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PHOTO GALLERY: Arkansas baseball defeats Missouri 6-0 | Whole Hog Sports

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PHOTO GALLERY: Arkansas baseball defeats Missouri 6-0 | Whole Hog Sports


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Arkansas

Another one | Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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Another one | Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 14 University of Arkansas softball team scored seven runs in the first inning and Morgan Leinstock pitched a shutout Sunday to defeat No. 15 Alabama 8-0 in five innings Sunday in the rubber match of the series at Bogle Park.

The Razorbacks (32-12, 11-7 SEC) won their fourth consecutive series, all of which have come against ranked opponents and followed the same pattern — win, loss, win.

Arkansas previously won series over Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina.

“It’s a matchup of toughness,” Arkansas Coach Courtney Deifel said of rubber matches. “It’s a matchup of response. It’s a matchup, for us, a situation we’ve been in winning the series last four times.

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“It’s coming off the loss on Saturday and having to respond and grab the momentum back. … It just continues to show their toughness and their grit and their character. It’s a sport of series and when you win the series and you find a way to win two of the three, it’s huge. And so I’m just really proud of them.”

The Razorbacks recorded their first run-rule victory since winning 8-0 in five innings at Texas A&M-Commerce on March 18.

Alabama (31-12, 8-10) lost its second series in a row and was defeated by the Razorbacks in a rubber match for the second consecutive season. Arkansas took series over Alabama in back-to-back years for the first time.

The Razorbacks scored two runs in the series entering Sunday’s game, but were able to chase Alabama ace Kayla Beaver in the first inning with an onslaught of runs.

Arkansas sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning. The seven runs surrendered by Beaver, a graduate transfer from Central Arkansas, tied her career high and her most this season.

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“She doesn’t have many innings like that,” Deifel said. “She doesn’t have many outings like that. … And it looked a lot of ways. It wasn’t just like we were teeing off: it was a dribbler that we beat out, it was the home run, it was the flare hit, it was the walks and it was not stretching our zones and just doing whatever it took to pass the bat.

“She is a very, very talented pitcher and competitor and we knew that it was going to take a relentless approach to get to her.”

First baseman Bri Ellis began the scoring with a two-run home run deep over the wall in left-center field on the game’s third at-bat. Ellis’ 14th homer, which leads the team and ranks third in the SEC, put Arkansas ahead 2-0.

“I myself knew I had to make an adjustment because I just haven’t really been feeling at my best these past few games,” Ellis said. “I did the best I could in pregame to make any kind of adjustment and just kind of slow it down, do a little less.

“I knew what pitches I was going to get, and I knew that the best pitch I was going to see out of her hand was a screwball or whatever it is she’s throwing on the inside half. I knew that I wasn’t going to have success with the outer-half drop ball so I was letting those go, and after two of those came, I kind of had a feeling I was going to get something inside for a strike. So I was sitting on that pitch and I got it.”

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After a base hit by Kennedy Miller and a pair of walks loaded the bases, Rylin Hedgecock shot a single to right-center field on the first pitch she saw to score two runs. Arkansas extended its lead to 5-0 on the next at-bat when a wild pitch by Beaver scored Raigan Kramer from third base.

Two walks issued by Beaver loaded the bases again for the Razorbacks and forced a pitching change.

Jaala Torrence relieved Beaver. Nia Carter blooped a two-run single off Torrence to shallow left-center field, which was lost in the sun by Alabama shortstop Kenleigh Cahalan and gave the Razorbacks a 7-0 lead.

The big first inning came less than 16 hours after Alabama scored five runs during the fifth inning of Game 2 to defeat Arkansas and even the series. It was an emotional game for the Razorbacks, marred by an apparent missed call that led to Alabama’s big fifth.

“It was an emotional game last night,” Deifel said. “It was a frustrating game and it was a late game. … I know I didn’t sleep much last night with a quick turnaround and just the feel of the game last night. And so for them to show up ready to go, ready to make a statement and ready to respond, it was huge.”

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Leinstock, who pitched nine scoreless innings during the Razorbacks’ 1-0 series opening victory Friday, tossed another shutout. The right-handed graduate transfer from Southern Miss allowed 3 hits, 1 walk and struck out 5 to record her 12th victory.

“She’s a fighter in every sense of the word,” Deifel said of Leinstock. “For her to just set the tone in the first inning, make a statement throughout the game, and our defense have her back … it’s just really special.”

Torrence pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings for Alabama before she was replaced by Alea Johnson to begin the fourth.

