Tigers Fall to Oklahoma in Extras
NORMAN, OK -- The No. 10 Missouri softball team dropped a heartbreaking game to the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners on Friday night, dropping a 2-1 decision in extra innings in the series opener. The loss drops Mizzou to 33-9 overall and 10-6 in the Big 12, while the first place Sooners are now 37-6 and 12-4 in the league.
The highly hyped pitching matchup between Chelsea Thomas and Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts lived up the billing, as the two battled through extra innings, racking up well over 150 pitches apiece. Thomas entered the game with a 0.97 earned run average, while Ricketts stood at 0.98 coming into the weekend.
The game was locked up 0-0 until the fifth inning when Oklahoma finally scored a run to take a 1-0 lead.
Mizzou was able to get that run back in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by Ashley Fleming. With two outs in the inning and a 3-2 count, Fleming drove one deep over the wall to the opposite field for her 10th home run of the season, evening the game at 1-1.
In the seventh, Missouri was able to put two aboard with two outs, but the Sooners worked out of the jam to keep the game tied. Mackenzie Sykes singled up the middle and stole second base to get into scoring position. Lindsey Muller then walked, but Ricketts got pinch hitter Kelsi Jones to strike out and end the inning.
Oklahoma had a chance to end it in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with two away, but Thomas worked out of it to send the game to extras. With one out, Brianna Turang hit a slow roller to third for an infield single, and Katie Norris hit a high chopper to short, allowing Turang to beat the throw while Norris reached on a fielder's choice to put two aboard. Thomas got Javen Henson to ground out to third, which moved the runners into scoring position, but she lost Destinee Martinez on a full count walk to load the bases for Lauren Chamberlain, who entered the weekend with 19 homers on the year. However, Thomas made quick work of the freshman, striking her out on three pitches.
Neither team got anything going in extras until the Sooners mounted a two out rally in the 10th to end the game. Thomas struck out Chamberlain to start the inning and got Jessica Shults to pop out for two quick outs. She fell behind Ricketts 2-0 and issued an intentional walk. Erica Sampson moved Ricketts into scoring position with a base hit, and Georgia Casey ended it with another single up the middle, scoring Ricketts from second.
The loss dropped Thomas to 17-6 on the season despite a brilliant performance. She went 9.2 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits while striking out a season-best 15 batters. Fleming and Angela Randazzo led the offense with two hits each, while Fleming's homer was the lone run of the night for the Tigers.
These two teams return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.