The Maneater

Three mercy-rule wins over the weekend boost Missouri softball to 17-11 record

Freshman Braxton Burnside set a single-game record with 10 RBI.

Missouri softball suffered a tough loss on Friday in a game in which they mustered just six hits. But after that, the Tigers’ bats woke up.

Mizzou (17-11) began the South Florida Tournament with a close matchup against Ohio State. The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning after redshirt sophomore Madi Norman issued three walks, but Missouri came back to push the game to extra innings. Ohio State ultimately edged out a 5-4 victory.

The next four games featured the team’s biggest offensive explosion all season. Missouri outscored its opponents 48-12, mercy-ruling Rutgers, South Florida and Monmouth.

Freshman shortstop Braxton Burnside had a career weekend with 17 RBIs over five games, including five extra base hits. In the team’s 16-6 win over North Dakota State, Burnside went 3-for-5 with two grand slams and a triple. Her 10 RBIs marked a single-game record for Mizzou and tied the Southeastern Conference record.

“I had a lot to learn, and literally every single day at practice, and every single game that we’ve played up to now, has been a learning experience for me,” Burnside said last week when asked about her favorite part of her freshman season. “And I think just soaking that all in, so I can add on to that for the next three years here, has been pretty awesome.”

The learning and adjusting to college softball is going exceptionally well for Burnside, who extended her hitting streak to 12 after this weekend. She has started every game this season and leads the team with a .375 average.

Burnside was not the only offensive leader at the tournament this weekend. Senior Kirsten Mack, redshirt junior Anna Reed and sophomore Kolby Romaine each hit .500 in the tournament. Mack hit five doubles; she now leads the team with 10 on the season. In the last game of the tournament, an early-morning 10-1 win over Monmouth, Mack smashed two doubles on three hits and three RBIs.

“Today was reflective of my entire weekend, I felt like,” Mack said in a news release after the Monmouth game. “I kept a simple approach at the plate and focused on driving the ball the other way. That allowed me to rack up the extra-base hits and contribute to our offense’s overall success.”

Freshman pitcher Parker Conrad made her first two appearances since Feb. 17, pitching two scoreless innings. The pitching staff evenly spread out the innings this weekend, with no complete games over five games.

The team will play next against No. 7 Texas A&M in a weekend series starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Tigers play a mid-week doubleheader against Wichita State on March 29 before returning to home against No. 8 Alabama.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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