No. 16 Mizzou Rolls to Sweep Over Aces
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The No. 16 Missouri softball team swept Evansville in a doubleheader on Wednesday evening, taking game one by a 7-2 final before run-ruling the Purple Aces by a 9-1 score in the finale. The Tigers are now 30-5 on the season, marking the 21st time in the last 24 years that the program has won at least 30 games in a season.
Missouri 7, Evansville 2
A two-run home run in the top of the first by Nicole Hudson kicked off the scoring for the Tigers, as she ripped her seventh blast of the season with no outs. Scoring on the play was Jenna Marston, who singled right back up the middle to start the game.
Evansville cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first when Jen Stahlhut connected on her third home run of the season. Stahlhut sent Kristin Nottelmann's 1-0 pitch over the wall in dead center field to make it 2-1.
The Tigers gave themselves some cushion in the top of the second, as they tacked on three more runs on three hits, capped off by Hudson's second home run of the game. The first two Missouri batters of the inning reached, as Lisa Simmons started with a base hit back up the middle and Lindsey Muller followed with a line drive base hit into right-center field, sending Simmons to third. Alaina Burkhart put Mizzou up 3-1 after a fielder's choice to second base scored Simmons. Two batters later, Hudson connected on another two-run home run to make it 5-1 Tigers. Hudson is the second Tiger this season to hit two home runs in the same game, as Princess Krebs accomplished the feat against Texas Tech on March 27.
Another solo home run by the Purple Aces chipped into the Tiger lead. Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Alicia Betancur connected on an 0-1 pitch, sending it over the wall in center to make it 5-2. With one out, back-to-back singles put two on for the Aces, but Nottelmann worked back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the jam.
Missouri got that run right back in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Muller, scoring Ruggeberg on the play. Ruggeberg singled through the left side to lead off the frame and advanced to second on a groundout. Two batters later, Muller connected with two outs on the first pitch she saw to put Mizzou up 6-2.
A leadoff homerun by freshman Mackenzie Sykes in the top of the seventh added a little insurance for the Tigers. Sykes sent the 1-0 pitch over the wall in center field for her second home run of the season, making it 7-2.
Nottelmann went the distance, allowing just the two runs while scattering six hits to improve to 12-1 this season. She struck out 10 and walked zero.
Mizzou picked up 13 hits, with five Tigers collecting two each. Hudson led the way with four RBI, while Sykes, Muller and Burkhart all plated a run as well.
Missouri 9, Evansville 1 (5 inn.)
Game two started similarly for the Tigers, as a two-run home run by Fleming in the first put Mizzou up 2-0. Rhea Taylor led off the game by drawing a walk and stealing second, and two batters later Fleming connected on her ninth home run of the year, matching her career high that was set last season. Later in the inning, the Tigers rallied off three straight two out doubles to push the lead to 5-0. With a runner on second, Schweisberger sent a fly ball off the wall in right field to score Hudson. Schweisberger came home to score on Lisa Simmons' double over the head of the center fielder, who would touch home when Krebs roped an opposite field two-bagger into the right-center field gap.
Missouri tacked on two more in the top of the second, coming off the bat of Ruggeberg, who singled to center field with two outs. Marston, who doubled with one out, came home to score on the play, as did Hudson after an error. The Purple Aces tried to throw Hudson out at third, but the ball was overthrown which allowed her to score.
After two straight scoreless innings, senior Kathryn Poet made it 9-0 with a two-run double in the top of the fifth inning. Scoring on the play was Abby Vock, who reached on a fielder's choice, and Taylor, who slapped an infield single to the shortstop.
Evansville broke up the shutout in the bottom half, as two consecutive doubles with no outs made the score 9-1. However, Lindsey Muller settled in, working three straight ground outs to end it.
Chelsea Thomas improved to 15-3 on the year after throwing four shutout innings. She allowed just one hit, didn't walk a batter and struck out six. Simmons led all Missouri hitters with two hits, while Poet and Fleming each drove home two.
The Tigers return home to University Field this weekend when they host No. 20 Texas A&M on a two game conference set. The first game begins at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday.
University of Missouri Athletics Media Relations Associate Steven Keers contributed to this report.