A single by Carter and double off the wall in center field by Cylie Halvorson gave the Razorbacks runners in scoring position with one out. Hannah Gammill extended Arkansas’ lead to 8-0 a sacrifice fly heading into the fifth.

Leinstock and the Razorbacks’ defense stranded an Alabama runner at second base in the fifth inning to protect the eight-run lead and enforce a run rule.

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“It’s a game of mindset,” Deifel said. “It’s a game of, ‘How are we going to reset our mindset? How are we going to respond? How are we going to show up when things aren’t going how we want them to?’

“In softball, you have a lot of practice in that. Now this one had a lot more emotion to it, but for them to just start the day new and want to control what we can control — and I keep saying it — I’m just really proud of their response from last night to today.”

The Razorbacks recorded eight hits and drew five walks against Alabama’s pitchers. Carter led Arkansas with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate and tied Ellis and Hedgecock with a team-high two RBI.

Arkansas is scheduled to begin a three-game series at No. 7 LSU at 6 p.m. Central on Friday on SEC Network-Plus.



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Former Arkansas men’s basketball star Bobby Portis is a finalist for NBA Sixth Man of the Year | Whole Hog Sports

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Former Arkansas men’s basketball star Bobby Portis is a finalist for NBA Sixth Man of the Year | Whole Hog Sports


FAYETTEVILLE — Former Arkansas men’s basketball forward Bobby Portis was named a finalist for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award on Sunday. 

Portis, who has been a standout performer with the Milwaukee Bucks this season, averages 13.8 points and 7.4 rebounds.

The other two finalists are Minnesota Timberwolves forward Naz Reid and Sacramento Kings guard Malik Monk, who graduated from Bentonville High School and played for new Arkansas coach John Calipari at Kentucky. The finalists were announced on TNT prior to a first-round playoff game between the Bucks and Indiana Pacers. 

Should Portis win, he would be the second former Razorback to win the award following Corliss Williamson in 2002.

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Portis, who is from Little Rock, led a storied Arkansas career. He was named SEC Player of the Year in 2015, becoming the first Razorback to earn the title since Williamson won back-to-back awards in 1994 and 1995. He was a finalist for national player of the year following his sophomore campaign and was a second-team All-American.

He was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Since then, he has played for the Bulls, Washington Wizards, New York Knicks and the Bucks. 

He won the 2021 NBA championship with Milwaukee.



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No. 15 Alabama Softball at No. 14 Arkansas (Game 3)

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No. 15 Alabama Softball at No. 14 Arkansas (Game 3)


On Sunday, No. 15 Alabama softball (31-11, 8-9 SEC) aims to build on their recent triumph over the No. 14 Arkansas Razorbacks (31-11, 10-7 SEC) at Bogle Park in Fayetteville, Ark. Following a tense series opener in which Arkansas narrowly claimed a 1-0 victory in extra innings, Alabama responded forcefully on Saturday night, clinching a 5-1 win thanks to a decisive fifth inning three-run home run by Jenna Johnson. 

The series, which began on Friday with Razorbacks’ walk-off hit, saw a major shift in momentum in the subsequent game, setting the stage for an exciting continuation. The action will resume at 1 p.m. CT on ESPNU, as both teams look to pick up a crucial conference series victory. 

BE SURE TO REFRESH YOUR BROWSER FOR THE LATEST UPDATES 

Live Updates: 

(most recent at the top) 

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Pregame: 

  • First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m. CT. 

How to Watch: No. 15 Alabama at No. 14 Arkansas 

When: Friday, April 19 – 6 p.m. CT 
Saturday, April 20 – 8 p.m. CT 
Sunday, April 21 – 1 p.m. CT 

Where: Bogle Park, Fayetteville, Ark. 

TV: SEC Network+ (Friday), ESPN (Saturday), ESPNU (Sunday) 

Radio: The Crimson Tide Sports Network on 97.5 FM in Tuscaloosa with Tom Canterbury and Gray Robertson on the call 

Series history: Alabama leads, 65-15 

Last meeting: Alabama knocked Arkansas out of the SEC Tournament quarterfinals as the host team last season. Montana Fouts left the game with an injury, and the Tide won, 3-2 in extra innings. However, the Razorbacks did win the regular season series in Tuscaloosa last season. 

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Last time out, Alabama: The Crimson Tide is coming off a disappointing performance against Texas A&M. After winning the first game of the series at home, Alabama dropped the final two in blowout fashion. The Tide held a late-lead in Game 3, but the pitching and defense fell apart for the Aggies to secure the series win. 



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