Tigers Look to Return to WCWS

MUTIGERS.COM Coach Ehren Earleywine's Tigers are looking for their second straight Super Regional title
Coach Ehren Earleywine's Tigers are looking for their second straight Super Regional title

May 27, 2010

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The Missouri softball team, ranked No. 8/14 in the country and seeded at No. 9 in this year's NCAA Tournament, have advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round for the third straight season after winning the Columbia Regional this past weekend.  The Tigers have now won six NCAA Regional tournaments overall.  Mizzou looks to advance to the Women's College World Series for the second consecutive year.  After hosting regionals for the second time in as many years last weekend, the Tigers will get to do it again this weekend when they host their first-ever Super Regional, beginning Saturday, May 29.  Saturday's game will take place at 1:30 p.m. CT.  Game two will be at Noon CT on Sunday, with game three (if necessary) being played immediately after at 2:30 p.m. CT.  Fans are encouraged to arrive early and wear gold as the Tigers hope to move on to the World Series once again.

Oregon comes to Columbia after winning the Atlanta Regional, which included two straight victories over No. 8 seed Georgia Tech.  Oregon squeezed by Auburn with a 1-0 victory in game one, which set up an 11-2 beatdown of Georgia Tech in game two, sending the Ducks to the championship.  They'd meet up with Georgia Tech again, where they pulled off a 4-3 win in extra innings to eliminate the Yellow Jackets and advance to the Super Regional round for the first time since 1989.

Overall, the Ducks are 36-19 on the season.  They are just 5-10 in road games, but are 17-4 at neutral sites, combining for a 22-14 record away from Eugene, Ore. 

As a team, the Ducks combine to post a .301 batting average, while three of their starters are hitting over .300.  Allie Burger leads all Oregon batters with a .397 average, while Sam Pappas is right behind her with a .389 batting clip.  Pappas leads all Ducks with 11 home runs this season, and is the only UO player with double-digit long balls.  She's also driven in 48 runs, gets on base over 47% of the time, has a slugging percentage of .654 and leads the team with 11 stolen bases.

Oregon brings in one of the deepest pitching staffs in the country, as all four pitchers on their team get vital time in the circle.  Freshman Jessica Moore has emerged as the prominent starter on the team with her 16-11 record and 1.87 ERA in 29 starts this season.  However, she's also able to come out of the pen when needed, as she's picked up four saves on the campaign, the 10th most in the country.  Moore has set down 232 batters via the strikeout and has walked 66.  Behind Moore are Brittany Rumfelt, Sam Skillingstad and Mikayla Endicott.  Rumfelt is 5-0 in 20 appearances with a 2.73 ERA, two saves and 47 strikeouts in 41.0 innings.  Skillingstad has started 18 games this year and has appeared 28 times, going 11-6 with 117 strikeouts and a 2.77 ERA.  Endicott rounds out the staff, appearing 22 times this season and posting a 4-2 record.

The Tigers and Ducks have met only three times in their history, with Missouri winning two of those matchups.  The most recent meeting came last season at the San Diego Classic, where Mizzou took an 8-7 extra inning victory over the Ducks.  After leading 4-1 into the bottom of the fifth, Missouri suddenly saw themselves trailing following Oregon's five-run inning.  However, two runs in the top of the seventh by Missouri evened the score and sent the game to extras.  The two teams exchanged a run in the eighth to make it 7-7, but Mizzou picked up a run in the ninth and shut the door on the Oregon offense to secure the win.  In 2004, the two teams split a doubleheader in Eugene, Ore., with the Tigers taking game one 8-0 over then-No. 16 Oregon before losing 4-3 in the finale.  This weekend will mark the first-ever meetings between the two teams in Columbia.

Each of the three games scheduled to be played this weekend will be aired on ESPN and at ESPN3.com.  Eric Collins, who currently works for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jennie Ritter, a former Michigan softball great, will have the call.  Live stats for all of the NCAA Super Regional games between Oregon and Mizzou will be provided at MUTigers.com.  KCOU 88.1 FM and KTGR 1580 AM in Columbia will each broadcast all three games.  Postgame notes, quotes and recaps will all be posted to the NCAA Super Regional Central page at the Mizzou athletics website. 

The Missouri softball team went a perfect 3-0 at the Columbia Regional to claim the Regional Championship and advance to the NCAA Super Regional round for the third consecutive season.  After defeating Creighton on opening night, the Tigers picked up wins over Illinois on Saturday and Sunday to take the title.

Missouri almost fell into the loser's bracket right off the bat, as the Creighton Bluejays had upset on their minds. After trailing 2-0 through the first five innings, the Mizzou softball team rallied to post three runs – two of which came on a walk-off double from Catherine Lee in the game’s final at bat – in the final two innings of play to defeat Creighton, 3-2, on Friday (May 21) at University Field. Lee was 0-3 heading into the game’s final at bat but drilled a double off of the centerfield wall to knock in Rhea Taylor and Lisa Simmons. Missouri hurler Kristin Nottlemann earned the win for Mizzou as he kept the Bluejays off the scoreboard in the final three innings of the game while striking out four.

The Tigers then moved on to face Illinois, the No. 2 seed in the Columbia Regional, on Saturday.  Ashley Fleming knocked in two runs on a pair of singles, collecting two of the four Tiger hits as the No. 8 Mizzou softball team defeated No. 18 Illinois in game three of the NCAA Softball Columbia Regional by a 3-1 final.   Mizzou also received a great performance from starting pitcher Kristin Nottleman as she tossed a complete game while allowing only one earned run in the contest. She scattered just seven hits on 120 pitches and struck out eight batters.  The win for Mizzou earned them a spot Regional final, where they'd face off against Illinois again, needing just one win in two chances to advance to Super Regionals for the third straight season.

Mizzou used three runs in the third inning and some miscues from the Illinois defense to claim the 2010 NCAA Softball Columbia Regional with a 4-2 win at University Field on Sunday (May 23). Tiger All-American Rhea Taylor scored a pair of runs and swiped a pair of bags as she sparked each of the Tigers' scoring rallies by reaching base to begin the first and third innings.

The star of the day was Tiger starter Kristin Nottelmann who threw her 13th complete game of the season while scattering just four hits and giving up one earned run while striking out three. She recorded all three wins for Mizzou on the weekend as she improved her record to 22-7 in 2010. The only earned run that she gave up in the championship game was a solo shot to Illinois first baseman Meredith Hackett.

Three softball players from the No. 8 Missouri Tigers were named to the 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region team, as announced Thursday by the National Fastpitch Coaches Associaton.

Junior Rhea Taylor, sophomore Ashley Fleming and freshman Jenna Marston were each selected to the Midwest Region Team, with Taylor claiming first team honors.  It is the third all-region honor for Taylor and first for both Fleming and Marston.



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