COLUMBIA — Bright sunshine and spring-like temperatures did little to warm the mood of MU softball coach Ehren Earleywine on Sunday morning. Even with his team finishing its first weekend home stand 5-0, the frustration with his young team’s slow progress was great, while the satisfaction of victory was minimal.
In their first game outdoors at University Field this season, the Tigers defeated Boston University 12-6. It was the third time the team defeated BU in three days in addition to two victories over South Dakota State.
Earleywine, though, said he was not pleased with his team’s overall performance.
“I feel like we’re 5-0 because we weren’t playing teams in the top tier,” he said. “I think if we would’ve played talented Big 12 teams we would’ve got beat soundly today for sure and maybe one of the games yesterday, so there’s a lot of things that we’re going to have to do a better job at. We played very sloppy softball today. It was unacceptable.”
MU scored 10 runs in the third inning, four of which came on a grand slam by Lindsey Ubrun. It was her second home run of the day and third in her last two games.
“At one point I think we had 12 runs on six hits, and that’s good to see because we’re finally stringing (hits) together,” Ubrun said. “Those big innings are always great for momentum.”
The Terriers generated some momentum two innings later when Missouri pitcher Stacy Delaney replaced Jana Hainey. Hainey had given up just one run in the first four innings of the game. Delaney, who Earleywine called the ace of the pitching staff Saturday, promptly gave up five runs. She was pitching for the third consecutive day partly because she struck out a career-high 14 against BU on Friday and partly to test her endurance.
“I still think she can go three days in a row,” Earleywine said. “But I’ll be honest with you, I don’t feel like she was ready mentally to play today. I felt like when she walked out there it looked like she was under the understanding that all she had to do was step on the circle and she was going to strike everybody out.”
Earleywine also questioned the preparation of the rest of his team. Although Missouri was not credited with any errors in the game, several catchable balls fell to the ground as a strong wind swept through the stadium.
“I just think, as a student of the game, before the game if you’ve got to take another 10 or 15 fly balls to figure the wind out then that’s what you’ve got to do,” Earlywine said. “And I’m not sure that we did that and, if we did, we didn’t make adjustments like we needed to.”
The team’s 12-run outburst was its highest scoring total of the season and was the game’s lone bright spot according to Earleywine.
“There are some very positive things offensively that we can take into (our next game),” he said. “But there are some things with consistency, on defense and on the mound, that we’re going to have to address, or we’re going to be a pretty average team.”