Posted: Apr 6, 2013 6:04 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2013 6:06 PM
TUSCALOOSA, AL -- No. 7 Mizzou softball evened the series at No. 4 Alabama with a resounding 9-4 victory at Rhoads Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers took a 9-0 lead over the Crimson Tide into the seventh inning on an initial 6.0-inning, scoreless stint in the circle from standout senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas. The Tigers were led offensively by sophomore CF Kayla Kingsley, who batted 3-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI. Mizzou's bats were alive with 10 hits, including home runs from sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth and junior OF Mackenzie Sykes in the top of the seventh inning.
The Tigers improved to 23-3 overall and 8-2 in Southeastern Conference play with the victory, nationally televised by ESPNU. The Crimson Tide dropped to 34-6 (9-5 SEC).
Sykes came up big defensively for the Tigers in the bottom of the second inning to keep the score 0-0. With two down and an Alabama runner on second base, Crimson Tide shortstop Danae Hays singled into left field. The Alabama runner, Kallie Case, made a run for home plate, but Sykes shut the door with an excellent throw to senior catcher Jenna Marston.
In the next half inning, it was Marston that delivered an RBI single to start Mizzou's scoring. Both freshman 2B Emily Crane and Kingsley started the inning with singles, and Marston's hit brought around Kingsley. Crane scored next by sliding under a tag at home plate when senior Nicole Hudson singled up the middle to center field.
Two more runs came in for a 4-0 lead when a Roth grounder to third base resulted in a throwing error. Junior Brianna Corwin who had pinch run for Hudson, along with sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo, who reached base on a fielder's choice, scored on the play.
Mizzou tacked on a fifth run in the top of the fourth inning due to efforts from Kingsley and Crane. Kingsley slapped a two-out single through the left side and then stole to second base. Crane followed with her own single in the same direction, driving in Kingsley for a
5-0 lead. Crane was tagged out at second base while trying to extend the single into a double.
Kingsley was involved again to get the Tigers their sixth run. After freshman RF Carlie Rose (Nixa, Mo.) beat out an infield single to shortstop, she was pinch run for with redshirt freshman OF Taylor Gadbois. Gadbois stole second base, and when the throw to catch her skittered into the outfield, she advanced to third base on the error. Kingsley did not allow Gadbois to stand at third base long, slapping an RBI single to Alabama's shortstop to set the score at 6-0.
Roth broke the Tiger lead open with her two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning, scoring senior Princess Krebs, who had reached base on a fielder's choice. Sykes' followed Roth with her own bomb to hit back-to-back home runs for the first time since Feb. 16 against Fresno State, in which she and Rose were the long ball hitters.
Thomas reentered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning after exiting for Hudson. Alabama scored four runs in the final frame of the contest to tighten the Tigers' lead. Thomas recorded her third strikeout to seal the win (14-2).
Alabama pitcher Leslie Jury took the loss (11-3), allowing 10 hits, nine runs, six earned runs and recording zero strikeouts.
The Tigers and Crimson Tide finish the series with a Noon start on Sunday, April 7. Video is available for RollTide.com.