BLOSSOM FALL IN FIRST ROUND OF GAC TOURNAMENT
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – After winning six games in a row to close the regular season and make the Great American Conference Tournament the season came to an end for the University of Arkansas softball team in the first round against Southern Arkansas Friday. The Blossoms were unable to climb out of an early hole against the Muleriders falling 6-1 at the Tiger Athletic Complex in Bentonville, Arkansas.
UAM finishes the season 15-23 overall and 14-19 in GAC play. The Blossoms made a late-season push to make the conference tournament by winning their final six games including five run rule victories.
In the first round matchup with GAC-rival SAU, Jamie Franks got the start for the Blossoms in the circle.
UAM got the first hit of the contest on a one-out single by Madison Morrissey, but she was left stranded in scoring position.
In the bottom of the frame, the Muleriders managed to get to Franks quickly with a leadoff double and walk to set the table for a three-run home that put SAU in front early.
Following another scoreless frame for the Blossoms’ offense, Maddie Chalenburg took over in the circle in the bottom of the second working a 1-2-3 inning.
The Blossom tried to capitalize on the quick frame by Chalenburg putting two runners on with two outs in the third, but were unable to scratch a run across.
SAU worked the bases loaded with one out against Chalenburg in the bottom of the third before adding two more runs in the frame on a single and an error. Chalenburg limited any more damage by retiring the next two batter to leave the bases loaded.
UAM began to chip away at the five run deficit in the fourth as Summer Perkins set the table knocking a single up the middle. Lauren Stanley came in to pinch run for Perkins and swiped second base to move into scoring position with two outs. Hannah Holdbrook cashed in with a runner on roping an RBI-double into the gap in left center field to put the Blossoms on the board. However, that would be all UAM would get in the inning heading to the bottom of the fourth down 5-1.
Katelynn Stamper led off the fifth with a four-pitch walk before stealing second base. The stolen base by Stamper gave her sole possession of the UAM program record for stolen bases in a career with 56. She was ultimately stranded on base along with Morrissey to end the frame still trailing by four.
Chalenburg returned to the circle for her fourth inning of work when the Muleriders managed to tack on one more run.
The Blossoms attempted to mount a comeback in the final two frame as Caroline Tedder roped a pinch-hit double down the right field line in the sixth before being left stranded at third and Sydney Webster reached on an infield single in the seventh before also being left stranded on base without a run crossing the plate.
UAM ultimately fell 6-1 in its first round matchup against SAU in the GAC Tournament.
Offensively, the Blossoms spread around six hits in the contest while only scoring one run on Holdbrook’s RBI-double in the fourth.
Franks (L, 6-7) took the loss for UAM in the circle allowing three runs on two hits in 1.0 inning of work.
Chalenburg dealt 5.0 innings in relief for the Blossoms giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits while striking out two.
Sydney Wader (8-3) earned the win for SAU pitching 3.0 scoreless innings in relief.
This season UAM made its first appearance in the GAC Tournament since 2017 thanks to its impressive close to the regular season sweeping its final two series.