Posted: May 5, 2013 7:15 PM
Updated: May 6, 2013 9:28 AM
COLUMBIA - No. 11 Mizzou softball was powered past No. 4 Tennessee for the series win on Senior Day by Nicole Hudson, who hit two home runs for six RBI and pitched the complete game (6.0) in the six-inning, 12-8 win on Sunday at University Field. The senior's second long ball of the day was a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning, the second hit of a 2-for-3 batting performance. Freshman 2B Emily Crane also came up big for Mizzou, batting 2-for-2 with two walks, while senior catcher Rachel Hay hit her fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning.
The Tigers improved to 33-10 and 15-8 in Southeastern Conference action with the win, while the Lady Vols dropped to 43-9 (16-6 SEC) with the loss. Mizzou previously took the Friday, May 3 game, a 2-0 victory that was the 11th career no-hitter for senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas.
Hudson started off hot for the Tigers in the bottom of the first, homering to right field to give Mizzou a 2-1 lead. The two-run shot scored freshman 2B Emily Crane, who previously walked. Tennessee notched a top of the first run from a solo home run from Lady Vol second baseman Lauren Gibson.
Twelve total runs were scored in the second inning, with both the Tigers and Lady Vols scoring six runs each. Mizzou roared back in the bottom of the frame with Hudson's grand slam providing four of the runs. Missouri started the scoring with a bases loaded walk from Crane that scored sophomore SS Corrin Genovese. Mizzou scored its next run on a fielder's choice when Tennessee committed an error behind the plate that allowed Hay to score from third base. With the bases still loaded, Hudson's second home run swept them clean for the 8-7 lead into the third inning.
Mizzou scored four more runs in the bottom of the third after Tennessee tied the game at 8-8 in the initial half of the frame. Hay's home run accounted for the first two runs of the inning, scoring junior OF Mackenzie Sykes. Back-to-back two-out doubles from Crane and senior catcher Jenna Marston followed, with Marston's hit bringing around Crane. After Hudson was hit by a pitch, sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo singled through the right side to score Marston for a 12-8 lead that would be final.
Hudson retired the last eight Tennessee batters to finish the Mizzou's regular season finale, improving her pitching record to 10-5. UT's Ellen Renfroe took the loss (15-4), pitching in relief for Lady Vol pitcher Ivy Renfroe.
The game was ended after the top of the sixth inning due a 2 p.m. deadline set for Tennessee's travel constraints.
Following the game, seniors Hay, Hudson, Princess Krebs, Lindsey Muller, Marston and Thomas were honored in the team's Senior Day ceremony. Senior student managers Nikki D'Aurelio, Matt Guemmer and Lance McMahon were also recognized for their contributions to the Mizzou softball program.
The Tigers continue into the postseason with the 2013 SEC Softball Tournament, hosted by Kentucky at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky., from Wednesday, May 8-Saturday May 11. Earning the No. 3 seed, Mizzou will play No. 6 Arkansas on Thursday, May 9, at 5:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on ESPNU. The Friday, May 10, semifinal games will also air on ESPNU, while the championship game on Saturday will be on ESPN2.