Offense Awakens as Mizzou Softball Defeats Redbirds
COLUMBIA -- The ninth-seeded Missouri Tigers opened up their Regional with a 6-0 shutout over the Illinois State Redbirds on Friday, May 18. The Tigers pounded out six runs on nine hits while being backed by a complete game shutout at the hands of pitcher Chelsea Thomas.
Illinois State had a good opportunity in the first inning but Thomas was able to work out of it and keep the game scoreless. Thomas issued a walk to Jhavon Hamilton after getting ahead in the count 0-2 to start the game. Hamilton then stole second and took third on a wild pitch, but Thomas worked out of the inning with a couple of strikeouts.
The Tigers were awarded a leadoff walk in their half of the first inning and were able to take advantage, scoring twice to take the early 2-0 lead. Mackenzie Sykes walked on four pitches and Jenna Marston reached on a fielder's choice to put two aboard. Ashley Fleming cleared the bases with an opposite field double, scoring both runners.
Neither team scored again until the fifth when the Tigers were able to put a run on the board to push the lead to 3-0. Kayla Kingsley led off the inning with a base hit and Corrin Genovese followed with a ground ball back to the pitcher that was thrown away for an error, putting the runners on second and third. One out later, Sykes lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score a run.
Mizzou busted it wide open in the sixth inning with three runs on six hits to push their lead 6-0.
Fleming singled to lead off the inning for her second hit of the day and Kelsea Roth followed with her seventh home run of the year, a two-run shot over the wall in left. Nicole Hudson then singled for the team's third straight hit, and with one away the Tigers got singles by Kingsley and Genovese to load the bases. Angela Randazzo came off the bench to deliver a pinch hit single, bringing in Hudson.
Bailey Erwin came in to finish off the game and struck out two while allowing only one hit. Thomas picked up the win to move to 24-7 on the year, tossing six shutout innings. She gave up just two hits and struck out six. Fleming and Kingsley led the way with two hits apiece, while Roth and Fleming powered the offense with two driven in.
Mizzou's nine hits are the most they have recorded since recording nine in a 6-5 win over Iowa State on April 28. Mizzou advances in the winner's bracket to play DePaul May 19, at 3 p.m. CT. Illinois State and Massachusetts will face off at 5:30 p.m., with the loser of the Missouri-DePaul game facing the winner of the ISU-UMass game at 8 p.m.