By: Mark Stanley
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri Tiger softball team played well in both games of a double header at University Field Wednesday afternoon. The Tigers won both games in 6-0 shutout fashion over the Western Illinois Leathernecks.
The first game was marked by excellent hitting, as well as aggressive baserunning by the Tigers. Mizzou had five total stolen bases, as well as an overall batting average of .379, while they also hit .412 with runners on base, .500 with runners on third and fewer than two outs, and .500 on advancement opportunities.
In the bottom of the first, Chloe Rathburn grabbed an RBI off of a fielder’s choice to score Regan Nash from third. Later, Emily Crane tripled to left field to gain two more RBIs through Sami Fagan and Raiman Cohen. Later on in the inning, Amanda Sanchez doubled to center scoring Crane. The Tigers led 4-0 after the first inning.
Moving to the bottom of the second, Fagan doubled to center field scoring Taylor Gadbois to make it a 5-0 Mizzou lead. Then in the bottom of the fourth, Rathburn had an RBI sacrifice fly scoring Natalie Fleming to cap the lead at 6-0 as Mizzou coasted to a shutout.
Mizzou had six runs on 11 hits and one error as they improved to 16-4 on the season and prepared for game two of the series.
The second game of the double header was much more of the same. Although hitting was not as frequent as the first game, the Tigers still had no issue scoring just as many runs. Mizzou posted a .375 average with runners on base and recorded three steals. Rylee Pierce led Mizzou in batting going 1-for-2 with a home run and 2 RBIs.
In the bottom of the first, Rathburn singled to center field this time to score Nash from third, and then Crane notched a sacrifice fly to center field to score Fagan. The very next batter, Pierce, smashed a two-run shot over the left field wall to add two more runs to Mizzou’s lead. It was Pierce’s fifth home run of the season. After the first inning, the Tigers once again held a 4-0 lead, mirroring the score of the first game after the first inning.
Moving to the bottom of the second inning, Fagan singled to center field notching an RBI by scoring freshman pinch runner Chase Nelson. One inning later, junior Kirsten Mack hit a sacrifice fly out to left field, which was enough to score Pierce from third. Although the bats seemed to go silent after that point, the 6-0 lead that inning gave Mizzou was all the Tigers needed to grab another win and sweep the two game series against the Leathernecks.
The Tigers outscored Western Illinois 12-0 over 14 innings. With those two wins Mizzou improved to 17-4 on the season, and will be set to go back on the road to Las Cruces, N.M. to take on the New Mexico State Aggies in a three-game series that includes a double header. First pitch of that series is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, then 6 p.m. for game two, then 3 p.m. the next day for game three.