April 10, 2014
|at No. 20 Auburn||Auburn, Ala.||Fri./6 p.m.||Twitter | Stats | Video (AU)|
|at No. 20 Auburn||Auburn, Ala.||Sat./Noon||Twitter | Stats | ESPN3 (FSN SportsSouth)|
|at No. 20 Auburn||Auburn, Ala.||Sun./1 p.m.||Twitter | Stats | Video (AU)|
TIGER TALES - No. 16 Mizzou Softball (29-10, 6-6 SEC) heads to No. 20 Auburn (31-9-1, 6-6 SEC) to continue Southeastern Conference action after a doubleheader sweep of Western Illinois (April 9) with scores of 4-2 and 5-0. The wins pushed head coach Ehren Earleywine past the 500-win barrier (501) for his 11-year head coaching career, in which he is in his eighth season at Mizzou. Earleywine won 146 games at Georgia Tech (2004-06) before returning to his home state to lead the Tigers.
Freshman IF/OF Kelli Schkade stepped into the leadoff role for the first time for Mizzou in the Western Illinois doubleheader (April 9) and did not disappoint, batting 4-for-7 (.571). Her day included a career-best 3-for-4 performance in the Game Two win (5-0), with a double and triple. Senior OF Mackenzie Sykes was also tough to beat at the plate, hitting 4-for-5 (.800), with her dual two-hit games bumping her season total to 10. Sykes also recorded one RBI in both victories, adding to her team-leading total of 39.
Freshman P/OF/1B Casey Stangel followed up a strong performance by recently named SEC Pitcher of the Week Tori Finucane (April 7) in the initial game of the WIU doubleheader with a complete game (7.0 IP) shutout in the Game Two win (5-0). Stangel allowed just three hits, recorded three strikeouts and allowed zero walks for the win (13-5).
The Tigers were powered at Mississippi State (April 4-5) by Finucane, who shut down the Bulldogs with an impressive 16 strikeouts over 14.0 innings of work. The freshman pitcher posted a 2-0 record in her two starts with one run allowed. She powered past her previous career-high of nine strikeouts, which she had accomplished three times this season, for 12 strikeouts in the 6-0 shutout on April 4. Her 12 strikeouts were the most for a Mizzou pitcher since April 19, 2013 (Chelsea Thomas at LSU, 13).
A Mizzou-MSU doubleheader was scheduled on Saturday, April 5, to avoid forecasted inclement weather on Sunday, April 6, and Mizzou yielded the initial game to MSU, 9-3. The Tigers rebounded behind the arm of Finucane, who scattered nine hits to allow the one run of the 8-1. Junior IF Corrin Genovese posted her third 2-for-4 performance of the series, recording three RBI with one run scored.
Genovese was just one of the top performers of Mizzou's trip to Starkville, Miss. Schkade hit her first collegiate home run in the 8-1 victory on April 5, adding to a double and triple during the series (in the first and second games, respectively. Schkade batted 4-for-6 (.667) overall vs. MSU. Junior 3B/C Angela Randazzo and redshirt sophomore OF Taylor Gadbois were also solid at the plate, hitting 5-for-10 (.500) and 5-for-12 (.417), respectively.
Mizzou picked up its first Southeastern Conference series win of the season in impressive fashion, defeating No. 13 Georgia in two out of three games (March 28-30) at University Field. A home run barrage in the third inning, four total, helped the Tigers down the Bulldogs, 8-6, to open the series on March 28. One home run was the difference on March 29, with Sykes blasting a walk-off, three-run shot in the bottom of the seventh for a 6-3 victory.
All good things must come to an end. During her 29-game hitting streak that ended last Sunday, Gadbois batted .485, going 49-for-101, with 27 of her 30 stolen bases recorded during the 29-game stretch. Gadbois had 15 multi-hit games during the streak.
THE OPPOSITION - AUBURN - Auburn (31-9-1, 6-6 SEC) has used an impressive approach at the plate to turn heads around the country thus far in 2014, batting .311 as a team with two batters hitting better than .400. Kasey Cooper (.439) and Branndi Melero (.436) lead the way for AU in both batting average and home runs, with the duo with 11 and 10, respectively.
Melero leads Auburn in RBI with 60, with eight doubles. Morgan Estell is the squad's two-bagger leader with 15 to her credit.
Auburn has taken four of its nine losses at home at Jane B. Moore Field. Seven of AU's nine setbacks have also come against ranked competition.
Two pitchers, Lexi Davis and Marcy Harper, have logged the vast majority of AU's innings in the circle, with the two posting 145.1 and 92.0 innings pitched, respectively. Davis has pitched to a 16-7 record with a 2.31 ERA, while Harper has gone an impressive 14-2 with a 3.12 ERA.
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).
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