Tag Archives: Madison Ruggeberg

Thomas sets strikeout mark as Mizzou sweeps Western Illinois

By Darren Hellwege, KBIA Sports Director

The Missouri Tigers softball team picked up a mid-week sweep over Western Illinois in a double-header, with a little history as part of the day. Tigers pitcher Chelsea Thomas set the school’s all-time single season strikeout record, as the Tigers won the games 7-2 and 5-0.

“It’s a good honor, something I’ve worked hard for,” Thomas said of the record. She recorded her 287th strikeout in the fourth inning to break the mark of Erin Kalka set in 2004.

The Tigers won game one behind 3-3 hitting by Rhea Taylor, and two RBIs each from Abby Vock and Maddison Ruggeberg. Kristin Nottleman got the win, striking out seven and giving up three hits as she moved to 14-1 on the year.

“I wanted Nottleman to have a good day, and I think this was her best outing of the season,” said coach Ehren Earleywine.

The two runs scored by the Leathernecks were both unearned. Nottleman’s ERA is now 1.63, tied for seventh in the Big 12 conference.

Mizzou scored in the first in typical Tiger fashion with Taylor beating out an infield hit, stealing second on the first pitch, then scoring on a single by Hudson. Taylor’s bat also started things in the third as she singled, stole second, went to third on a fielder’s choice then scored on another. Hudson also scored in the frame on a Ruggeberg single.

But the big inning for Mizzou was the fourth, as they batted around and scored four runs with Cat Lee doubling, Marla Schweisberger singling and then another double from hot-hitting Abby Vock bringing them both home. Taylor followed with a fourth hit in a row for the Tigers, plating Vock with a double. Shana White pinch ran for Taylor and scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Ruggeberg.

In game two, the Tigers would get 10 hits including two each from Hudson and Princess Krebs and the first home run of the year for Kathryn Poet. And although Thomas gave up just two hits, Earleywine said she wasn’t at her best. But he wasn’t too disappointed at that.

“She was not especially sharp today, but maybe that’s good. She’ll be pissed about it, and really be ready for Saturday,” said Earleywine, anticipating the Tigers’ upcoming weekend. In spite of not being “especially sharp” in her coach’s opinion, she still did an acceptable job, giving up two hits and striking out eight in moving her ERA to 0.70, the lowest for any pitcher in the nation.

The Tigers prepare for one of the biggest series of the year as they welcome Texas to University Field this weekend. The Longhorns currently are in first place in the conference at 13-1, with the Tigers right behind at 11-2. A sweep over Texas will give Mizzou their first Big 12 regular season championship since 1997. The teams play Saturday at 2 and again at noon on Sunday. The Sunday game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

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Softball downs No. 20 Texas A&M 6-3

The Missouri Tiger softball team is known for having a strong offense to go along with their great pitching. Of the last 22 victories, 11 have come via the “mercy rule.” So, when they were shut down by Texas A&M’s Melissa Dumezich through the first three innings, it wasn’t time to worry. “We know our bats will come around,” said Tiger freshman Madison Ruggeberg.

And she was right. After being challenged by an Aggie run in the top of the fourth inning, the Tigers responded with three in bottom of the frame, the rally sparked by a Ruggeberg double, then added three more in the sixth. And Chelsea Thomas was her usual strong self as the No. 12 Tigers beat No. 20 Texas A&M 6-3 in front of a standing room only crowd at University Field in Columbia. The game was the first of a two-game Big 12 Conference set, which wraps up Sunday morning at 11 am.

The fourth inning set the tone for the Tigers. Following an Ashley Fleming walk, Ruggeberg drove one to center which Aggie centerfielder Kelsea Orsak was unable to corral in the windy outfield. While Fleming stumbled coming around 3rd she was still able to score. Nicole Hudson then reached 2nd on an error by the A&M leftfielder on another ball affected by the wind, and Brianna Corwin, pinch-running for Ruggeberg scored to put the Tigers up 2-1.

Following a Catherine Lee single, Lisa Simmons flew out to left. Hudson came home on the play, she was nearly thrown out but scored when the Aggie catcher dropped the ball. The inning could have been even bigger but when pinch-hitter Catherine Poet singled another pinch-runner, Alaina Burkhardt was gunned down at the plate to leave the score 3-1.

“The team got a lot more energy after that first hit,” Ruggeberg noted after the game, an opinion shared by head coach Ehren Earleywine, who said “Maddy and Lee’s at-bats were crucial, they were pitching Maddy away, and she just adjusted.”

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