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MU softball defeats Liberty, rallies late against Oklahoma State to stay undefeated

{child_byline}Tyler Hollins{/child_byline}

On the second day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational in Clearwater, Florida, Missouri softball showcased its resilience.

Missouri improved to 8-0 with wins over Liberty and No. 16 Oklahoma State and is undefeated through its first eight games for the first time since 2014.

The Tigers defeated Liberty 5-4 to begin the day.

Sophie Dandola got the start for Missouri against Liberty, her first of the season. This was the first game this season that Missouri didn’t start one of its three freshmen in the rotation. Dandola held Liberty to one run in her 4⅓ innings pitched. Dandola avoided making any crucial mistakes and prevented Liberty from getting runners in scoring position consistently, only giving up one extra base hit.

Brooke Wilmes kicked off the scoring for Missouri with a solo home run to left field in the third inning. Kendyll Bailey broke the tie in the sixth with a single up the middle, scoring two runs. The Tigers would pick up two more necessary insurance runs in the seventh inning, converting on multiple Liberty errors.

Jordan Weber recorded the win for Missouri. Weber started off strong, retiring the first six batters she faced. However, she struggled to close things out. She began to lose her control in the seventh inning, throwing a wild pitch and walking a batter. Weber gave up a three-run home run to Liberty first baseman Autumn Bishop with two outs in the seventh inning that shrunk the Tigers’ lead to one. However, Eli Daniel came on in relief and retired the final batter to give Missouri the victory.

Missouri survived a difficult game with No. 16 Oklahoma State in its second matchup of the day. The Tigers were able to rally late for a 3-2 win in extra innings.

Megan Schumacher took the circle for Missouri against Oklahoma State and struggled early on with the Cowboys lineup. Her command in the first inning was lacking, throwing a wild pitch, hitting a batter and walking in an Oklahoma State run with the bases loaded. Schumacher was able to find her command as the game went on, not allowing another run in her six innings pitched.

After the Cowboys got another run in the sixth inning off a fielder’s choice, the Tigers needed to get something going in the seventh inning if they wanted to avoid their first loss. Missouri responded in a big way, as two runners scored on a Kendyll Bailey groundout and subsequent throwing error to home plate by Oklahoma State.

In extra innings, both teams by rule began the eighth with a runner on second. Missouri capitalized, as Imani Myint scored off a wild pitch by Oklahoma State’s Kelly Maxwell. Three of Missouri’s five hits came in the seventh and eighth innings.

Daniel recorded the win for Missouri, as she continued her hot start to the season. Daniel struck out five batters in just two innings pitched. She hasn’t given up an earned run in her six appearances this season.

{p class=”x_MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle”}Prior to Friday, Missouri had yet to play a one-run game. Both of Friday’s games were one-run victories.

{p class=”x_MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst”}“I’m just so impressed with our team’s fight,” head coach Larissa Anderson said in a news release. “They had the grit and resolve to keep fighting. Their never-say-die attitude allowed them to scrape and score runs anyway they possible could. I thought Megan Schumacher had a great overall outing.”

The Tigers will take on Virginia Tech at noon and No. 20 James Madison at 5 p.m. Saturday in the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.

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