(Photo Courtesy of Missouri Athletics)
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – No. 16 Mizzou Softball used a standout performance from freshman pitcher Tori Finucane(Germantown, Md.) to top No. 14 Arizona by a score of 2-0 on Thursday at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Previously unbeaten, the Wildcats (10-1) had little answer for the new Tiger who recorded a season-best eight strikeouts in her fourth collegiate start.
Senior OF Mackenzie Sykes (Blue Springs, Mo.) provided Mizzou’s opening run in the top of the first inning with a double to deep left center, scoring redshirt sophomore SS Sami Fagan(Dunnellon, Fla.) who led off the game with a single over third base.
It took until the top of the seventh inning for Mizzou to add its second run, with sophomore 2B/OF Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) doing the hitting. Crane smacked a single up the middle to bring around redshirt sophomore OF Taylor Gadbois(Maryville, Mo.) from second base. Gadbois was in scoring position after recording her career-best third steal of the game. Gadbois finished the two-game evening batting 4-for-7 (.571).
Finucane pitched a gem for the Tigers, allowing just five hits and issuing zero walks in the win (3-1). The complete game shutout was her second of the 2014 season after pitching 5.0 innings of shutout softball vs. Lipscomb (Feb. 15), an 8-0 run rule victory.
Arizona’s Estela Pinon (2-1) took the loss in the circle, throwing 3.0 innings and surrendering three hits to Mizzou, including Sykes’ RBI double in the first.
The Tigers started their second game of the night with the opening run against No. 15 Baylor on two doubles. Junior 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.) was Mizzou’s first base runner of the second inning with a one-out double to right center that one-hopped to the fence. With two outs, freshman C Kirsten Mack(Riverside, Calif.) launched a double down the right field line to score Roth for a 1-0 lead.
After yielding three runs to the Bears in the fourth inning, Mizzou answered back with a run in the top of the fifth. A single from Gadbois up the third base line was doubled home by Fagan on a long drive to left field. Fagan batted 3-for-7 over both games, also recording one walk and one stolen base.
Freshman P/OF/1B Casey Stangel(Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) tossed 6.0 innings for Mizzou vs. Baylor, allowing nine hits and just two earned runs in the setback (2-1). BU’s Heather Stearns earned the win with 5.0 innings pitched, with Mizzou knocking around seven hits. Bear hurler Whitney Canion earned a save with 2.0 innings of relief work.
Mizzou continues the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with Fordham (5:30 p.m. CT) and San Diego State (10:30 p.m. CT) on Friday, Feb. 21.
The Tigers’ first home contests of the 2014 season will be against SEC foe Kentucky from March 14-16 at University Field. Season ticket renewals are currently ongoing, along with additional season ticket requests being taken. More information can be found here. Contact the Mizzou Ticket Office by phone at 1-800-CAT-PAWS (573-884-7297 in Mid-Missouri).