By Kelsie Heneghan
The No. 5 Missouri softball team kicked off the season last weekend going 3-1 in the Quality Inn Classic in Troy, Ala. The Classic was a round robin tournament with Missouri, Troy, Ball State, Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Tennessee State. Missouri’s sole loss was against Eastern Kentucky Saturday in a 10-inning, 6-5 battle.
Missouri beat Ball State 3-2 on Friday, the first day of the tournament. Kristin Nottelmann pitched six shutout innings with seven strikeouts. Right fielder Ashley Fleming and designated player Nicole Hudson had a hit and an RBI each to lead the Tigers.
Friday evening Mizzou faced Troy with Chelsea Thomas leading the Tigers to a 4-0 victory. Thomas allowed just two hits and two walks. Centerfielder Kayla Kingsley had two RBIs in the team’s victory.
The second day of the tournament brought more of a challenge when Missouri faced Eastern Kentucky. The Tigers held a 3-1 lead going into the top of the seventh inning, but the Colonels scored three against freshman pitcher Bailey Erwin, making her first start. In the bottom of the seventh, Fleming was hit by a pitch. A Hudson single and a sacrifice bunt by designated player Lindsey Muller moved Fleming to third. Shortstop Corrin Genovese then hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Fleming and send the game into extra innings.
The international tiebreaker rule went into effect, meaning that after seven innings, the last player at bat starts the next inning at second base and another full inning is played.
Thomas relieved Erwin in the eighth inning. Both teams scored in in the ninth and EKU scored in the top of the 10th to take a 6-5 lead. The Tigers threatened in the bottom of the 10th, with Princess Krebs at third, but she was tagged at the plate on a Mackenzie Sykes ground ball to the Colonels’ pitcher. Thomas got the loss for the Tigers, bringing her record to 1-1.
After rain pushed the Mizzou-Eastern Tennessee State match-up to Sunday, the Tigers came out ready to move on from their loss Saturday. The Tigers won 9-3 with Nottelmann getting her second win of the tournament. Muller hit two home runs while Hudson had a solo shot of her own to start the game.
The Tigers now look to the Cathedral City Classic beginning Friday, Feb 24 in Palm Springs, Calif., where they take on UC Davis, Nebraska, Washington, Northwestern, and UCLA.