Feb. 13, 2014
|UAB||Waco, Texas||Fri./12:30 p.m.||Live Stats | Twitter|
|Iowa*||Waco, Texas||Fri./3 p.m.|
|Lipscomb||Waco, Texas||Sat./12:30 p.m.||Live Stats | Twitter|
|Drake*||Waco, Texas||Sat./3 p.m.|
|Baylor||Waco, Texas||Sun./11 a.m.||Live Stats | Twitter | Audio | Video|
|Game Notes: Mizzou | UAB | Iowa | Baylor|
|*games played at Southwestern Region Little League Complex|
TIGER TALES - Mizzou Softball embarks on its eighth season under the guidance of head coach Ehren Earleywine as eight players with starting experience return from the program's sixth consecutive NCAA Super Regional appearance last season. The Tigers head into 2014 with their sights set on a return trip to Oklahoma City and the Women's College World Series. Earleywine led the Tigers to three-straight WCWS appearances from 2009-11.
Earleywine's crew was given preseason rankings of 14th and 17th by the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 and ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 polls, respectively, marking the fifth-consecutive season that the Tigers begin their season ranked in the Top 15.
Power certainly returns in the lineup for the Tigers, with 2013 co-team leader in home runs, junior 1B Kelsea Roth, in the lineup. Junior 3B/C Angela Randazzo is back after leading Mizzou with 47 RBI. Roth's .696 slugging percentage last season ranked as the eighth-best mark in the Southeastern Conference. Senior OF Mackenzie Sykes provides additional pop (7 HR, 12 2B, .578 SLG in 2013).
New, talented pitchers begin their careers with Mizzou this season. High school All-Americans Tori Finucane and Casey Stangel will look to head the pitching department, with support coming from senior transfer Alora Marble. The former SEMO hurler logged 366.0 innings with a 2.79 ERA from 2011-12. Rounding out the group is freshman 1B/P Jordan Zolman.
Two Tigers that figure to play prominent roles at the top of the order, sophomore 2B/OF Emily Crane and redshirt sophomore SS Sami Fagan, both excelled statistically during their previous seasons of competition. Crane put up a .376 avg./.459 OBP freshman campaign in 2013, while the Florida transfer Fagan hit .378/.440 OBP as a freshman at UF in 2012, making the All-SEC Freshman Team.
Earleywine enters his eighth season leading Mizzou and 11th season as a head softball coach with a major milestone within reach. The former Georgia Tech head coach (2004-06) went 146-55 in Atlanta before returning to his home state to lead the Tigers, winning 326 games to run his career total to 472.
The 2014 season will have a new feeling to many who closely follow the program, as ace pitcher Chelsea Thomas and always reliable batters Nicole Hudson and Jenna Marston no longer appear on Earleywine's lineup card. The graduates left lasting marks on Mizzou, with Thomas becoming the first three-time First Team All-American in program history. She claimed three conference pitcher of the year awards (two in the Big 12, one in the SEC). Thomas finished her Tiger career as the winningest pitcher in school history, with a career mark of 111-31, as well as No. 1 in strikeouts with 1,174.
Hudson and Marston were dynamic at the plate throughout their careers and used strong final seasons at the plate to finish in Mizzou's all-time top 10 in career hits, doubles, at-bats, runs scored, RBI and walks. Hudson (143) and Marston (134) rank No. 1 and No. 2 atop the Tigers' all-time walks chart. Hudson finished one home run shy of matching Jen Bruck (2005-08) for the school's career long ball record of 47, while Marston finished second in both doubles (53) and runs scored (193).
Mizzou's 2013 season was another strong push for the program into the postseason. Earleywine's squad posted a sound 38-14 record on the year - all while the weather did not exactly cooperate. Mizzou lost 14 scheduled games to weather-related conditions throughout the season. But once it became time to play the NCAA Tournament, Mizzou felt right at home. The Tigers have hosted four consecutive NCAA Super Regional rounds at University Field in Columbia, Mo., along with five consecutive NCAA Regionals.
Read even more about the entire 2014 Mizzou Softball team in the MUTigers.com preview here.
THE OPPOSITION - The Getterman Classic hosted by Baylor runs from Friday, Feb. 14-Sunday, Feb. 16, and features No. 14 Mizzou, Drake, Iowa, Lipscomb, UAB (RV) and the No. 16 host Bears.
UAB has started the 2014 season with a 1-3 record after compiling a solid 40-19 mark last season, which included a NCAA Super Regional appearance. Head coach Marla Townsend is in her 15th season at UAB.
Iowa (2-2), led by Marla Looper (fourth season) took a split at the Carolina Classic to open 2014. The Hawkeyes dropped a close 1-0 result to the SEC's South Carolina during the event. Iowa sported a 30-24 record in 2013.
Lipscomb (4-0) holds the distinction of being the only undefeated squad entering the Getterman Classic. Head coach Kristin Ryman is in her ninth season leading the Bison.
Drake (0-4) returns seven starters from its 2013 squad that posted a 29-20 record. The Bulldogs are led by head coach Rich Calvert, who is in his 11th season leading the program.
No. 16 Baylor (4-1) is fueled by the arm of standout senior LHP Whitney Canion, who pitched to a 24-9 record last season with a 1.94 ERA. Glenn Moore, Baylor's head coach, is in his 14th season at BU.
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