Senior Day at University Field
May 3, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. – No. 13 Mizzou (41-15, 15-9 SEC) suffered a tough result in nail-biting fashion against No. 6 Alabama (44-10, 19-5 SEC) in front of a second consecutive sold out crowd at University Field. Back-to-back late inning rallies fell short as the Tigers stranded six runners over the last two innings. A pair of early runs thanks to errors was all the scoring the Tide needed to secure the game, 2-0.
Freshman P/OF/1B Casey Stangel (Couer d’Alene, Idaho) was in the circle for the rubber match and after walking two of the first three batters settled down to allow just two hits and one run over the next four innings. Alabama’s Leslie Jury made the start for the Crimson Tide and allowed only two base runners through the first four innings.
Both pitchers relied on their defense behind them to cruise through the opening innings. Senior OF Mackenzie Sykes (Blue Springs, Mo.) made a diving catch in foul territory down the leftfield line in the second inning that sent her over the bullpen wall. Tiger batters hit multiple balls hard and deep to the warning track only to have them tracked down on the run by Alabama outfielders.
Stangel allowed a leadoff walk to start the top of the third inning, a quick steal of second base put the runner into scoring position. The next UA batter singled up the middle on a slow dribbler that scooted past Stangel and junior 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.). On the very next pitch took an errant throw on a steal attempt allowed Alabama to score on the error.
Another run crossed in similar fashion after Stangel allowed back-to-back batters to reach on walks in the fifth inning. Ball four of the second walk resulted in a wild pitch and allowed Alabama to score for a 2-0 lead. Stangel finished the day with a line of 4.1 innings pitched, allowing two unearned runs on two hits while walking five. Freshman P Tori Finucane (Germantown, Md.) entered the game and induced a double play ground out to get out of the inning.
The Tiger offense threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning when freshman 3B/2B Natalie Fleming (Silex, Mo.) led off the inning by reaching on an error. Redshirt sophomore C/OF Carlie Rose (Nixa, Mo.) pinch ran for Fleming and was sent home when redshirt sophomore OF Taylor Gadbois (Maryville, Mo.) singled up the middle, but Rose was thrown out at the plate on a close play to end the inning.
Fagan led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single to center field before Sykes reached and advanced on errors to put runners on second and third for Mizzou with one out. Following a fielder’s choice, junior 3B/C Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.) walked to load the bases but a popout ended the Mizzou threat.
Finucane shut down the Alabama batters the rest of the way, finishing with a line of 2.2 innings pitched, no runs allowed on three hits and one walk while striking out three.
Once again in the bottom half of the seventh inning, Mizzou had runners on second and third before walking sophomore OF Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) to load the bases. A strikeout ended the game and handed Alabama the 2-0 final.
Saturday’s game was of special importance for Sykes and senior pitcher Alora Marble (Jefferson City, Mo.), as they were recognized for their careers at Mizzou with Senior Day festivities. Their mothers were on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitches to start the game and both players were honored postgame.
Next up for head coach Ehren Earleywine’s squad is the SEC Tournament, hosted by South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. The tournament runs from May 7-May 10. Stay tuned to MUTigers.com for more updates.
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