No. 7 Mizzou Beats No. 22 Arkansas to Advance
LEXINGTON, KY - No. 7 Mizzou softball used a walk-off double from freshman 2B Emily Crane to down No. 22 Arkansas in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament, winning 8-0 in five innings at John Cropp Stadium on Thursday. The Tigers were led offensively by junior OF Mackenzie Sykes (Blue Springs, Mo.) and sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth, with Roth hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sykes batted a perfect 3-for-3 with a single, double and triple.
The No. 3-seeded Tigers improved to 34-10 with the win, while the sixth-seeded Razorbacks ended their conference tournament at a 34-18 overall record. Senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas, recently named the SEC Pitcher of the Year, pitched the complete game (5.0 IP), allowing just two hits, one walk and striking out five Arkansas batters. Thomas improved to 21-4 in the circle with her efforts.
Mizzou advances to the semifinals of its first SEC tournament, set to be played at 2:30 p.m. CT on Friday, May 10, against the winner of No. 2 Tennessee and No. 10 South Carolina.
Two-straight hits to start the bottom of the first from freshman 2B Emily Crane and senior catcher Jenna Marston got runners into scoring position early for Mizzou. The 2013 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Marston doubled to left center to advance Crane around to third base, with senior Nicole Hudson then hitting a sacrifice fly to bring home Crane for a 1-0. Sykes' first hit, an infield single, scored Marston to finish the opening frame with a 2-0 lead.
A single and double helped Mizzou score more runs in the bottom of the third. A leadoff single from Marston (2-for-3) was batted around to third base on double down the left field line by sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo. It was then Sykes' triple to right center that cleaned off the bases for a 4-0 lead. A sacrifice fly from Roth to center field then scored Sykes for a 5-0 advantage.
The Tigers got three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game by run-rule. Two of those runs came from Roth's 13th long ball of the season, which scored Sykes after her double to set the score at 7-0. With two on base and two outs, Crane doubled to left center to drive in sophomore SS Corrin Genovese, who had previously walked, for the game-ending run. Crane finished the game batting 2-for-4 from the plate.