By Karl Roskamp
Going in No. 5 Missouri and No. 7 Texas A&M were almost one in the same. Both teams had one loss, star pitchers with ERAs under 1.00, and one hit going into the sixth inning. It was appropriate that first baseman Kelsey Roth changed the game with one swing of the bat.
“I just wanted the ball to get out,” Roth said.
“It’s a game of inches,” pitcher Chelsea Thomas said. “If we had a couple of our hits go through the five, six hole…it could have been a different game.”
Roth hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Tigers to a 2-0 win against the Aggies on Friday night.
Left fielder Mackenzie Sykes set up the walk-off home run with a two-out double off the top of the wall in left field. Missouri managed three hits off Mel Dumezich, all coming in the last six plate appearances. Dumezich was solid, but unspectacular as she allowed two earned runs, two strikeouts, two walks, and had more first pitch balls than strikes.
Texas A&M’s best chance to change the announcer’s theme of “zero runs on zero hits with zero walks and no one left on base” came in the sixth inning. After walking pinch hitter Sydney Shannon to put two runners on, Thomas faced A&M catcher Nicole Morgan- the team’s leader in home runs and RBIs. Morgan connected on a fastball that sailed deep into right field before being caught by the backpedalling Sarah Moore.
Thomas was close to perfect, giving up one hit and two walks. She had 11 strikeouts, including nine swinging, and allowed only three balls to reach the outfield. Thomas credits her success to more consistent spin on her pitches.
“I’ve been really working on spinning the ball,” she said. “That’s huge for me- not being off with one pitch one game and on with another. I think that’s the next step in my growth as a pitcher.”
Missouri is scheduled to face-off again against Texas A&M tomorrow at 2 p.m. at University Field.
– Mizzou’s Mackenzie Sykes was the only player in the game to not contribute on a putout.
– Neither pitcher was good at getting ahead in the count. Thomas threw a first pitch strikes to 13 of 24 batters and Dumezich was 11 for 24.
– Despite a low scoring game, both pitchers managed to get into four full counts.
– Talking about evenly matched. Missouri is ranked No. 5 in the USA Today poll and No. 7 in the ESPN.com poll. Texas A&M is the inversed, ranked No. 7 and No. 5 respectively.
Supervising editing for this story was done by Jared Jeffries