By Barbara Maningat
Timing issues continued for the No. 9 Missouri softball team as they fell to Texas Tech , 2-0, in the three-game series opener. The Tiger offense recorded only one hit – their lowest output on the season – allowing the Red Raiders to snap their 22 home-game winning streak. After a triple by Corrin Genovese in the first inning, the only other base runner came in the seventh inning when Kelsea Roth reached on an error.
Ever since the Tigers returned from their series victory in Austin last week, coach Ehren Earleywine has not been pleased with their performance at University Field.
“It’s almost consistently bad lately,” Earleywine said. “We scored a lot of runs down in Texas and now, I don’t know what happened to us to be honest with you.”
The No. 2 pitcher for Texas Tech Brittany Talley prompted a lot of the offensive frustration.
“Their pitcher struck out one batter and she threw 79 pitches. Chelsea (Thomas) threw 122. So the kid was throwing strikes the entire game, all around the plate, she was throwing the change-up and she was throwing that little rise ball,” Earleywine said. “And you could see it, everybody could see it from the stands.”
But Missouri could not make adjustments. Few balls left the infield – and when they did, they were harmless pop flies. Earleywine said timing was the major issue for the Tiger offense as most of the batters were lunging toward the pitcher.
While the Tigers struggled to produce runs, Chelsea Thomas worked to keep them in the game.
Thomas allowed two earned runs and six hits in seven innings. The only two runs came in the sixth inning, the first on a passed ball by Jenna Marston with Texas Tech’s Emily Cooper at bat that allowed Emily Bledsoe to score. Cooper drew a walk in the next play to load the bases. Raven Richardson then drew another walk to score Logan Hall, extending the Red Raider lead to 2-0.
“Some things that don’t usually happen, me walking and JJ had a passed ball – things like that don’t normally happen for us and we’ll be better tomorrow,” Thomas said.
But Earleywine said the offense should have given her run support.
“I hate it for Chelsea. She didn’t pitch great, but she threw by far and away well enough for us to win. She’s got five losses on the year and you can say the same thing about every single loss. I just hate it for her more than anything,” Earleywine said.
The Tigers plan to make adjustments and learn from this game.
“Well you can’t go back and play that game again. So tomorrow’s game is the most important game,” Thomas said.
This loss put the Tigers two games back from the Big 12 conference leader, Oklahoma. Missouri is set to play Game 2 Saturday against Texas Tech at 2 p.m.