No. 13 Mizzou comes from behind to win doubleheader vs. Creighton
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Despite cold and rainy conditions, No. 13 Mizzou (40-13) swept its doubleheader against Creighton (26-23) on Tuesday at University Field. The first game was all offense and the Tigers prevailed with an 11-6 victory, while the second game was a pitcher's duel with both starters finishing the game and head coach Ehren Earleywine's squad coming out on top with a 2-1 win.
The Tigers fell behind early in the first game as senior pitcher Alora Marble got the start and pitched well, only to have poorly timed walks and miscues pile up to the tune of five unearned runs in the first inning. The Tiger offense responded to pick up Marble, scoring five runs of their own in the bottom of the second.
Mizzou was jump-started in the second inning with a leadoff single by junior IF Corrin Genovese before junior 3B/C Angela Randazzo brought her around to score with a double down the leftfield line. A single from freshman 3B/2B Natalie Fleming brought Randazzo home and two-out hitting from redshirt sophomore IF Sami Fagan and sophomore 2B/OF Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) tied the game up at 5-5.
A solo home run for Creighton in the top of the third pushed the visitors ahead, 6-5, and signaled the entry of freshman P/OF/1B Casey Stangel to the circle. The Tigers answered back again with five more runs in the bottom half of the inning. Once again it was Randazzo knocking in Genovese after another leadoff single, as she went 3-for-4 with two runs and a stolen base in the initial game. A two-run home run from freshman IF/OF Kelli Schkade, RBI double from Fagan and an illegal pitch pushed the Mizzou lead to 10-6.
An important factor in the two five-run innings was Mizzou's aggressiveness on the base paths. The Tigers stole six bases, the first time Mizzou has stolen that amount since Feb. 27, 2011, vs. Western Michigan. Redshirt sophomore OF Taylor Gadbois snagged two of those to increase her season total to 43, with another swipe in the second game pushing that total to 44. Her 44 steals in 2014 is tied with former MU player Julie Link's 1989 year for the fourth-best single-season tally in program history
Stangel was tough on Creighton in her relief appearance, pitching 5.0 innings, striking out six while not allowing a hit or walk. The only Bluejay batter to reach base was hit by a pitch. Stangel picked up the win to improve her record to 14-7.
In the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, freshman P Tori Finucane got the start and immediately had the Creighton batters fooled as she struck out five in her first 2.0 innings of work.
Both pitchers cruised through the first three innings with only two hits, singles from Fagan and Randazzo. The Tigers put together a rally in the bottom of the fourth inning with singles from Randazzo and junior 1B Kelsea Roth and a Schkade walk to load the bases for Gadbois. A single to the CU third baseman and a poor throw from the shortstop resulted in both Randazzo and Roth scoring for a 2-0 Mizzou lead.
Finucane took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but a leadoff home run from Creighton spoiled her chance at a no-hitter. She retired the next three batters, with redshirt sophomore 2B Ashtin Stephens making a nice diving catch in the infield for the final out. Finucane's final line was 7.0 innings pitched, one earned run allowed on one hit and one walk, while striking out ten. Her ten strikeouts give her back-to-back starts with double-digit strikeouts. The victory improves her record to 20-5 and is her tenth consecutive decision earning a win, the best streak since Chelsea Thomas in 2012.