Oct. 1, 2007
Columbia, Mo. -The Missouri softball team opened its fall schedule with back-to-back shutouts Saturday, Sept. 29 at University Field. Blanking Jefferson College, 12-0, in game one, Missouri tacked on another double-digit win, 13-0, over Butler County Community College.
Senior right-handed ace Jen Bruck (St. Peters, Mo.) and junior transfer Stacy Delaney (Freeland, Mich.) both threw no hitters in their game. Bruck threw a complete seven inning game against the Vikings as did Delaney, who begins her first year at Missouri after spending two at the University of Michigan.
"Our pitching is in much better shape than last season," Earleywine said. "Jen Bruck is healthy and throwing well. Left-handed sophomore Jana Hainey had a tremendous second half of the season last year and will transition well into her second season with that experience and confidence. Transfer Stacy Delaney is a great addition to our staff as she features a true rise, drop, and change. She throws all three in any count and has great mound presence. I think she is going to be an impact player for us."
Led offensively by freshman Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga.) in game one, the newcomer managed a 67 percent on-base percentage and stole four bags on the afternoon.
Seniors Micaela Minner (Sanger, Texas) and Amanda Renth (Mascoutah, Ill.) proved still powerful at the plate, blasting back-to-back home runs in game two against Butler. Currently, the senior duo has combined for 55 home runs with Minner standing at second in the career home record book with 32 to her name. (Fall statistics do not count toward career statistics).
Local outfielder Shana White
(Columbia, Mo.) also helped spark Missouri's offense in the second game of the afternoon. With speed on the bases, White was credited with several stolen bags.
"I really like the balance of this team," Earleywine said. "It's an impressive blend of power and speed. We have some great power hitters returning in the heart of our lineup like Bruck, Renth, and Minner and newcomer/transfer Lindsey Ubrun should put up some strong power numbers as well. A couple of the newcomers will add tremendous speed options to our lineup as well. Freshman Rhea Taylor and Shana White both have track speed and if they continue to develop their game like they have so far this fall, they will be extremely difficult to defend this spring."
Right now, there is a lot of competition for starting positions and quite a few players are making good cases for themselves. It will be interesting to see who makes the necessary adjustments to improve and how it will all unfold when it counts this spring.
As important as anything is our team unity. With 10 newcomers that high number had the potential to be a problem. However, this group is very close already and will only continue to unite as the season progresses. I attribute a lot of that cohesiveness to our newly implemented character/team building program and the director of it, Ken Lumley. Ken has done an excellent job with directing and leading the team through that program and I'm confident that will be a difference-maker for us this season."
Missouri will continue fall ball with a Noon game against Crowder on University Field. Admission is free.