Mizzou’s offense comes out cold against Western Kentucky

Text by Peter Terpstra

Photos by Karl Roskamp

Western Kentucky’s Emily Rousseau (right) high fives teammate Preslie Cruce after winning game one, 1-0 on April 24, 2013 at University Field in Columbia.

Western Kentucky’s Emily Rousseau (right) high fives teammate Preslie Cruce after winning game one, 1-0 on April 24, 2013 at University Field in Columbia.On Wednesday, coach Ehren Earleywine did not have to worry about pitching when he chose not to send Chelsea Thomas to the circle.

On Wednesday, coach Ehren Earleywine did not have to worry about pitching when he chose not to send Chelsea Thomas to the circle.

Instead, he worried about the offense—or lack there of.

No. 12 Missouri dropped the first game of a doubleheader against the Western Kentucky 1-0. Missouri then grabbed the second game of the afternoon 7-1 using a pitching combination of Nicole Hudson and Lindsey Muller. Throughout the two games, Missouri’s offense would mirror the state’s weather for the month of April: unseasonably cold with brief glimmers of warmth.

“[I’m] extremely frustrated with our hitters. No adjustments, they just continued to get jammed batter after batter after batter,” Earleywine said.

Missouri’s first at bats in game one would prove to be deceptive. The Tigers started off the game with bases loaded and no outs thanks to Emily Crane and Hudson walks along with a Jenna Marston single.

That would be the closest the Tigers got to a run for the entire first game.

“If you would have told us at the beginning of the day that they [Missouri pitchers] would have held [Western Kentucky] to a total of two runs over 14 innings, we would have said we would have won both games easily.” catcher Jenna Marston said. “That’s on us as hitters.”

Angela Randazzo would ground into a fielder’s choice at home plate later in the inning. Missouri would leave the bases loaded with a Kelsea Roth strikeout and a Mackenzie Sykes ground out leaving both teams without a run.

Roth would continue to struggle throughout game one, going hitless with two strikeouts.

Missouri gave up the only run of the game in the second inning on a Randazzo throwing error to first base. Western Kentucky’s Kelsie Mattox would score on the error giving the Lady Hilltoppers a 1-0 lead.

“It was just one of those days.” Hudson said. “It was just kind of yucky softball all around. I just think we have to up our concentration this weekend.”

The Tigers would threaten again in the fifth inning on a two-out rally. With the bases loaded, Western Kentucky pitcher Emily Rousseau would draw a fly out to right field from Sykes to end the inning. Rousseau went seven innings giving up four hits and pitching three strikeouts.

“She’s (Rousseau) a good pitcher.” Marston said. “She was changing speeds and hitting location. I thought her ball was moving pretty well today. She kept it out of the middle of the plate.”

Missouri would leave nine runners on base in the first game.

Earleywine would walk away after the second game being critical of the team’s plate discipline, even after the Tigers outscored Western Kentucky by six runs.

“I’m hopeful that it’s just an enthusiasm thing.” Earleywine said. “You go from LSU where there’s 3,000 people roaring and it’s a conference game to a windy, cold game, midweek double header against Western Kentucky.”

Western Kentucky pitchers Janna Scheff and Mallorie Sulaski would combine for nine walks in game two, leading to offensive rallies in the fifth and sixth innings. After picking up a run in both the first and second innings, Missouri would receive five walks in a row in the fifth inning to increase the Tigers’ lead to four.

Marston scored on a seventh-inning double by Sykes. That double was followed by a Carlie Rose single, scoring two more runs in the same inning.

Hudson would combine for eight innings pitched, giving up five hits and no earned runs over the two games. Muller would follow suit, combining for six innings pitched, giving up four hits and one earned run over the course of the double header.

“I woke up this morning just worried sick about our pitching. And we gave up [two] runs in 14 innings. I couldn’t be more proud of Nicole and Lindsey with the job that they did,” Earleywine said.

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