Bruck struggles, but MU softball wins doubleheader

Pitcher Jen Bruck was unhappy with her performance despite being credited with a win in her team’s second victory on Saturday.
Saturday, March 1, 2008 | 10:30 p.m. CST; updated 2:26 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Andee Allen of the MU softball team is tagged out by Tyler Benson as she slides into second base during play against Boston University.

COLUMBIA — Jen Bruck did not look like a pitcher who had just won a game. She stared off into the distance, never allowed herself a smile and had little to say.

The Missouri softball team had just defeated Boston University 7-6 behind Lindsey Ubrun’s seventh-inning home run, but Bruck wasn’t enjoying the victory because of her struggles both at the plate and in the field. Still, the Tigers improved to 14-6 after winning two games Saturday afternoon at Dan Devine Pavilion,

“It was a not-pretty win,” she said, “but it’s a win, so that’s pretty much all I have to say.”

The senior all-Big 12 Conference performer, who has excelled as both a hitter and pitcher in her career, gave up six runs to Boston (2-6) in six innings, including three in her final inning of work. She walked two batters in the sixth, and it was her own throwing error that allowed the tying run to score.

Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said Bruck tired in the inning.

“That’s the nice thing about this early season stuff,” he said, “you can identify some of the weaknesses you have, and we talked about it after the game. She just needs to make a better effort of getting in shape so she can finish games for us.”

Bruck, however, said she didn’t feel like her fitness was the problem.

“No, I mean I’m throwing a drop ball that’s not working, and I just keep throwing it,” she said. “I mean, I don’t know. How do you make something work that’s not working?”

Bruck was also unable to make her swing work, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the team’s 3-1 victory over South Dakota State (4-8) earlier in the day before being replaced by a designated hitter against the Terriers. She has failed to get a hit in seven at-bats in the Tiger Invitational.

“Not really much to say,” Bruck said. “I’m struggling, that’s the point.”

Earleywine, who moved Bruck down in the lineup from third to fifth, said Bruck’s problems at the plate can be corrected.

“No. 1 we’ve got to go back to the batting cages and address a couple mechanical things that I’ve seen. Hitting is such a confidence and such a contagious thing. Once she gets a hit or two, hopefully she’ll bounce out of that,” he said.

Ubrun, who replaced Bruck hitting third, put the Tigers back in the lead by homering with one out in the top of the seventh while Jana Hainey was credited with a save after pitching a perfect bottom half of the inning.

“Big players make big plays,” Earleywine said when asked about Ubrun, “and she’s proven that she’s a big player for us, and she’s going to get key hits for us all year long like that.”

MU will face BU again at 9 a.m. today in the finale of the Tiger Invitational.

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