FAYETTEVILLE -- Sophomore Mary Haff tied an Arkansas softball record with 16 strikeouts Saturday, including the most ever in relief, as the No. 18 Razorbacks outlasted Furman 6-5 in 12 innings at a rain-soaked Bogle Park.
After surrendering a run in the top of the 12th, Arkansas (29-14, 6-9) manufactured a pair in the bottom of the inning to win it in walk-off fashion. Senior pinch-hitter Sydney Benz lined a sacrifice fly to left field with one out, scoring Kayla Green with the winning run.
"I think our team had a lot of fight in that inning," Razorback coach Courtney Deifel said. "Furman's a really tough team, although their record may not reflect the team that they are. I'm proud of our team for continuing to fight and finding a way to get it done.
"It's just nice to get that last punch."
With the score tied 4-4, Haff (14-9) replaced starter Autumn Storms with one out in the fifth inning. She went the final 7 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits and the solo homer to Furman's Casey Bigham in the 12th. Her 16 strikeouts ties the single-game record set by Heather Schlictman against Marshall in 2004, who did it in 11 innings of a 1-0 Razorbacks victory.
"I didn't really get to warm up before the game, so you just have to go in and work with what you've got," Haff said with a chuckle. "But I felt great and was just working with the umpire's zone. And my defense was just playing great behind me, so they made it easy for me."
Haff struck out the side in three separate innings, including sitting down the Paladins (10-27) in order in the eighth.
"She was phenomenal for us today and just put the team on her back -- basically said, 'I got this until you guys can score,'" Deifel said. "That's what playing for a team is all about, and she was great today."
Arkansas wasted little time heating up the bats in the bottom of the first, as the first three Razorbacks recorded hits. Sophomore Hannah McEwen led off with a single and advanced to third on Danielle Gibson's double. Senior Ashley Diaz then brought both runners home with a single up the middle and a 2-0 lead.
Gibson made in 3-0 in the second with a solo homer over the right-center field fence.
After Furman scored its first run in the top of the fourth, Diaz equaled the task in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single to right, making it 4-1.
Palidin sophomore Marissa Guimbarda quickly evened the score at 4-4 in the fifth with a three-run homer, her team-leading 13th of the season.
Trailing 5-4 heading into the 12th, senior Katie Warrick led off with a single, then advanced to third when Green reached on a Furman throwing error. Junior Sydney Parr's sacrifice fly to left scored pinch-runner Ryan Jackson to tie the score. After Green moved to third on senior Haydi Bugarin's one-out double down the third-base line, Benz blooped a 1-2 pitch to end the game.
SHORT HOPS: Haff, who now has 407 career strikeouts, is the fifth Razorbacks pitcher to ever reach 400. ... All nine hitters in the Arkansas starting lineup recorded at least one hit. ... This was the first-ever meeting in softball between Arkansas and Furman, which is one of four first-time opponents for the Razorbacks this season (UAPB, Campbell, Lipscomb).
ON DECK: Arkansas will host Furman in a doubleheader today, with Game 1 set to begin at 10 a.m.
ON THE WEB: arkansasrazorbacks.com
Sports on 04/14/2019
Print Headline: COLLEGE SOFTBALL Arkansas outlasts Furman in 12 innings