No. 16 Tigers Ramp Up SEC Action Again with No. 13 Georgia

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MUTIGERS.COM

March 27, 2014

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No. 13 Georgia Columbia, Mo. Fri./6:30 p.m. Live Stats | Twitter | Video
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TIGER TALES - No. 16 Mizzou Softball (23-8, 2-4 SEC) plays host to No. 13 Georgia (29-3, 5-1 SEC) from Friday, March 28-Sunday, March 30, for the latest in Southeastern Conference action at University Field. The Tigers are 2-1 all-time vs. the Bulldogs, with Mizzou owning victories in 1998 (5-1) and 2001 (4-1).

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS - Tiger fans! Tickets for the 2014 Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament (May 7-10) in Columbia, S.C., are on sale through host school, South Carolina.

On sale are all-session booklets covering the four-day tournament. Reserved chairback seats are $60 per all-session booklet, while standing-room only passes are $40. Broken down by session, each ticket covers Wednesday's opening-round games, the midday and evening quarterfinal sessions on Thursday, Friday's semifinals and Saturday's finals.

Fans may purchase tickets online at gamecocksonline.com/tickets, or by calling the South Carolina Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-4SC-FANS (1-800-472-3267).

TIGER TALES (CONT.) - Head coach Ehren Earleywine's squad earned a split with Big Ten foe Illinois in a neutral-site doubleheader in St. Charles, Mo., on Wednesday, March 26. The Tigers yielded the first game, 3-0, before scoring plenty of runs in a 9-6 victory in the night cap. Mizzou was led in the doubleheader by junior 3B/C Angela Randazzo, who batted 4-for-6 (.667) with one double and two RBI. Redshirt sophomore OF Taylor Gadbois recorded a hit in both games to continue her program-best hitting streak to 27 games. Her lone hit in the 9-6 win was impressive enough, a hooking double to left field for the third extra-base hit of 2014 and her career.

• Freshman 3B/2B Natalie Fleming's first career home run in the second game of the Illinois State doubleheader sweep (March 19) was normal. The shot was a deeply driven fly to left field. Her second home run that came in Mizzou's 9-6 win over Illinois on March 26 was not typical, as it was an inside-the-park long ball for the Tiger. Fleming put a sharp, dropping liner into right field, forcing a diving try by Illinois. The ball rolled to the fence and Fleming was home free.

• Mizzou has continued its aggressive strategies on the base paths. Through 31 games last season, the Tigers had just 41 stolen bases, compared to this season's 63-steal total. A big part of the steal surge is assuredly Gadbois' prowess for thievery, with her 27 stolen bases ranking No. 1 in the SEC. The runs total scored by the Tigers' standard Top 3 batters so far in 2014 (Gadbois, Fagan, Crane) is at 72, which is a similar total when compared to last season's typical Top 3 (Crane, Marston, Hudson), who scored 74 runs combined through 31 games.

• The Tigers put together a perfect 6-0 record last week, first sweeping a home doubleheader vs. Illinois State (4-2, 5-0) on March 19, before besting the field in the Mizzou Tournament (March 21-23) with four wins. The Tigers defeated Ball State (11-3 in six innings), North Dakota State (11-2 in five innings), Oklahoma State (2-1) and UMKC (14-0 in five innings).

• Mizzou swept the Mizzou Tournament (March 21-23) at University Field with a multitude of standout performances. Both Gadbois and senior OF Mackenzie Sykes hit 3-for-4 in the victory over Ball State (March 21), with Sykes hitting two doubles to power her way to a career-best five RBI. Sykes followed that up with Mizzou's second grand slam of the season in the win vs. North Dakota State (March 22).

• Mizzou's most exciting win of last weekend came against Big 12 Conference foe Oklahoma State (March 22) during the second day of the tournament. Finucane held the Cowgirls to one run and just three hits while matching her season-best with nine strikeouts in the 2-1 victory. Her final three strikeouts may have been the most impressive, with the Tiger hurler recording the three whiffs consecutively in the top of the seventh with Oklahoma State runners at first base and second base.

• Earleywine is in 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 349 games to run his career total to 495.

THE OPPOSITION - GEORGIA- No. 13 Georgia (29-3, 5-1 SEC) enters the Mizzou series riding hot bats and a strong tandem of pitching. The Bulldogs use a heavy dose of home runs to power their offense, led by Alex Hugo's 13. Five other UGA players have at least five long balls.

• Georgia's Anna Swafford leads the squad in batting average, hitting .410 at the plate with starts in all 32 of the team's games. She is also the Bulldogs' lone stolen base threat, stealing 12 bags in 2014.

• Overall, the Bulldogs are hitting .333 at the plate as a team, with eight regular players batting above the .300 mark. Mizzou's two top hitters, Gadbois (47) and Crane (39), have managed to out-hit UGA's team-leader in base knocks (Wilson, 38).

• Pitching for Georgia is split nearly evenly between Chelsea Wilkinson (107.1 IP) and Geri Ann Glasco (92.1 IP). Both sport stout ERA, with the former holding a 1.30 mark and the latter coming in at 1.44. Wilkinson is holding opposing batters to a .140 batting average, which ranks second in the SEC.


 

 

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