home runs during the 2022 season
  • Haff and Delce tossed two shutouts against the Gamecocks
  • The Razorbacks have won three-consecutive series vs. South Carolina
  • Linnie Malkin has reached base in 20-consecutive games
  • All five seniors in the starting lineup notched a hit

Up Next

Arkansas travels south to College Station, Texas, for a three-game set against the Aggies to close the 2022 regular season on May 6-8. Friday’s first pitch is set for 6 p.m. on SEC Network+.

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