Tigers Advance to Regional Championship Round Against DePaul
COLUMBIA - The Missouri softball team kept their NCAA Regional hopes alive with an 8-4 victory over Illinois State late Saturday evening, eliminating the Redbirds from the postseason. The Tigers scored eight times on 12 hits to move on to Sunday's championship round. Mizzou will take on DePaul at 1 P.M. on Sunday needing to beat the Blue Demons in two straight games to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Senior Rhea Taylor was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and three runs scored. She also matched her single game school record with four stolen bases, which she last achieved in 2008. Fellow senior Marla Schweisberger was also strong at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs and a two-run homer. Sophomore Nicole Hudson picked up two hits and drove in a pair.
Missouri struck in the first inning with two runs, taking advantage of two straight singles by Jenna Marston and Rhea Taylor to lead off the game. After a groundout moved them each up a base, Ashley Fleming drew a walk to load the bases. Catherine Lee then plated Jenna Marston on a sacrifice fly to right field to put the Tigers up 1-0. From there, the Tigers executed a perfect double steal, as Fleming swiped second base and allowed Taylor to come in and score.
The Tigers kept the pressure on with three more runs in the top of the second, started with a leadoff double by Marla Schweisberger down the left field line. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Megan Christopher plated her with a base hit back up the middle. Brianna Corwin was brought in to pinch run, and moved to third following two straight ground outs. She'd touch home on Taylor's second infield single of the game, who would then steal second and score on Nicole Hudson's single.
A two-out bunt single by Taylor, her third hit of the game, was followed by another stolen base and started a two out rally in the fourth. Hudson made it 6-0 Tigers with a single into right, driving in Taylor for her second RBI of the game.
Schweisberger's third hit of the game was a big one for the Tigers, as she drilled her third home run of the season to put the Tigers up 8-0. Schweisberger brought home Fleming on the play, who singled to start the inning.
Illinois State avoided the run rule and cut into the Tiger lead with a three run home run in the bottom half of the inning. The first four runners reached safely, as Jessica Roche hit a double into the gap to lead things off. Nichelle Harrison then laid down a bunt single to put runners on the corners, and after fouling off a slew of pitches, Jhavon Hamilton belted a three run homer to right field to make it 8-3. Kara Nelson then singled up the middle but Nottelmann finally retired the first batter of the inning, getting a groundout to first.
Nottelmann allowed a run in the seventh, but finished it off to pick up her second win of the day. The righty improved to 17-1 on the season after allowing four runs on nine hits. She struck out four and walked one in the victory.