Missouri softball opens tournament with victory

By Sam Hustis

COLUMBIA – Missouri opened their 2014 Mizzou Tournament with a win against Ball State on Friday night, 11-3. This was the third win in a row for the Tigers.

Missouri got a strong showing from senior Mackenzie Sykes, who went 3-for-4 with five RBI on the night. Sykes has 20 RBI on the season, and has a slugging percentage of .427 this year.

After allowing two runs in the first, Missouri answered in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own when Sykes hit a bases clearing double off Ball State pitcher Nichole Steinbach. The Cardinals tied the game 3-3 in the top of the third inning when Taylor Rager hit a solo shot to left field.

The Tigers scored one run in the bottom of the third inning, and three in the fourth inning to pull ahead of the Cardinals. Missouri’s Taylor Gadbois had an RBI single in the frame, and extended her team-record hitting streak to 22 games. She also leads the team with 23 stolen bases on the year.

Freshman pitcher Casey Stangel struggled on the night, and was replaced by Tori Finucane in the fifth inning. Stangel gave up seven hits in four innings of work. Finucane only allowed one hit in the final two innings of the game. Both struck out two batters on the night.

Missouri will play North Dakota State and Oklahoma State Saturday, and close out the Mizzou Tournament against UMKC on Sunday.

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