Some early success for new head coach Ehren Earlywine. But the Jefferson City native isn't the tigers only new arrival this year. Coach Earlywine spends every practice seeing if his players have what it takes to play softball in the Big 12. Before Earlywine got the Missouri coaching job. The current Tigers got to interview him.
"We all sat down and each of the coaches came in and we asked them questions. So that was nice that we got to have a part in the decision making process," said Missouri junior pitcher Jen Bruck.
"We all really liked what he had to say about his coaching style and his personality. He was our choice," said junior first baseman Amanda Renth.
A match that's worked out with a little give and take.
Well, they've adjusted to me and I've adjusted to them. You kind of have to meet in the middle," said softball coach Ehren Earleywine.
Earleywine inherited a team with Jen Bruck, an All Big 12 First Teamer, but he had a little cause for concern about Bruck being able to play her junior season.
"Especially it's potentially your best pitcher and hitter. The first thing you do is ask when are you due and how long does it take to recover from a pregnancy? You talk to my wife because she's had babies and you try to find out how long does it take to recover," said coach Earleywine.
Bruck delivered a daughter, Ashanti, on January 10th, and got back to the field in time for the start of the season.
"I worked out 3 times a week up until I was 8 months. They kept me in shape. That had a lot to do with how quick I got to come back," said Bruck.
She's not just back, she's on top of her game. Pitching a shutout win against Texas on April Fools Day.
"To me the most spectacular thing is not that she beat them on day one, but that she came back on day two and shut them out," said coach Earleywine.
Bruck gets a lot of help from Ashanti's father and her family. Even her teammates find a way to pitch in.
"It's brought us closer together and closer to Jen as a person. We've all kind of taken our share of babysitting or just holding the baby or saying 'Hi'. Taking her out for dinner or something like that," said Renth.
The new baby is also giving Bruck a new perspective on life.
I've been in sports all my life. Softball, all my life. School and softball, and it kind of made you see there are more important things in the world," said Bruck.
Bruck set the Missouri career home run mark earlier this season before teammate Michaela Minner passed her on the on list. Minner has 31 homeruns in her career, Bruck has 30.
Select a station to view its upcoming schedule: