Mizzou Softball fails to advance out of the Eugene Regional

Mizzou softball saw its season come to an end in back-to-back losses in NCAA Regionals.
Maneater File Photo

Missouri softball made its 11th straight NCAA Regional appearance this weekend at the Eugene Regional in Eugene, Oregon. The Tigers’ season came to an end on Saturday night with a 5-4 loss in an elimination game against the University of Illinois-Chicago. The loss came a day after the Tigers fell to Wisconsin 7-2 in their first game of the regional. With the loss to UIC, the Tigers were eliminated from NCAA tournament regionals, and closed out the year with a 29-28 record.

Coming off of a first round loss to No. 18 LSU on May 10 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Mizzou came into the Eugene Regional as the No. 2 seed with a matchup against No. 3 Wisconsin set for Friday night. Senior Kirsten Mack opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with an RBI groundout, allowing sophomore Reagan Nash to score. A two-run third inning for the Badgers put Wisconsin up, but an RBI groundout by Tigers freshman Braxton Burnside in the bottom half of the inning knotted the game at two headed into the fourth.

Then, the bottom fell out for Mizzou. In the final three frames, Wisconsin would go on to score five unanswered runs en route to a 7-2 victory. Starting pitcher Cheyenne Baxter (16-10) lasted just 4.2 innings and gave up three earned runs before exiting. On offense, the Tigers were unable to put up a fight. The loss sent the Tigers to an elimination game on Saturday evening.

Mizzou fell down to UIC early in the elimination game. They were held hitless into the third inning, and by that point they had fallen behind 3-0. But contrary to the night before, the Tigers were able to climb back into the game. Down 3-1 headed into the top of seventh, Mizzou responded with a three-run inning to take the lead.

Senior Natalie Flemming started the rally with an RBI single, followed by an RBI double to center field from freshman Cayla Kessinger. Burnside then brought Kessinger home with an RBI single right up the middle.

However, Mizzou’s comeback was spoiled by UIC in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, freshman Kayla Wedl had a walkout single to win 5-4.

The loss concludes a rollercoaster season for Ehren Earleywine and his team. Finishing just a game over .500, the Tigers’ 29 wins is their lowest win total in Earleywine’s 11 years with the team.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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