Mizzou 8-0 Win Over Arkansas In SEC Softball

On Thursday afternoon, 3-seed & #7 Missouri (34-10) opened SEC Tournament play with a Quarterfinal run-rule victory over 6-seed & #21 Arkansas (34-18) by the final score of 8-0 in 5 innings.

On Thursday afternoon, 3-seed & #7 Missouri (34-10) opened SEC Tournament play with a Quarterfinal run-rule victory over 6-seed & #21 Arkansas (34-18) by the final score of 8-0 in 5 innings.

SEC Pitcher of the Year, Chelsea Thomas (21-4) allowed just 2 hits in recording the 5-inning shutout. She allowed 1 walk, and struck out 5, in facing just 18 batters (67 pitches). No Arkansas base-runner reached second base.

Kimmy Beasley (10-8) took the loss.

Missouri scored 2 runs in the 1st inning, 3 runs in the 3rd inning, and 3 more in the 5th inning for the walk-off win.

Freshman 2B Emily Crane got things started for the Tigers as she led off the bottom of the 1st inning with an opposite-field single into left. She moved over to third base on senior C Jenna Marsten's opposite-field double. Crane scored, and Marsten moved over to third, on a sacrifice fly off the bat of senior DH Nicole Hudson. After sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo was hit by a pitch, junior CF Mackenzie Sykes bounced an RBI infield single to the left side.

Marsten led off the bottom of the 3rd inning with a single up the middle. Randazzo doubled down the left field line, with a line drive that hit high on the wall. Marsten held at third, and both runners scored when Sykes drove the ball off the right-center field wall for a triple. Then, Sykes scored on sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth's sacrifice fly to center.

In the bottom of the 5th inning, LF Sykes doubled off the left field wall. She scored, as Roth slammed one over the left field wall.

Sophomore SS Corrin Genovese walked, and advanced to second as RSF CF Taylor Gadbois slapped a hard-struck single off of the drawn-in third baseman. With 2 outs, Crane doubled off of the left field wall driving in Genovese, with Gadbois, whose run wasn't counted, scoring right behind her.

Crane and Marsten each had 2 hits, while Sykes had 3 hits and drove in 3 runs. Roth had 3 RBIs, as well, including her 13th HR of the season.

Following the game, Chelsea Thomas said that she had kept her pitch count down in the 5-inning game, and that she wanted to pitch on Friday.

"We'll talk about it tonight," said Thomas, referring to a conversation that she plans to have with her head coach, Ehren Earleywine, who had said earlier in the week that he would not pitch Thomas on Friday, as he wants to have her fully recovered for next week's NCAA Tournament action.

"I want the ball," said Thomas.

It didn't take long for Coach Earleywine to reconsider Thomas' availability for Friday.

"I was really happy that we got to keep Chelsea's pitch count down, 67 pitches, she felt great after the game," said Coach Earleywine, following his team's 8-0 quarterfinal win over Arkansas. "We're going to wake up tomorrow and see how she feels, but if I had to make a decision right now, she would probably throw tomorrow because there is absolutely no fatigue, no pain at all."

After placing little or no significance on the SEC Tournament earlier this week, Coach Earleywine and his players now feel that advancing in the SEC Tournament could possibly get them up to a top-8 RPI, which would place them in good position to host, not just a Regional, but a Super Regional, as well.

On Monday, the Tigers jumped up from an RPI of 14, to an RPI of 10. Missouri owns conference series wins over 3 teams currently ahead of the Tigers in the RPI.

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