April 30, 2014
|No. 6 Alabama||Columbia, Mo.||Thurs./7 p.m. CT||Twitter | Stats | ESPN | KTGR|
|No. 6 Alabama||Columbia, Mo.||Fri./6:30 p.m. CT||Twitter | Stats | MizzouNetwork|
|No. 6 Alabama||Columbia, Mo.||Sat./1 p.m. CT||Twitter | Stats | ESPNU|
ESPN/ESPNU: Pam Ward (PxP), Michelle Smith (Color)
TIGER TALES- No. 13 Mizzou Softball (40-13, 14-7 SEC) continues conference action Thursday, May 1-Saturday May 3 with No. 3 Alabama, including two nationally televised games. Mizzou opens the series on Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN and close the series on Senior Day Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPNU. Friday’s middle-of-the-series contest begins at 6:30 p.m. The Tigers would claim a share of the Southeastern Conference Regular Season Championship with three wins against the Crimson Tide.
• Junior 3B/C Angela Randazzo and freshman P Tori Finucane were the top performers in Mizzou’s doubleheader sweep of Creighton on Tuesday, April 29. Randazzo batted 4-for-5 over the wins (11-6, 2-1), while Finucane tossed a one-hitter in the nightcap victory. It was her third game of her inaugural Tiger season with double-digit strikeout totals, and second consecutive game with 10 strikeouts. Finucane fanned 10 batters in Mizzou’s series-clinching 5-4 win at No. 3 Florida (April 27).
• The Tigers kept their run of SEC success going last weekend at No. 3 Florida (April 25-April 27), taking two out of three games from the Gators to win a fifth-straight SEC series. Head coach Ehren Earleywine’s squad picked up the series-opening win, 5-3 (April 25), before taking the series finale (April 27) by a 5-4 score.
• Mizzou has won 12 of its last 15 SEC games to run its league record to 14-7, which is currently tied for second in the stout softball conference. Alabama, who the Tigers host at University Field this week, sits atop the standings with a 17-4 mark. Tennessee also sports a 14-7 conference record. Three SEC wins would help Mizzou match Alabama in the final regular season standings and force a tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament. Conference postseason action gets underway May 7-10, hosted by South Carolina at Carolina Softball Stadium in Columbia, S.C. Mizzou earned a runner-up finish at the 2013 tournament in its first-ever appearance at the event, played last season at Kentucky.
• Finucane anchored both victories over the Gators (April 25, 27) from the circle and was recognized nationally for her efforts. The Tiger hurler became the second player in Mizzou history to receive both national player of the week honors on Tuesday, April 29 (Louisville Slugger/NFCA & USA Softball), in the same week, joining former ace Chelsea Thomas (March 8, 2011) with that distinction. Finucane has won 10 consecutive decisions (April 4-April 29), with her winning streak matching Thomas for the longest run of success for a Mizzou pitcher. Thomas won 10-straight from Feb 25, 2012-March 21, 2012.
• Two Tigers received conference recognition for their outstanding weeks on the diamond, with junior IF Corrin Genovese and Finucane earning SEC Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, on Monday, April 28. Mizzou became the first SEC program to win both Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week honors in the same week this season. Genovese earned her first career weekly conference honor by batting .462 (6-for-13) to lead the Tigers to a 3-1 week and series win at No. 3 Florida (April 25-27). Her SEC batting average of .466 ranks second-best in the conference. Genovese dropped her first career grand slam on the Gators to help the Tigers clinch the series in the 5-4 win on Sunday, April 27.
• Finucane’s week to gain her recent accolades was certainly impressive. She went 3-0 in three complete games, including her two SEC victories at No. 3 Florida. She limited Mizzou’s opponents to just a .181 batting average at the plate in her 21.0 innings of work. She controlled the Gators in the series-opening 5-3 win on April 25, improving to 7-0 in Friday league starts with a complete game (7.0 IP), four-hit, six-strikeout outing. She then struck out 10 in the series finale on April 27, a 5-4 victory for Mizzou, to earn her 10th victory in conference play.
• Genovese and Randazzo helped lead the way at the plate in Mizzou’s 5-0 shutout of in-state foe Missouri State on April 23. Both Tigers hit 2-for-3, with Randazzo also recording two RBI and scoring two runs with a triple and home run. Finucane pitched the midweek game for the Tigers, allowing just three hits in the complete game (7.0 IP) with five strikeouts.
• Stop, thief! Redshirt sophomore OF Taylor Gadbois leads the SEC in stolen bases with her 44 swipes in 2014. Her 0.85 stolen bases per game (heading into the week) ranked fifth in the nation. Her success this season ranks in Mizzou’s single-season Top 10 for stolen bases, tied for fourth.
THE OPPOSITION - ALABAMA- Alabama (42-9, 17-4) have clinched at least a share of the SEC regular season title heading into the final weekend of action, but run the risk of sharing that trophy with Mizzou (14-7) and Tennessee (14-7).
• The Crimson Tide is led at the plate by Haylie McCleney, who is batting .463 with 10 doubles and eight home runs to her credit. Kaila Hunt is the team-lead in long balls with 11 and is also batting .343.
• UA is batting .326 as a team in overall games, as well as a .320 mark in league play, which are both the top marks in the SEC. Mizzou is third in the conference with its .309 batting average.
• Alabama’s capable pitching staff is headed by Jaclyn Traina, who has pitched to a 19-2 record with 1.65 ERA over 152.1 innings. She is backed up by Sydney Littlejohn (1.51 ERA) and Leslie Jury (2.89 ERA). Jury has logged the most innings of the two, pitching in 118.2 innings and holding a 14-6 record.
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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