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Tigers Host No. 15 Cowgirls

MUTIGERS.COM
MUTIGERS.COM

MUTIGERS.COM

April 1, 2010

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WHO:
No. 4 Missouri vs. No. 15 Oklahoma State
WHERE: University Field - Columbia, Mo.
WHEN: Friday, April 2 - 2 p.m. CT | Saturday, April 3 - 1 p.m. CT
LIVE STATS: Game One | Game Two
LIVE VIDEO: Mizzou All-Access
ADDITIONAL INFO: Kids get free admission to both games with the purchase of an adult ticket.  Following the conclusion of Saturday’s game, an Easter egg hunt for all children 10 and under will be held on University Field.

No. 4 ranked Missouri (25-4, 1-1 Big 12) resumes Big 12 play this weekend, as they welcome the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (30-7, 2-0), ranked No. 15 in the country, to University Field for Mizzou’s Big 12 Conference home opener.  These will be the third and fourth games of the current six-game homestand, with game one beginning on Friday, April 2, at 2 p.m. CT and game two starting at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 3.  Kids get free admission to both games with the purchase of an adult ticket.  Following the conclusion of Saturday’s game, an Easter egg hunt for all children 10 and under will be held on University Field.

SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS
Oklahoma State enters the series ranked No. 15 in both the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls with their 30-7 record.  With their 2-0 record in the Big 12, they are just one of two undefeated teams left in conference play this season.  They have won eight-straight games dating back to March 20, and 16 of their last 17 overall, which includes wins over nationally-ranked Illinois and Louisville.  In their Big 12 opener last weekend in Stillwater, Okla., the Cowgirls swept past then-No. 25 Baylor.  OSU is led by head coach Rich Wieligman, now in his third season with the program, and assisted by Clarisa Crowell and Tom Gray.

As a team, the Cowgirls are hitting .303 collectively, good for 38th in the country, and have posted a combined ERA of 1.91, the 27th-best in the nation.   Their winning percentage of .806 coming into this week is the 18th-best in all of the NCAA, and they are 38th overall in scoring, as they average 5.61 runs per game.

Junior Mariah Gearhart is hitting a team-high .427 at the plate with a .526 on-base percentage and 16 stolen bases in 18 attempts.  Sophomore Julie Ward leads the team with seven home runs to go with her .362 batting average, .460 on-base percentage and .724 slugging percentage.  She is currently third in the nation in doubles per game (0.49), and has 17 total on the season.
In the circle, senior Anna Whiddon and freshman Kat Espinosa handle most of the business for the Cowgirls, as they’ve combined for 33 of the team’s 37 starts and have appeared 44 times total.  Whiddon boasts a 16-3 record with a 2.03 ERA.  She’s thrown 10 complete games, four shutouts and has saved four games.  Opponents hit just .168 off her, and she’s struck out 129 batters in 113.2 innings.  Espinosa ranks fifth in the Big 12 with a 1.53 ERA to go with her 11-3 record.  She’s gone the distance seven times, and has two shutouts.  She’s sat down 90 batters on strikes while limiting hitters to an even .200 ERA this season.

MIZZOU VS. OKLAHOMA STATE
In the 90 previous meetings between the two schools, Oklahoma State holds the edge with 54 wins to Mizzou’s 36.  Recently, however, the Tigers have had more success, as they’ve gone 7-0 since Head Coach Ehren Earleywine took over the program in 2007.  Along with that, Missouri has won 12 of the last 14 overall.

LAST TIME THEY MET
Mizzou and OSU faced off three times last year, with the Tigers winning all of them.  During the regular season, MU swept the Cowgirls in Stillwater, winning game one by a score of 5-3 and game two 6-1.  The two teams met up again in the Big 12 Tournament, where Mizzou picked up a 10-0 run-rule victory in five innings.

FOLLOW THE GAMES
Live stats will be provided for both games, and can be accessed through mutigers.com.  Mizzou All-Access will stream live video of each game for subscribers at mutigers.tv.

WHAT’S NEXT?
The Tigers will conclude their six-game homestand with a mid-week Big 12 doubleheader against Border Showdown foe Kansas.  Games will be played on Wednesday, April 7, at University Field, with game one scheduled for 4 p.m. and game two set to begin at 6 p.m.

HOME DOUBLEHEADER ADDED
The Missouri softball team has added two non-conference games to their 2010 regular season schedule, as announced Tuesday.

The Tigers will welcome in-state opponent Central Methodist to University Field on Thursday, April 22 for a double header.  Game one will begin at 2 p.m. CT, with game two starting at approximately 4 p.m. CT.

TAYLOR BREAKS STOLEN BASE RECORD
In the first inning of game two against SLU on Wednesday, March 31, following a leadoff walk, junior Rhea Taylor stole second base on the first pitch for her 111th career steal, breaking the school record in just two-and-a-half years.  Former Tiger Julie Link held the old record since 1989.  After stealing a school-record 57 bases her freshman year, Taylor swiped 36 more her sophomore year.  So far this season she has 18 stolen bases.  Taylor has been thrown out only eight times in her career, giving her a lifetime stolen base percentage of 93.3%.

MIZZOU SLUGS PAST SLU
The No. 4 Missouri Tigers belted out 17 runs on 20 hits in two run-rule victories over Saint Louis on Wednesday at University Field.  The Tiger pitchers limited the Billikens to just two hits in each game, beating SLU by scores of 8-0 and 9-0 in the two five-inning affairs, respectively.

Sophomore Kristin Nottelmann secured the win in game one, pitching all five innings while giving up just the two hits, no walks and striking out six.  The win pushes Nottelmann’s record to 7-3 on the season, while her ERA stands at 1.83.  The Tigers scored once in the first, twice in the second and fourth innings and three times in the fifth.

Muller got the start in game two, pitching three innings of perfect ball and striking out two for her fourth win of the season.

After advancing to third on Hudson’s single, Taylor would score the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Marston.  A fielder’s choice would score Hudson, putting Mizzou up 2-0 after the first.
Missouri’s offense exploded for six runs on five hits in the bottom half of the second.  After senior Gina Schneider led off with a walk, Taylor reached on a bunt single.  Hudson kept the line moving by singling through the right side, loading the bases, and Marston roped a single to center, giving Mizzou a 3-0 lead.  Fleming was then hit by a pitch to make it 4-0, and following a pitching change, Muller drove the first pitch she say deep over the left field fence for a grand slam, giving the freshman two home runs on the season.

A bases loaded error by SLU in the third gave Mizzou their ninth and final run.  Junior Lisa Simmons pitched the last two innings of the game for her first career pitching appearance.  Simmons allowed no runs on two hits and struck out one.

TIGERS ON TV
The Missouri softball program is currently scheduled to appear twice on major television networks in the upcoming weeks.  Both Big 12 Conference matchups, two Tiger road games will be televised.  The first, being shown on ESPN, pits the Tigers up against the Texas A&M Aggies in the second and final game of the weekend series.  The second televised game is the series opener between Missouri and the Cornhuskers of Nebraska, scheduled to appear on FSN.

Mizzou at Texas A&M
Saturday, April 24 | 1 p.m. CT | ESPN

Mizzou at Nebraska
Saturday, May 8 | Noon CT | FSN