Story by Sam Richmond
A pair of freshmen stole the show at the Missouri softball team’s annual Black & Gold Game on Saturday at Dan Devine Pavilion.
Catcher Kirsten Mack (three home runs and five RBIs) and pitcher Tori Finucane (one run allowed in seven innings pitched) led the Black team to an 8-7 victory.
“Tori did awesome,” Mack said. “She was locked in. Her balls were spinning great. She had all three pitches: her drop, her rise and her change. When you have all three pitches working 100 percent, that’s deadly.”
But it was Mack’s performance that stood out the most to coach Ehren Earleywine, saying he had never seen his catcher hit a home run at MU before today.
“We already have some solidified Division 1 hitters in the middle of our lineup,” Earleywine said. “And if you add a freshman in that nobody had really intended on hitting a lot of home runs and driving in a lot of runs, that could be a big difference maker for us.”
Two of Mack’s long balls came off fellow freshman Casey Stangel, who went 28-0 with a 0.73 ERA pitching at Lake City High School in Idaho her senior year. In five innings Saturday, Stangel allowed five runs on six hits.
“Casey didn’t have bad stuff today,” Mack said. “I just saw the ball really well today.”
Mack wasn’t the only Tiger to hit one out in front of the 302 fans in attendance.
Senior outfielder Mackenzie Sykes and junior Angela Randazzo also homered for the Black squad, while another freshman, Natalie Fleming, cleared the fences once for the Gold team. Fleming is the sister of former Tiger Ashley Fleming.
The Tigers will get a break from the cold Missouri temperatures when they start season play in Jacksonville, Fla., for the Jacksonville Tournament Feb. 14-16.
“We obviously love the two-degree weather here,” Finucane said jokingly. “But we’re pretty excited for some heat and to actually be on a field and not inside.”
Missouri’s home opener is scheduled for Friday, March 14 against Kentucky.