Arkansas softball is the best team on the hill that people aren’t paying attention to. Right now they’re 37-11, 24-2 at Bogle Park, is currently tied for fifth in the SEC, and ranked 16th in the country. The turn around that has happened in Courtney Deifel’s third season has been outstanding.
Arkansas has one series to go (on the road against LSU) and they could hit some major landmarks during it. Right now they are 12-9 in SEC play, and a win would guarantee a winning record in conference play for just the fourth time since the program started in 1997. The Hogs would also hit 38 wins, which would also be the fourth best mark in school history. They also have a very real shot of hitting 40 wins for just the third time in school history and the first time since 2000.
What else have they done this season? Well they swept Ole Miss for the first time since 2001.
They also won a series against Alabama for the first time in program history.
So how have they done it? The pair of freshman Mary Haff (24-4, 1.34 ERA) and sophomore Autumn Storms (12-7, 2.04 ERA) have gotten it done in the circle. Offensively, they’re right in the middle of the pack among SEC teams. They’re 8th in the conference in batting average and 4th in home runs. Where they thrive is making contact, they have the fewest strikeouts in the SEC. The Hogs consistently put the ball in play and put pressure on opposing defenses, or just by hitting the ball out of the park. They don’t have a single hitter that has a monopoly on power, five different hitters have at least six home runs, led by Hannah McEwen’s 10. She’s also a freshman by the way.
This weekend in Baton Rouge will be mostly about seeding for the SEC Tournament, as well as potentially hosting a regional in Fayetteville. Arkansas can go from anywhere between 4th and 9th in the standings. If Arkansas wants to host, they’ll probably need to hit 40 wins at the end of the SEC Tournament. If they can stay above Auburn and Alabama, they’ll have a pretty decent shot at it.
You can watch the softball team all weekend, and the regular season ends on Sunday at 3 p.m. CT on ESPNU.