Arkansas vs Georgia: Hogs Seize Opportunity on National Television with Upset

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photo credit: Arkansas Athletics / Georgia Athletics

Arkansas softball scored their most impressive win of the season on Saturday, by taking down No. 3 Georgia in the series opener during three straight SEC series against ranked teams in a brutal stretch of tough opponents. After losing two of three against No. 16 Mississippi State, the Hogs beat a Georgia team 3-2 that was fresh off a sweep of Ole Miss and has won its last five games. 

This veteran-laden team has hovered in and around the national top five the entire season and Arkansas softball coach Courtney Deifel knows that the experience Georgia brings would be quite the challenge.

“Looking at (Georgia’s) production throughout, they mix the lineup,” Deifel said before the series began. “You can see it on paper, but you also can see it in the eye test of just how they compete against other teams, how they respond when they get down.”

With all three games set to be on national television and against a top-3 team, this is a prime opportunity for the Razorbacks to vault back up the rankings after dipping to No. 20. After that first win, they are essentially guaranteed of staying in to the top 25, likely top 20. But a series win could push them back into the top 15.

Arkansas Pitching Staff On The Mend

The combined duo of Morgan Leinstock and Hannah Camenzind had been two of the staples in the Arkansas Razorback rotation until both struggled against a potent Mississippi State offense in the series finale in a 15-7 run-rule loss in five innings after shutting the Bulldogs out in Game 2.

Softball at its finest.

Camenzind lost command in a nine-run fourth that saw her charged with six unearned runs because of a key error. Leinstock also got tagged with six runs, allowing two homers. Lienstock, however, bounced back some on Saturday vs a Georgia squad that leads the conference in homers.  She threw 66 strikes, but also “he struggled with command at times with 3 wild pitches, 3 walks and 5 hits allowed, but pitched around trouble and stranded 9 runners on base,” as Ethan Westerman wrote.

“She pitched her butt off today and our defense for the most part played really well behind her,” Deifel said afterward.

“The runs they got, we gave to them, and we know that. But to stay the course and trust your stuff, digging in off their lineup for the fourth time through, it just showed a ton of guts and a ton of trust in herself. I’m just really, really proud of her.”

The following was published before the series began:

Deep Georgia Lineup

Count em’ up and you’ll find that all but one of Georgia’s starting nine is hitting over .300. Simply put, there is no easy out in the Bulldog lineup. Only Sydney Kurna owns one of the top 25 batting averages in the SEC, but make no mistake, the conglomerate of hitters makes Georgia one of the most potent offenses.

Georgia softball is second in the conference in both slugging percentage (.585) and OPS (1.010). The two biggest run producers in the lineup are Sarah Moseley, who leads the conference in RBIs (44), and Jayda Kearney, a reigning National Fastpitch Coaches Association First-Team All-American who also leads the team with 12 homers. 

“They are a team that knows who they are,” Deifel said. “They’re incredibly confident because they know they have the ability to change the game in one swing, and we’re playing them at their place with short porches down the line.”

Unique Georgia Bullpen Usage

The Georgia Bulldogs use only three pitchers on SEC weekends, Lili Backes, Madison Kerpics and Shelby Walters all have over 50 innings for the Bulldogs. The lefty-righty duo of Kerpics and Backes both have ERAs right around two and are the perfect one-two punch with one another.

“What you get in all three of them is a really good compliment,” Deifel said. “They utilize the off- speed really well. I think they understand who they are. Adding Backes to that staff was huge,  because she is that lefty. She can cut a curve in on a righty hitter. She can go up and she can use a change in any count, same with Kerpics. Walters throws hard and she attacks the zone and deals her defense.”

How to Watch Arkansas vs Georgia

Dates: Saturday-Monday, March 30-April 1

Location: Jack Turner Softball Park (Athens, Ga.)

TV/Stream: SEC Network / ESPN2

First Pitch

  • Saturday: 11 a.m. CT (SEC Network)
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. CT (ESPN2)
  • Monday: 6 p.m. CT (SEC Network)

Arkansas vs Georgia Stat Comparison

StatGeorgia SoftballArkansas Softball


More coverage of Arkansas softball from BoAS… 

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