No. 9 Tigers Take Opener Over No. 12 Ducks
EUGENE, OR -- The No. 9 Missouri Tigers pulled out a dramatic 5-4 win against the No. 12 Oregon Ducks on Friday night, coming out of a wild game with the victory in the series opener. Mizzou improves to 39-11 on the year and is 8-2 in their last 10 games against Pac-12 opponents dating back to 2009.
Redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas worked through trouble to pick up her 20th victory of the season, improving her record to 20-7. She issued five walks and scattered seven hits while striking out six and allowed three earned runs.
In the second, Kelsea Roth singled to center field with one away for the first hit of the game and moved up a base on the passed ball. Brianna Corwin came in to pinch run and scored with two outs to put Mizzou ahead 1-0. Corrin Genovese singled to left field and the left fielder bobbled the ball, allowing Corwin to score.
The Ducks quickly tied it in the bottom half of the inning on a leadoff solo home run by Kailee Cuico. The blast came on a 2-2 pitch to left-center field and was her 10th of the season.
A two out error in the top of the third kept Missouri's inning alive and eventually led to a pair of runs, putting them back on top. Jenna Marston hit a slow roller to the left of the circle, but Oregon pitcher Jessica Moore could not handle it cleanly. Ashley Fleming made her pay with a mammoth home run just inside the foul pole in right field, her 14th of the year, to put the Tigers on top 3-1.
Oregon hit their second home run in as many innings in the bottom of the third, as Kaylan Howard blasted a solo shot to center field with one away in the frame. Later in the inning, Kelsey Chambers took a two out walk and came in to score on a double by Cuico, who lifted a fly ball to deep left field that was lost in the sun, evening the game at 3-3.
In the fourth, Oregon took their first lead of the game with a run in the inning, putting them ahead 4-3. The runner on first was able to move up to second on a wild pitch and came in to score on a hit and an error off the bat of Howard.
A wild top of the sixth helped the Tigers take the lead back, scoring twice on two hits and an error. Nicole Hudson started the inning with a base hit to right and moved to second on a ground out. Lindsey Muller hit a grounder to the circle that was snagged by Moore, who got Hudson in a run down between second and third. However, Hudson was able to get back to second base safely and Muller reached first on the fielder's choice, putting two aboard.
One out later, Kayla Kingsley hit an opposite field double over the head of the Duck left fielder, bringing in Hudson to tie the game at 4-4. Muller rounded third on the play but slipped as she held up. As she retreated back to the bag, the Duck catcher threw behind her, but the ball tipped off the third baseman's glove and sailed into the Oregon dugout, allowing Muller to score the go-ahead run.
Thomas worked a 1-2-3 sixth but the Ducks were able to put the tying run on third in the seventh. Chambers started the inning with a deep fly ball to center field that barely stayed in the park and was caught by Mackenzie Sykes at the wall. The Tigers got the second out quickly after a ground out to short, but Samantha Pappas kept the game alive with a single off of Thomas' glove. Heads-up base running on the play allowed Pappas to take second, as no one was covering the bag, and she moved up to third on a wild pitch. After a long battle, Thomas was able to end the game by getting Christie Nieto to strike out on a full count.
Hudson led the offense with a pair of hits and scored a run, while Fleming homered and drove in a pair. Kingsley added the other RBI for Mizzou.
These two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday to finish off the series, beginning at 3 p.m. CT.