Photo courtesy of The Maneater
Justin Bjorseth, 23 Sports Reporter
The Missouri Tigers softball team took the field for a doubleheader in Clearwater, Florida, on Friday. The night would mark the seventh split doubleheader this season for the Tigers. Their record sits at 14-11; their failure to sweep doubleheaders against lesser opponents has been the driving factor keeping them close to the .500 mark. They dropped the opener to Ohio State 5-4 in nine innings, but followed it up with a dominating 9-1 win over Rutgers.
It was a rough start for Madi Norman and company, as the Buckeyes would jump out for three runs in the first inning. Mizzou would fight back, however, posting two runs in both the third and the sixth to take the lead going into the final frame. Mizzou’s offense was highlighted by RBIs from Natalie Fleming and Chloe Rathburn in the third, as well as a giant two-RBI single from Braxton Burnside to put the Tigers ahead in the sixth.
The lead did not last long. Down to their last out in the top of the seventh, Ohio State notched a game-tying hit. Despite big time opportunities to push the game-winning run across in both the seventh and the eight, Missouri was unable to produce. Norman, who originally started the game, would eventually surrender the game-winning triple in the top half of the ninth inning. Perhaps the worst part of the triple for the Tigers was the fact that it came on an intentional walk attempt. The bottom half of the ninth saw a Tigers runner get thrown out at the plate for the second consecutive inning. This game was certainly a tough pill to swallow for Missouri and their fans.
The Tigers responded tough, though, in the night cap of the doubleheader. Missouri opened the flood gates early, striking for five runs in the bottom half of the second. Reagan Nash got things going with a two-run double which was followed with an RBI single from Anna Reed. Burnside capped it off with a two-run blast. The long ball was her seventh of the year, which leads the team.
In the following inning, the same players would strike for Mizzou. Nash got the scoring started again, this time with an RBI single. Anna Reed followed with the team’s second home run of the evening, bringing three runs home and extending Mizzou’s lead to 9-1.
Cheyenne Baxter and Danielle Baumgartner combined to allow just one unearned run in five innings of work. The only run that crossed the plate for the Scarlet Knights came via an RBI groundout from freshman Nicole Bowman (Downers Grove, Illinois).
The Tigers have three games remaining in Clearwater, including another doubleheader on Saturday against North Dakota State (11 a.m.) and South Florida (1:30 p.m.).