Mizzou loses pitching duel with Arkansas in extra innings

By Karl Roskamp

Arkansas pitcher Kimmy Beasley prepares to throw a pitch.  Beasley struck out 12 batters and allowed one earned run.

Arkansas pitcher Kimmy Beasley prepares to throw a pitch. Beasley struck out 12 batters and allowed one earned run.

It took 11 innings, but Arkansas finally broke through to beat No. 8 Missouri 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at University Field.

Chelsea Thomas pitched a complete game, struck out 10 batters and gave up one earned run.  Even though she received a lost, which drops her record to 15-4, coach Ehren Earlywine was reassured by her performance.

“This was her best game in a while in terms of control and pitch count,” Earlywine said. “I was really impressed with her outing, especially after having already pitched some (yesterday).”

One of Thomas’ unearned runs came in the top of the seventh inning.  With a runner on first base,  Arkansas second baseman Sierra Bronkey bunted and Missouri third baseman Angela Randazzo slipped trying to field the ball.  Randazzo’s throw nicked first baseman Kelsea Roth’s glove and dribbled towards the outfield, allowing Clarisa Navarro to score.

“It was kind of a freak play all around with Angie falling,” catcher Jenna Marston said.  “I think we had a shot at two (outs) and she slipped and then we had third open. So I went to third and I shouldn’t have because obviously that left home (plate) open and they were able to walk in.”

“You had a feeling that it was going to come down to whoever made a mistake because no one was really hitting,” Earlywine said.  “So it was who’s going to misplay a bunt or throw a ball away and we just happened to do both in the same inning.”

The Tigers (24-5, 9-4 Southeastern Conference) responded in the bottom of the seventh.  Roth hit a solo home run to left field to tie the game at one.  Roth now has 12 home runs this season. That home run was just one of four hits Missouri got off Arkansas pitcher Kimmy Beasley.

“She’s probably the first pitcher with a true rise (ball) that we’ve seen in a long time,” Marston said. “We were getting underneath everything and popping it up.”

Beasley allowed one run, three hits and struck out 12 batters.  The win put her record to 6-6 on the season.  Put in perspective, Missouri strikes out on average less than four times a game.

In the top of the 11th inning, Arkansas regained the lead.  Right fielder Kayla Kingsley misplayed third baseman Chloe Oprzedek single, allowing both Arkansas runners to score.  The field error cost Missouri another run as Oprzedek scored on Navarro’s sacrifice fly in the next at bat.  Despite the inconsistent defense, Thomas remained cool.

“I’ve been around this game long enough to know that stuff like that it is going to happen and some days it’s not your day,” Thomas said.

The Tigers will play the Razorbacks at 2 p.m. on Sunday at University Field in the final game of the series.

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