Missouri softball starts fast; downs No.14 Arizona

Ron Davis, 23 Sports

Saturday, Feb. 21

The Missouri women’s softball team closed out the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California, by defeating No.14 Arizona 3-2. The Tigers went 4-1 in the tournament, which included two wins over ranked opponents (Arizona and No.25 Texas). With the win, Mizzou improves to 8-2 on the young season.

Freshman Paige Lowray got the start and did a great job of shutting down a Wildcat lineup that was averaging almost eight runs per game. She went 4.0 innings, struck out two batters, and limited Arizona to just two hits.

Taylor Gadbois started off the game with an infield single, and she swiped her tenth base on the year to get to second. Sami Fagan ripped a base hit up the middle, scoring Gadbois for the first run of the game. A walk loaded up the bases and Amanda Sanchez hit a sacrifice RBI to put Emily Crane home and give Missouri an early 2-0 lead.

Arizona answered back in the third when the leadoff batter reached first on an infield single. A throwing error advanced her to second. With two outs, a ball was shot out to right field and it fell inches past a diving Fagan, scoring the Wildcats’ first run of the game.

Tori Finucane relieved Lowary in the fifth inning, and great defense kept Arizona off the bases. Sanchez made a nice play at third to throw out a runner at first. Finucane threw out the next batter herself after a comebacker bounced her way. She fell behind 3-0 in the count, but popped the Arizona batter up, and Kirsten Mack made an impressive sliding catch to end the inning and keep the game at 2-1.

The Tigers got their insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when California native Angela Randazzo, blasted a solo shot deep over the left field fence to extend Mizzou’s lead to 3-1. Randazzo’s homer was the senior’s 18th of her career.

Randazzo turned out to be the hero in her home state as that insurance run was needed. The Wildcats wouldn’t go away in the top of the seventh. With one out, Arizona hit back-to-back blooper singles to have runners at first and second. The next batter advanced the runners on a sacrifice. Things got worse as Finucane threw a wild pitch, scoring a run.

With the tying run 90 feet away, Finucane settled herself down and forced a pop fly to left field, and the ball was snagged in the glove of Natalie Flemming.

Lowary improved to 5-0 on the season, while Finucane locked up her second save of the weekend. The Tigers move from California to Florida next weekend in the Citrus Classic in Kissimmeee.