Quinn Ritzdorf, 23 Sports

Sunday, February 26—

A day after knocking off No. 7 Washington in thrilling fashion, the Mizzou softball team dropped a pair of tough games on Saturday night at the 2017 Mary Nutter Classic. In the first game of the doubleheader, Mizzou lost to Nebraska 4-1. Then they fell to UC Santa Barbara on a walk-off, losing 6-5. Mizzou finished the Mary Nutter with a 2-3 record.

In game one against Nebraska, the Tigers had no trouble getting the bat on the ball. However, the fine defensive plays of the Huskers allowed Mizzou only one run on two hits, while leaving eight runners on base.

Down 2-0 in the sixth inning, senior Natalie Fleming put the Tigers on the board with an RBI double. Mizzou had multiple opportunities to bring in the tying or game-winning run that inning, but left runners stranded.

Nebraska added two big insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, putting pressure on the Tigers to make something happen. Mizzou was able to put a runner on, but unable to bring her in. Throughout the game, Mizzou left at least one runner on base in six of its seven innings at the plate.

In the second game against UC Santa Barbara, Mizzou jumped out to a quick start, scoring three runs in the second inning. Sophomore Regan Nash earned her first RBI of the season by drawing a bases loaded walk.

The Tigers’ lead was built mostly due to the walks given up by the Gauchos. Mizzou built its lead to 4-0 in the fourth after Fleming was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. UCSB was able to get on the board with a single run in the fifth. However, senior Kirsten Mack got the run back in the sixth with a solo home run.

Mizzou had a three-run advantage in the bottom of the seventh with two outs. The Gauchos were able to put two runners on with a base hit and both runners later scored on a costly error in left field by the Tigers.

With a one-run lead and only one out until victory, Mizzou allowed a walk-off two-run bomb over the left field fence.

Mizzou returns home to Columbia next weekend for its 2017 home opener in their brand new stadium. The Tigers are scheduled against No. 5 Oregon on Friday, March 3.