Tigers battle back, shut door on Longhorns in victory Friday

By Anthony Romano, 23 Sports

Friday, February 20

With the game tied 1-1 heading into the seventh inning, No. 18 Missouri (7-2) scored three unearned runs and prevented a comeback in the bottom half of the inning to defeat No. 25 Texas (9-5) 4-3 on Friday. It was the first game of a doubleheader for Missouri on day two of the Mary Nutter Classic.

Paige Lowary improved to 4-0 with the win, as the freshman hurled six and two-thirds innings, giving up one earned run on six hits, three walks, and six strikeouts. The southpaw was credited with the Longhorns’ two unearned runs in the seventh, and the lone earned run came off an RBI groundout with the bases loaded which gave UT the early 1-0 lead.

The Tigers quickly tied the game in the top of the third inning, however, as senior Kelsea Roth reached on an error and was replaced by a pinch runner, Sydney Sprague, who advanced to second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout by Taylor Gadbois. Sprague was able to score on another wild pitch from Texas starter Erica Wright to make it 1-1. The score would hold until the dramatic seventh inning.

With runners on first and second and one out, right fielder Emily Crane hit a chopper down the first base line that was misplayed by Holly Kern, allowing Roth to score from second and Gadbois to score all the way from first as the ball rolled into right field, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Crane advanced to third on the error and scored when junior Sami Fagan ripped a single into left field to make it 4-1.

It was a shaky finish for Missouri, however, as the Longhorns put the first two batters on base with bloop singles in the bottom of the seventh, and after an error loaded the bases, Lowary walked in a run to make it 4-2 with the bases still loaded. The next batter, Lindsey Stephens, singled to left field to score the runner on third and make it a one-run game. After getting the next batter to foul out, Lowary was replaced by reigning SEC Freshman of the Year Tori Finucane, who came in with three runners on base and two outs. On a full count, Finucane induced a pop up to shortstop Corrin Genovese, and the Tigers could exhale after squeaking out a nail-biter.

Missouri managed only four hits in the win, including two off the bat of Gadbois, who also walked and stole a base against the Longhorns. The matchup marked the first contest between the former Big 12 conference rivals since 2012, and Mizzou is now 20-16 all-time against Texas.
Missouri dropped the second game of its doubleheader to No. 12 UCLA later in the evening, 8-0.

The Tigers will wrap up the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California on Saturday against No. 14 Arizona (11-2) at 4:30 p.m.