Missouri catcher Sami Fagan retreats to third base after getting caught trying to advance home in the sixth inning on May 3, 2014 at University Field in Columbia, Mo. Fagan was tagged by Alabama shortstop Danae Hays.
Story by Sam Richmond
Photos by Sam Hustis
The Missouri softball team entered Saturday’s sold-out game against Alabama at University Field in Columbia, Mo., with reason for extra motivation.
The Tigers were only a day removed from losing to and watching the Crimson Tide celebrate a Southeastern Conference regular season championship on Missouri’s home field.
Junior shortstop Corrin Genovese called Alabama’s dog pile on the mound “disgusting to watch.”
Unfortunately for Genovese and her teammates, the Tigers were unable to exact revenge on Alabama and again fell in an error-filled, low-scoring battle on Saturday.
Missouri allowed the game’s first run in the third inning after a throw from sophomore catcher Sami Fagan, intended to go back to freshman pitcher Casey Stangel, ended up in the outfield following an Alabama steal to second.
Fagan said miscommunication was to blame.
“I was supposed to throw it back to her and I don’t think she got the signal for that,” the catcher said. “She turned her back too quick.”
The Crimson Tide scored its second and final run of the game in the fifth inning after a wild pitch from Stangel. The run was unearned, as Fagan made another error earlier in the inning.
Stangel finished the day with 4.1 innings pitched, allowing two unearned runs. Fellow freshman Tori Finucane relieved her, throwing 2.2 innings of scoreless ball.
Two runs proved to be all Alabama needed, as Missouri failed to plate a run all day.
The Tigers had their chances though. In each of the last two innings, Missouri had the bases loaded with two outs, but in both instances they failed to take advantage.
Missed opportunities was certainly a theme of the 2-1 series loss for the Tigers.
“This weekend we kind of beat ourselves,” Stangel said.
Saturday’s loss gives Missouri a final regular season record of 41-15 (15-9 in Southeastern Conference play) and likely a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the SEC Tournament Wednesday, May 7, 2014 to Saturday, May 10, 2014 in Columbia, S.C.
A conference tournament championship results in an automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament, which begins Friday, May 16, 2014 and culminates with the 2014 Women’s College World Series, starting Thursday, May 29, 2014.
If coach Ehren Earleywine, who also voiced displeasure with Alabama’s celebration Friday, has his way, Missouri will have another shot at revenge and face the Tide in the tournament.
“I would love to,” he said. “I’d like to play again right now.”
Outfielder Mackenzie Sykes and pitcher Alora Marble were honored before and after Saturday’s game for Senior Day.
Pitcher Kasey Stangel answers questions from the media following her performance on May 3, 2014 at University Field in Columbia, Mo. Stangel picked up the loss, giving up two unearned runs on two hits and five walks.
Senior Mackenzie Sykes laughs as she fills up a bottle with dirt from the mound on senior day on May 3, 2014 at University Field in Columbia, Mo. Sykes played for four years at Missouri, and was named a First Team All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore.
Alabama catcher Jordan Patterson and pitcher Leslie Jury celebrate after tagging out Carlie Rose at home to end the fifth inning on May 3, 2014 at University Field in Columbia, Mo. Jury pitched 5.1 innings and gave up no runs on only four hits.
The numbers of seniors Mackenzie Sykes and Alora Marble were painted into the on May 3, 2014 at University Field outfield for senior day in Columbia, Mo.