Cougar Softball Advances with Sweep of Missouri Baptist
COLUMBIA - The Cougar Softball team swept a doubleheader with Missouri Baptist University on Monday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the American Midwest Conference (AMC) Tournament, winning game one 3-1 and game two 7-2. Columbia, the tournament's No. 3 seed, improves to 21-16 overall with the two victories and advances to Thursday's tournament semifinals.
The Cougars picked up an early run in the first inning of game one as Kristin Eiken singled with one out and came around to a score on a base hit to left field by Marli Hayes. Columbia starting pitcher Tiffany Urwiler worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of second and held the Spartans scoreless until the fifth inning, when Missouri Baptist would even the score at 1-1.
Freshman Amber Boehme relieved Urwiler with one out in the frame and recorded back-to-back strikeouts with the bases loaded to keep the score tied. The Cougars answered in the bottom of the fifth as Jessica Hardy delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs to put Columbia back in front, 3-1. The Spartans loaded the bases once again with one out in the top half of the sixth inning, but a key double play started by Jamie Holmes got the Cougars out of the inning unscathed. Boehme was able to retire the Missouri Baptist hitters in order in the top of the seventh to close out the victory and pick up her first save of the season.
Urwiler picked up her fifth victory of the season after allowing a run on six hits in 4.1 innings of work. Boehme allowed two hits and notched five strikeouts in her 2.2 innings in the circle. Hayes had two of Columbia's seven hits in the contest and Hardy finished with a team-high two RBI to lead the Cougar offense.
In game two, Columbia took another early lead in the top of the first as Holmes walked to lead off the inning and Eiken followed with an RBI triple to left-center. That lead would be short-lived as the Spartans put up two runs in the bottom of the frame to grab a 2-1 advantage after an inning of play. The Cougars regained the lead in the top of the second on a two-run double by Holmes with two outs followed by an RBI single by Eiken to make the score 4-2.
Columbia added a run in the third inning and another in the fourth as Eiken connected on her fourth home run of the year to give the Cougars a 6-2 lead. Columbia would tack on another run in the sixth and hold Missouri Baptist over the final two innings to cap off the doubleheader sweep.
Boehme earned the complete game victory in the second game, allowing two runs on six hits to go along with five strikeouts. The Cougar offense totaled 12 hits for the game, led by three hits and three RBI from Eiken. Whitni Howell, Chelsie Crain, and Karina Veit each contributed two hits in the contest as well.
Prior to game time, Columbia honored members of the AMC All-Academic team. The Cougars were represented by Taylor Atwood, Lauren Berkbuegler, Kaylee Brueggeman, Kristyn Caldwell, Chelsie Crain, Kristin Eiken, Marli Hayes, Jamie Holmes, Whitni Howell, Maria Imhoff, Kelsey Jacques, Taylor Richter, Hanna Taylor, Brittany Tjarks, and Tiffany Urwiler.
Columbia will return to action in the AMC Tournament on Thursday, May 2nd when they take on No. 2 seed Park (Mo.) University in bracket play starting at noon. After the top four seeds in the tournament won their quarterfinal contests, they will enter a double-elimination bracket that with all games taking place at Antimi Softball Complex in Columbia.