Tigers Set for Texas Series



April 8, 2010

Complete Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

WHO: No. 7/8 Missouri at No. 16/17 Texas
WHERE: Red & Charline McCombs Field | Austin, Texas
WHEN: Saturday, April 10 - 1 p.m. CT | Sunday, April 11 - Noon CT
LIVE STATS: Saturday | Sunday

Missouri looks to continue their winning ways after a midweek doubleheader sweep over Kansas, as they travel to Austin, Texas, this weekend for a Big 12 Conference battle with the No. 16 Texas Longhorns.  The first game of the two-game set will begin at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 10, while the second game will take place at Noon CT on Sunday. 

Texas comes into the weekend ranked No. 16 in the NFCA/USA Today poll an No. 17 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.  They dropped a midweek game to Texas A&M on Wednesday, falling 1-0 for their first conference loss of the season.  Prior to that, however, Texas had won eight straight games dating back to March 27.  They are coached by Connie Clark, now in her 15th season leading the Longhorns, and assisted by Corrie Hill and Marla Looper, while also getting guidance from volunteer assistant Megan Willis and special assistant Tina Boutelle.

Offensively, the Longhorns are one of the top hitting teams in the entire country.  Their .321 team batting average ranks 14th overall nationally, while they’re ranked 10th in the country with a .551 slugging percentage.  As a team they average 1.46 home runs per game, which is the eighth highest average in the NCAA. Senior Tallie Thrasher leads all Horns hitters with a batting average of .403, and she’s also slugged seven home runs and driven in 20 in just 67 at bats this season.  Junior Shelby Savony’s 10 home runs this season lead the team.  The Longhorns have nine players with at least three home runs this season.

In the circle, freshman Blaire Luna has emerged as a rising star in the country with her performance so far this season.  The righty has stymied hitters all season long, as she’s put together a record of 19-5 with a miniscule 0.88 ERA in 151.2 innings pitched, while also recording four saves.  She’s fifth in the country with 11.9 strikeouts per seven innings, 11th in wins, third in saves, fourth in hits per seven innings (2.64) and sixth in strikeouts with 260 so far this season.  She’s walked just 60 batters and has allowed only 56 hits, limiting opposing hitters to a batting average of just .111.

The Tigers and Longhorns have faced off just 27 times in their history, with Missouri holding a slight 15-12 edge.  The first ever meetings between the two schools came in 1997, with Missouri, ranked No. 12 at the time, sweeping the series with wins of 9-2 and 2-1.  Since 2007, when head coach Ehren Earleywine took over the Missouri program, Mizzou has won five of the seven meetings.  The two losses came by scores of 6-1 in 2008 and 6-2 in 2009.

Last year, Mizzou and Texas opened Big 12 play in Columbia, Mo.  Texas took the first game by a 6-2 score in extra innings, but the Tigers bounced back the next day with an 11-6 victory.  In the second game, Mizzou used home runs from Gina Schneider and Lindsey Ubrun to help lead Kristin Nottelmann to her sixth win of the season as the team improved to 26-4 overall.

Live stats will be provided for both games at mutigers.com.  Various updates will also be provided throughout the games via Twitter at www.twitter.com/mutigersdotcom.

The Tigers continue and conclude their five-game road trip in the middle of next week when they take on two of the Southern Illinois schools.  On Tuesday, April 13, Mizzou and SIU-Edwardsville will play a doubleheader, making up their rainout from earlier this season.  Game one begins at 3 p.m. CT, with game two starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. CT.  The following day, Mizzou will take on the Salukis of Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill., in a single game beginning at 3 p.m. CT.

The No. 7 Missouri Tigers used a come-from-behind, walk-off victory over Kansas in a game one before pummeling the Jayhawks by a 10-2 final in six innings in game two.  The wins improved Missouri’s record to 27-6 on the season, and evened up their conference record at 3-3.  Kansas fell to 16-21 on the campaign, and 0-6 in Big 12 play.

After struggling offensively for the past several games, the Tigers found themselves in a 4-2 hole in the bottom of the seventh inning.  Junior Rhea Taylor got the inning started with a leadoff single through the right side.  She would advance to second on a wild pitch before sophomore Ashley Fleming walked, putting runners on first and second with no outs.  With a 1-2 count, freshman Jenna Marston crushed an opposite field home run deep over the left field wall, giving the Tigers the 5-4 win in dramatic walk-off fashion.  Sophomore Kristin Nottelmann picked up her eighth win of the season, throwing a complete game with five strikeouts.

The dramatic game one victory seemed to light a fire under the Tigers, as they belted out 10 runs on nine hits in the second game.  In the fourth, freshman Nicole Hudson got the offense going with a leadoff double.  After Hudson was pinch-run for by freshman Princess Krebs, junior Shana White reached on a sac bunt and an error by the third baseman, advancing Krebs to third.  Junior Lisa Simmons was called in to pinch hit, and she blasted her first career home run to deep right-center field to put the Tigers up 4-2.  Simmons finished 2-for-3 with the four RBI and a run scored.  Fleming and Hudson also collected two hits each, with Fleming driving in one run and Hudson two.  Senior Jana Hainey (3-0) pitched four innings of relief, allowing just one run while striking out and walking one.

Junior Rhea Taylor has been selected as one of 25 finalists for the 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, as announced Tuesday by the American Softball Association (ASA) of America. 

The award, considered the most prestigious honor in all of Division I women’s softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. 

This season, Taylor is hitting .425, the third best in the Big 12, with two home runs and 14 runs batted in this season.  She’s also scored 26 runs, has ripped seven doubles, tripled once, and has stolen 18 bases in 19 attempts.  Earlier this season, Taylor stole her 111th career base to set a new school record, breaking Julie Link’s record that stood since 1989.  Taylor is the first Top 25 finalist from Mizzou since Amanda Renth was selected back in 2007.

The Missouri softball team announced another addition to their 2010 regular season schedule Tuesday, as they’ll play Missouri S&T on Wednesday, April 21 at 5 p.m. CT at University Field.

The game will be the second game of a doubleheader that day, as the Tigers will take on Evansville at 3 p.m. CT that day.  Last month, Mizzou added a doubleheader with Central Methodist on April 22, 2010, beginning at 2 p.m. CT.

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.

Following a tough home sweep at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowgirls, the Missouri softball team slipped a few spots in both the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls, coming in at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.

Last week, the Tigers ranked No. 4 in both polls, but after a 2-2 week, dropped out of the top-five after being there for five consecutive weeks in the NFCA poll and six consecutive weeks in the ESPN.com poll.  The Tigers have been in the top 10 for 10 straight polls, dating back to the final poll of the 2009 season.

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.

Missouri @ Texas A&M
Saturday, April 24 | 1 p.m. CT | ESPN

Missouri @ Nebraska
Saturday, May 8 | Noon CT | FSN 



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