Story by Karl Roskamp
Photos by Karen Mitchell
Kelsea Roth (10) is congratulated by Kelsi Jones (23) and Sarah Moore after hitting a home run in the first game Wednesday.
Starting pitcher Chelsea Thomas struck out 10 batters Wednesday, surpassing the 1,000 mark for her career.
Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine had little good to say about his team’s two wins over Evansville Wednesday.
“I thought we stunk. Really disappointed in our hitting, really disappointed in our defense, really disappointed in our enthusiasm,” coach Ehren Earleywine said. “The only bright spots in my mind were Chelsea (Thomas) and Nicole (Hudson).”
No. 8 Missouri improved to 17-0 all time against Evansville by squeaking out wins, 3-1 and 4-3, in the doubleheader at University Field.
Chelsea Thomas earned her 1,000th career strike out in the first game. Also in that game, Nicole Hudson supplied the offense by driving in all three runs. She hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Emily Crane in the first inning and followed up by hitting a two-run home run in the third inning.
In the second game, the Purple Aces (6-11, 0-0 Missouri Valley Conference) scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning to take their first lead of the day at 3-1. The Tigers rallied with three runs on three hits including Angela Randazzo’s pinch-hit, go-ahead single to reclaim the lead at 4-3.
Missouri had managed five base runners in the previous five innings. Despite the comeback that earned him career win number 300, Earleywine was dissatisfied with the overall effort.
“I see it as laziness because to me, you should try that hard from the start,” he said. “Waiting until you get behind or until a game’s close to start trying is a true sign of an amateur.”
“We were kind of no enthusiasm,” pitcher Chelsea Thomas said. “The focus was off because this isn’t a Texas A&M caliber team.”
But players insist they didn’t overlook Evansville.
“I don’t think we did,” catcher Jenna Marston said. “You can’t take anybody lightly in softball. Anybody can put a win on you anytime.”
In the first game, the Tiger’s offensive struggles were masked by Thomas’ pitching. She threw a complete game, allowed two hits, one earned run and struck out 10. The lone run For Evansville came in the seventh inning when left fielder Kayla Fortner connected for her team-leading third home run.
“With Wednesday games, for me, it’s about working on things I need to get better at for the weekend,” Thomas said despite pitching with a blister on her finger. “My dropball was off last weekend, so I really focused on trying to spin my dropball and place it more.”
“If we really wanted to tax her finger, she could have struck out 14 today,” Earleywine said.
Thomas pitched with the blister on Saturday against Texas A&M in which she gave up four earned runs in five innings before being pulled, but insists the blister only effected her placement of pitches then.
Nicole Hudson pitched the second game and earned the complete-game win to go to 4-0 on the season. She allowed three earned runs on eight hits, struck out six and walked two.
Missouri will play a three game series at Mississippi March 15 – 17 before playing Illinois in a double header in St. Louis on March 20.
- Jenna Marston is tied with Jen Bruck for the career record for walks with 115. Nicole Hudson is five behind both.
- Emily Crane, Jenna Marston and Nicole Hudson, who were the top three hitters in the lineup, accounted for seven of hits on 17 at-bats. The rest of the team was 5-30.
- Angela Randazzo’s single was the only hit by someone in the bottom third of the lineup all day.
- Nicole Hudson hit her seventh home run of the season equaling her output from the previous year.
- Chelsea Thomas allowed only two balls to leave the infield. One was Fortner’s home run and the other was a single to center by Kacey Rogers.
- Evansville’s Victoria Dellorto grounded out to the pitcher three times in the second game. To compare, Mizzou has grounded out to the pitcher three times in the last three games.
Princess Krebs, top, and Mackenzie Sykes run to try to catch a foul ball.
Kelsea Roth follows through on her home run swing. She is hitting .379 for the season with seven home runs.
Missouri’s Jenna Marston heads to third base as shortstop Kacey Rogers mishandles the ground ball.
Missouri catcher Jenn Marston shows her frustration after Evansville scored the go-ahead run in the second game.
Princess Krebs (42) looks to throw to first base after putting out Halie Malone at second base.
After hitting a home run, Nicole Hudson (8) is greeted at the plate by Jenn Marston (26) and Mackenzie Sykes (4).
Shortstop Corrin Genovese puts out Alicia Betancur as she slides into second base.