COLUMBIA — Junior Stacy Delaney pitched a five-inning no-hitter to lead the MU softball team to victory in its first home game of the season Wednesday at Dan Devine Pavilion.
Delaney (4-2) struck out seven, walked two and hit two batters in the 10-0 win over Saint Louis University. Her two losses this season have come against nationally-ranked teams — No. 24 Virginia Tech and No. 4 UCLA.
The University of Michigan transfer, in her first season with the Tigers, admitted she thinks about challenging Jen Bruck and Jana Hainey, Missouri’s top two returning pitchers, for the No. 1 spot in the rotation.
“You don’t talk about it because they are your teammates,” Delaney said, “but all three of us are out to beat each other, which in the end will make each of us better because we’ll all be fighting for that spot.”
Bruck and Hainey combined to pitch a shutout in the second game of the doubleheader, a 6-0 MU victory.
MU coach Ehren Earleywine said he hadn’t thought about a specific rotation for his pitchers at this point in the season, but he was impressed by Delaney’s performance.
“Kids take funny looking swings off her,” he said, “and I think it’s because her movement is really rare, it really is. None of her pitches stay on the same plane. It is so rare to see college softball players do that.”
In her two seasons at Michigan, Delaney was successful but was used sparingly as the Wolverines advanced to NCAA Super Regionals in consecutive seasons.
As a freshman in 2006, Delaney was 3-1 in 35 1/3 innings pitched with a 1.78 ERA. She was slowed by a hip injury at the beginning of the 2007 season and didn’t record a decision in just 12 2/3 innings pitched. She was credited with one save and had a 1.11 ERA.
“It was frustrating,” she said about her time at Michigan. “I threw for so many years of my life and then approaching the summer, I had been thinking am I going to get to throw, am I not going to get to throw, and that’s when I made my decision to go somewhere where I would get a lot more pitching time.”
Senior Amanda Renth, who had surgery on Friday after breaking her nose on Feb. 16 when she was struck in the face with a foul ball while standing on deck, returned to the Missouri lineup Wednesday. She went 2-for-3 with a home run and had three RBI in the first game.
Earleywine said he didn’t know if Renth would be able to play until game time.
“The next step is really getting her to be able to play defense so that we can use Bruck as a (designated hitter) and keep her off first base, because I think Renth is a little better defensively,” he said. “At the end of the day I was happy just to have her bat back in the lineup.”
The Tigers will host the Tiger Invitational this weekend when Boston University and South Dakota State visit Columbia in the three-day event.