May 22, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. – With their backs against the wall, the fifth-seeded Missouri softball team pulled out two straight wins over DePaul on Sunday afternoon, sending the Tigers to their fourth consecutive NCAA Super Regional round with a 7-3 victory followed by an 8-0 run-rule in six innings.
|W - Thomas (27-5)||7.0||4||1||1||0||4|
|L - Dean (11-7)||6.0||9||7||7||4||0|
|MU - Taylor||4||2||2||4||0||1|
|MU - Vock||3||2||2||1||0||0|
|W - Thomas (29-6)||6.0||0||0||0||1||4|
|L - Verdun (22-4)||3.0||3||3||3||1||2|
|MU - Taylor||4||2||3||2||0||1|
|MU - Fleming||4||1||1||2||0||1|
Missouri will host No. 12 seed Washington in the NCAA Super Regional round. Dates and times of the next week’s games are still to be determined. This will mark the second straight year that the Tigers have hosted the best-of-three Super Regionals.
No. 4 Mizzou 7, DePaul 3
DePaul scored the first run of the game in their first at bat, taking advantage of a leadoff double by Alex Morocco. Morocco hit a little blooper that landed right on the left field foul line and spun into the corner. Sean Plese then hit a grounder back to the circle that Thomas fielded cleanly, but Plese legged out a fielder’s choice after Thomas looked to third for a putout. Kirsten Verdun drove in Morocco on groundout to shortstop, giving DePaul the early 1-0 edge.
The Tigers loaded the bases with just one out in their half of the first inning but squandered a major opportunity, leaving the bags full without putting anything on the board. Jenna Marston led off the game by walking on four pitches and moved to second on a groundout. Nicole Hudson then hit a line drive back up the middle off the pitcher to put runners on the corners, and Hudson promptly swiped second to put a pair in scoring position. After working a full count, Ashley Fleming was hit by a pitch, but DePaul’s Lindsey Dean got a pop out and a fly out to center to keep Mizzou off the board.
Missouri kept the pressure on in the second and immediately broke through with a four run inning to take the lead. Lisa Simmons led off the frame by roping a single down the line in right field. Megan Christopher then laid down a bunt and beat it out with no one covering first. On the play, Dean threw it into right field, allowing Simmons to take third. Brianna Corwin came in to pinch run for Christopher and swiped second base, and Abby Vock came through with an RBI single into left, plating Simmons and moving Corwin up to third. Vock then stole second base to put a pair in scoring position again, and two batters later Rhea Taylor lined the first pitch she saw over the wall in right field for a three run homer, making it 4-1 Mizzou. That was Taylor’s first home run since March 2 against Drake, and her third of the season.
Another run in the fourth for the Tigers made it 5-1, as Taylor plated her fourth RBI of the game. Vock led off the inning with a single into right-center, and then swiped her second bag of the game to get into scoring position. After moving to third on a groundout, Taylor hit a grounder to the right side, allowing Vock to touch the plate.
After five innings, Missouri went to the bullpen and brought in Kristin Nottelmann to relieve Thomas. After three straight hits cut the deficit to 5-2 and kept a pair of runners in scoring position with nobody out, Missouri went back to Thomas. She got the first batter out by strikeout, but another run scored on a fielder’s choice play at the plate, making it 5-3. Thomas was able to avoid any further damage to the Missouri lead by getting a pop out and a ground out back to the circle to maintain the Mizzou lead.
The Tigers were able to get those runs back in their half of inning, showing impressive patience at the plate. With one out, five straight Tigers reached base safely with two runs scoring during that span. Marston took a walk, Taylor beat out a bunt single back to the pitcher and Hudson followed with another walk to load the bases. Fleming then picked up an RBI on a base on balls of her own, and Marla Schweisberger came through with a base hit into left, plating another and making it 7-3.
Thomas allowed a leadoff infield single in the seventh, but settled in and shut the door on DePaul by getting a line out, ground out and a strike out from the next three batters to force a decisive game seven.
Thomas improved to 28-6 on the year with the victory, as she gave up one run on four hits while striking out four. Taylor, Simmons and Vock all collected a pair of hits, while Taylor led the way with four RBI.
No. 4 Mizzou 8, DePaul 0 (6 inn.)
A wild top of the first inning opened the championship game, but Mizzou was able to emerge with a couple of runs to take the early 2-0 lead. Taylor appeared to leg out an infield grounder to start the game, but the ump said the DePaul first baseman was able to lay the tag on her in time. After Marston walked, Hudson hit a ball that deflected off the glove of the first baseman and hit Marston as she was advancing to second. The umpires called Marston out on the play, but Fleming came through with a two run bomb to right-center field, giving the Tigers an early edge.
The homer was Fleming’s fourth in the past eight games and 14th of the season, tying her for eighth-most in a year at Missouri. Fleming also became the fourth Tiger in program history to reach 60 RBI, as she’s now tied with Amanda Renth for third-most in a season and just five shy of breaking the school record.
Missouri put the first two batters aboard in the top of the third which led to another run, extending their lead to 3-0. Taylor reached on an infield single and then stole second base ahead of Marston, who got hit by a pitch. Taylor took third on a deep fly out by Hudson, and after Marston stole second base, a wild pitch brought Taylor in.
A clutch two out double by Maddison Ruggeberg in the top of the fifth extended the Missouri lead to 5-0. Ruggeberg drove in Marston, who singled, and Hudson, who walked. Marston singled behind Taylor, who led off the inning with a double, but Taylor was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play. After Ruggeberg’s double, Mackenzie Sykes came in and delivered a pinch hit single into left, bringing home pinch runner Brianna Corwin on the play to make it 6-0.
Thomas took a perfect game into the bottom of the fifth inning, when she issued a two out, full count walk to Marla Mathews, giving DePaul this first base runner of the game. Thomas worked out of it though, getting Megan Coronado striking out looking to end the inning.
Taylor’s second home run of the day in the top of the sixth inning iced the game for the Tigers, as she delivered the decisive blast with one out in the inning. After entering the weekend with just two home runs on the season, Taylor matched that total on Sunday.
From there, Thomas shut the door on the Blue Demons, getting two groundouts and a line out to finish off her fourth no hitter of the season, facing just one over the minimum. She struck out four batters and threw just 69 pitches, moving to 29-6 on the season.
Mizzou will now wait and see when they’ll play the No. 12 Washington Huskies. Dates and times should be announced later tonight. Stay tuned to mutigers.com for more information.
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