Going into the seventh inning, the Missouri Tigers chances for a share of the Southeastern Conference title were alive and well.
A few batters and errors later, they were all but gone. The Alabama pulled away with a 3-1 victory against the Tigers (43-10, 18-5 SEC) to be the sole claimers of the regular season conference title.
“We were the better team tonight,” junior Corrin Genovese said. “We beat ourselves. It’s not like Alabama beat us. Mizzou beat Mizzou.”
The Tigers went down 1-0 early in the bottom of the second after Alabama outfielder Haylie McCleney plated a run off a bases loaded single. The Tide were able to get the bases loaded thanks to a few hits but also got some help from the Tigers due numerous fielding errors in the second and throughout the game.
Pitching for the second straight day, freshman Tori Finucane did a solid job taming the Tide for
“Unbelievable,” Genovese said of Finucane. “She pitched great tonight. Maybe even better than last night. I’m really proud of her.”
After the second, Finucane shut the Tide down for the next four innings until the seventh when head coach Ehren Earleywine decided to put in fellow freshman Casey Stangel to face the Tide’s left-handed hitters that were giving Finucane trouble at times.
Stangel pitched decently, but more errors by the Tigers allowed the Tide to load the bases and score the go-ahead run after a ground hit off Stangel’s foot allowing the tying run to score. The Tide added an insurance run on a fielder’s choice.
“I want to fully take the blame for the loss,” Earleywine said. “I should have waited another batter to bring Casey in. I shouldn’t have let Casey throw against the right-hander in the ninth hole.”
Genovese led off the bottom of the seventh with a single but the Tigers had nothing going afterward as the next three batters were retired to end the game.
The Tigers take on the Tide tomorrow in the series rubber-match with a chance to go into the SEC tournament with a series win against the Tide, giving Missouri six straight series wins against SEC opponents.
“I hope they bounce back tomorrow,” Earleywine said of his team. “I think they’ll play well. If anything Alabama’s over celebration of what they did would fuel me as a player to try and come out and win tomorrow.”