Roth and Thomas Help Mizzou Cruise to Win Over South Carolina

By Karl Roskamp

Sophomore Kelsea Roth’s two-out grand slam in the bottom of the first inning help propel No. 6 Missouri to a 10-2 six-inning win over South Carolina Saturday evening at University Field.

“We’re in a five game stretch where we’ve swung it really well,” coach Ehren Earleywine said. “I’m just praying that it continues.”

The home run was Roth’s third in the last seven games and her ninth of the season. The Tigers are now 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference and 18-2 overall. The Gamecocks dropped to 1-6 SEC and 18-12 overall.

“That ball was crushed,” pitcher Chelsea Thomas said.  “I love to see any ball hit like that as long as it’s not off me.”

The Gamecocks were unable to answer as Thomas threw four no-hit innings before handing off to senior Nicole Hudson. Thomas had seven strikeouts, all swinging, but uncharacteristically walked three hitters. She had walked 10 hitters in her previous 65 innings, but said the walks came from the luxury of an early lead.

“I was working on some things,” Thomas said.  “When you get ahead, you get to work on some things”

Missouri didn’t allow a hit until South Carolina’s Alaynie Page singled in the top of the sixth inning.  The Gamecocks scored two runs on two hits before the Tigers responded in the bottom half of the inning.  Missouri freshman Emily Crane had a two run double and junior Mackenzie Sykes had an RBI single that pushed the 10th run across, enacting the mercy rule.

The Missouri hitters tested South Carolina pitchers Katie Marks and Julie Sarratt as they frequently got behind in the count.  Marks started the game with 11 consecutive first-pitch balls and the two combined to throw seven first-pitch strikes to 31 hitters.  The patience paid off for the Tigers with seven walks and 10 hits.

“One of the things we’ve been working on is waiting for the right pitch,” Roth said.  “Our defense wasn’t as great today, but our offense made up for it.”

The teams will play again on Saturday in a double header at University Field with games at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Quick Hits:

  • South Carolina had just one hit out of the infield during the first five innings.
  • The win was Missouri’s first against South Carolina. The Tigers are now 1-3 all time against the Gamecocks.
  • Missouri pitchers were on the mound for nearly half the amount of time (32 minutes and 49 seconds) as South Carolina pitchers (62 minutes and 34 seconds).
  • The Tigers have now induced three consecutive mercy rule games, winning those games by a combined 34-2.
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