Mizzou Set for Super Regional Rematch vs. Washington
COLUMBIA -- The Missouri softball team is preparing for the 2013 Super Regionals that will remind Tiger fans a lot of 2011. The two teams faced off that season in Columbia with a trip to the Women's College World Series on the line. The Tigers swept the Huskies to advance to what was then the program's third-straight WCWS.
This weekend, Missouri will face two pitchers they have seen before. Washington junior pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby appeared in both game one and game two of the 2011 Super Regional against Mizzou where the Huskies gave up 10 runs. Current player Nicole Hudson was one of the leading hitters in both of those games for the Tigers. Washington junior pitcher Bryana Walker saw the Tigers last season in the Cathedral City Classic when Chelsea Thomas threw a no-hitter in Mizzou's 2-0 win. Current members Jenna Marston, Corrin Genovese and Ashtin Stephens all recorded hits off her.
"Our upper classmen have seen the ace pitch and we saw their number two last year when we played them, so they know a lot about their pitchers and she throws pretty hard," sophomore shortstop Corrin Genovese said. "I think we'll do it, especially we know all their hitters and Chelsea threw a no hitter against them last year when we played them, so they want nothing to do with Chelsea and we want everything to do with them, so I think we're good."
The Huskies are looking for redemption though after failing to reach the Women's College World Series the past two years thanks to Missouri and Cal.
Coach Earleywine said, "We're not the hunter anymoe we're the hunted. Everybody's trying to come in here and knock us off. I know Washington feels the way that we felt. They want to redeem what happened two or three years ago, and the way I feel about it is this is that if we want to win the game as much as Washington, I think we'll win. If Washington wants to win the game more than us, I think Washington will win."
The Tigers are also looking for a bit of redemption after falling short of the Women's College World Series last year to LSU. Mizzou beat their conference rival this season in SEC play but Coach Earleywine says he still can't get over that moment.
"It's just there...it just wont go away," Earleywine said. "Some of it went away when we beat LSU in the regular season at their place...some of that bite went away but the rest of that bite is still there and that we got beat last year in the super regionals and it was jut a horrible feeling for all of us. Almost like all I could think about it...it was really weird."
Coach Earleywine did say that Thomas was symptom free after experiencing numbness in her hand from throwing too many pitches over a short period of time for much of this season. Thomas is expected to start vs. Washington on Thursday night.
"I'm feeling great. A lot better than I have been feeling the last couple of weeks, months even. It's a really, really great thing that I'm on the positive trend up wards," Thomas said after struggling with soreness this season. "I've really fought and struggled through this year. It's been tough at times but I've been thankful for a lot of rain outs and snow outs. The way the team has battled for me and come out with the bats swinging has made for an incredible senior year. The last couple of games on the field...it hasn't really set in yet but I'm very happy to be here with our home fan base. It's been great getting to play in front of such amazing fans and the community here is amazing so I'm very excited that we are here."
Game one of the Columbia Super Regionals is scheduled for Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN. Game two will be on Friday at 5:00 p.m. on ESPNU with game three (if needed) scheduled to follow at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN.