Mizzou loses back-and-forth game with Arkansas in extra innings

By Karl Roskamp

Arkansas' Clarisa Navarro (11) slides into home to score the game-winning run on pitcher Nicole Hudson's wild pitch.  The Razorbacks won 11-10 in eight innings.

Arkansas’ Clarisa Navarro (11) slides into home to score the game-winning run on pitcher Nicole Hudson’s wild pitch. The Razorbacks won 11-10 in eight innings.

A furious five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning wasn’t enough for No. 8 Missouri to overcome Arkansas as the Tigers lost 11-10 in eight innings on Sunday at University Field.

Missouri (24-6, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) found itself down 10-5 in the seventh inning and in jeopardy of losing two games in a row for the first time this season.  After right fielder Carlie Rose struck out, the Tigers strung together three consecutive hits, including catcher Jenna Marston’s RBI double to make it 10-6.  Arkansas pitcher Kimmy Beasley walked designated hitter Nicole Hudson to load the bases and walked center fielder Mackenzie Sykes to allow another run.  Shortstop Corrin Genovese then tied the game at 10 on a two-out, two-run single to left field.

“We really dug ourselves a hole.  We didn’t take care of the ball on defense,” Genovese said. “(But) at no point did we think, ‘We’re going to lose this game.’ We trust our bats a lot this year.”

The Tigers have scored eight or more runs in 12 of their last 16 games, but poor defense has allowed opponents to stay in games.  Missouri had three errors against Arkansas, leading to three unearned runs. These errors make backup pitchers jobs more difficult, according to Marston.

“I think our defense needs to solidify and have got to know how to play behind Nicole and Lindsey,” she said.  “We have to start playing good defense behind them.”

One of the errors kept Arkansas’ six-run seventh inning alive.  The Razorbacks capitalized with shortstop Clarissa Navarro’s solo home run to take the lead 6-5. Right fielder Amanda Geile followed suit with a three-run home run to make it 9-5.  Hudson gave up five earned runs in the inning, which highlighted her substandard performance.

“I’m disappointed that I couldn’t hold them back,” Hudson said. “I’ve been throwing about an inning at a time for the most part, so (throwing 100 pitches) was a little bit different, but I just try to go out there and keep it under control.”

Hudson surrendered eight runs, allowed eight hits and gave up three walks in 3 2/3 innings. Recently, Hudson has failed to pitch deep into games she’s entered.  Against Alabama last weekend, she was pulled after two-thirds of an inning, after having allowed four runs and two additional base runners.  The lack of support puts more stress on Chelsea Thomas according to coach Ehren Earleywine.

“We have an ace pitcher with limited pitch counts and a fatigue factor at certain points and (backup pitchers) that are ill equipped for this moment,” he said.

“Perhaps we do a Friday, Sunday scenario where (Thomas) takes all Saturday to rest and maybe we just take a loss on Saturday,” he said. “I need to keep (Thomas) fresher because if she’s running on fumes, that’s not good on any level.”

After the Tigers rallied back in the seventh inning, the Razorbacks responded in the eighth.  Navarro scored from third base on a wild pitch by Hudson to go ahead 11-10.  Missouri couldn’t answer despite loading the bases with no one out.  Hudson, who went 0-4, hit into a double play where Oprzedek caught her line drive and tagged Kayla Kingsley out before she could get back to third.  Kingsley injured her leg on the play and is out indefinitely.

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