By Sam Hustis
COLUMBIA – The Missouri Tigers opened up their SEC season with a win against the visiting Kentucky Wildcats 7-2 in their home opener Friday night.
The Tigers got a great outing from freshman pitcher Tori Finucane, who gave up only two runs on nine hits at her first home game for Missouri. The Wildcats also had nine hits in the game, but the Tigers were able to capitalize and comfortably beat the Wildcats.
“Coming out strong in the first inning was great,” Finucane said. “It also helped with that mental aspect of going out there and throwing strikes.”
Entering Friday’s game the top of the lineup for Missouri had been hot. The trio of Taylor Gadbois, Sami Fagan and Emily Crane combined for 78 hits through 20 games, for an average of 3.9 hits per game.
This trend continued into the bottom of the first inning, when both Gadbois and Crane doubled, as Missouri scored two runs in the inning. All three would get at least one hit in game one against the Wildcats, bringing their combined season total to 83 hits.
“Going out there and getting on base and getting that big one to start it off, that was awesome,” said Crane following the game. “I was excited.”
Missouri continued the scoring in the third inning, with two more runs. Fagan started the inning with a double, and two batters later Angela Randazzo homered to left field, driving in two runs.
The Tigers would add two more runs in the fourth and one in the sixth. Kentucky would tack on two runs in the last inning, but it would not be enough to climb back. It was the third win in a row from the Tigers, who were coming off a two game win streak in Evansville, Ind.
“If we can come out tomorrow and Sunday and play the same way, and get the bat on the ball and get that many hits up on the board, we shouldn’t have a problem,” Crane said.
Missouri and Kentucky will play a doubleheader Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.