Photo courtesy of The Maneater
Nathalie Jones, 23 Sports Reporter
No. 24 Missouri softball has not had the stellar start considering their NCAA regional championship last year. That trend continued Sunday as the No. 1 Florida Gators shut out Mizzou in a 1-0 win in Gainesville. The matchup was not high scoring, however, the pitching battle was quite heated.
Despite the Missouri loss, senior Cheyenne Baxter pitched a near perfect game against the Gators. Florida seemed completely lost against the right-handed pitcher. Baxter allowed one run in the first inning, but did not let it happen again as she pitched five consecutive scoreless frames, helping Mizzou stay in the game.
Not much can be said for the offensive end of the matchup, however. The Florida Gators have a top tier pitching program with all-stars such as Kelly Barnhill; the Tigers’ batters never stood a chance. The Gators’ pitcher scattered three hits over the innings and recorded 12 strikeouts off 84 pitches, already Florida’s 15th shutout of the season.
The Tigers were no match for the Gators’ pitching stronghold, as they only recorded three hits. The only Missouri players who managed to break through were freshman Braxton Burnside, senior Natalie Fleming and redshirt junior Anna Reed, all of which were singles.
The one opportunity Mizzou had for a possible comeback came in the sixth inning. Freshman Gabby Garrison attempted to steal second base, but Florida wasn’t falling for that. She was thrown out by Gators catcher Janell Wheaton, bringing an end to the Tigers’ wishful thought of a comeback.
Missouri will look to avenge themselves in the final game of their opening SEC series against Florida. They will play on March 13 in Gainesville at 6 p.m.