On Sunday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers (51-11) advanced to the WCWS with a 7-2 win over the Oregon Ducks (36-21). Kristin Nottelmann (24-7, 2.00 ERA) notched her fourth straight postseason win and fourth straight complete game, surrendering one earned run on eight hits, while striking out four and walking none. Missouri took the best of three Super Regional two games to none, as Nottelmann ran her record in the NCAA Tournament to 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA.
Coach Earleywine talked about his team's win.
"I'm just really proud," said Coach E. "I'm just really proud of the girls. We just had a fantastic day. We swung the bats a lot better than we did yesterday, and gave Kristin a little bit of a cushion. Although, she didn't need a whole lot. She pitched very well."
The #9 seeded Tigers will play #16 seeded Hawaii in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
The Tigers scored two first inning runs before Oregon answered with a first inning run of their own. Lisa Simmons pushed the lead to 3-1 when she lead off the fourth with a solo HR into the right field bleachers. The Ducks pushed across a run in the fifth to pull to within one at 3-2. Just when it appeared that Oregon may be mounting some momentum, Missouri pushed across four more runs in the top of the sixth. Nicole Hudson got the scoring started with two outs in the sixth when she blasted her 10th HR of the season high over the right field fence and out onto the golf course. Two batters later, Ashley Fleming doubled off of the left field wall, scoring Jenna Marston from first, and Nottelmann had the breathing room that she had asked for.
"As soon as she came around," said Nottelmann of Hudson's home run, "I high-fived her and said thank you. Because, I needed a little more run support, and I had asked her for it, and she gave that to me. She started that big rally that gave me a little breathing room at the end. It was a great hit!"
Oregon's Head Coach, Mike White, was asked about Nottelmann's performance.
"She wasn't afraid," Whitey said of Kristin Nottelmann. "She came right at us................ Hats off to her. She's just not afraid. She didn't get behind a whole lot. She attacked us. All the things you got to do to be a good pitcher."
Oregon had two runners on in the bottom of the seventh when Nottelmann caught Oregon's top hitter, Sam Pappas, looking at strike three for the game's final out. A celebration ensued on University Field.
Afterward, Nottelmann talked about the team's attitude about playing in the World Series for the second straight season.
"I think this year's going to be different," said Nottelmann. "Last year, we were just kind of awestruck about being in the World Series and making it there. And we just kind of settled with just being there. I think this year, we actually want to prove that we are supposed to be here, and we can do well here. And, I feel like with the momentum coming from this weekend, that we can do that."
Coach Earleywine talked about playing in the WCWS.
"Starting tomorrow, we have to kind of re-set our goals," said Coach E. "Last year, our goal was to get to the World Series. And, it was my fault once we got there, that I never sat the team back down and said 'OK, we're here now.' Now let's re-set our goals and try to win some games. It was, 'We're just happy to be here.' It was such a rush, going to L.A., coming home for just a minute, jumping right back out to the World Series. It was like a whirlwind. We never really got our feet under us. It was my fault because I never re-set our goals. Now, I'm one year smarter. And so, we're going to sit down and say, "OK. We're here now. It was very exciting. But, what do we do now?" You know, what's our plan from here on out? I'm better for that now, and so are some of our players."
Fleming led the Tigers on Sunday, with three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs. Hudson responded to being moved up into the two hole with a pair of hits, including the monster blast. Simmons added two hits, including a HR, as well.
Hawaii set an NCAA record this season with 154 HRs to date.