COLUMBIA — The MU softball team is now just one win shy of tying a school record of 20 consecutive victories. Not that it cares.
“We really don’t think about it much,” said senior Amanda Renth after the Tigers defeated North Dakota State and Wisconsin on Sunday at University Field. “I know it really hasn’t even hit the back of my mind, but it’s really good to come out here and get some wins all weekend and know that we can win at home.”
After finishing 5-0 at the Mizzou Classicover the weekend, the team now has 12 victories at home this season and no losses.
Renth was a big part of keeping that perfect record in tact against North Dakota State on Sunday. She hit a three-run homer well beyond the right field fence in the opening inning. Then, with the bases empty, sent another ball sailing past the left field foul post in the fourth inning. In her only other at-bat she had an RBI double as the Tigers won 9-0 in five innings.
“I feel like things are starting to come together for me,” Renth said. “I’m staying behind the ball well. I was really happy that I pulled that ball down the line.”
The score wasn’t as lopsided when the Tigers’ streak was threatened by Wisconsin.
Leading 1-0 after four innings, Wisconsin’s Theresa Boruta started the fifth inning with a triple off of Missouri pitcher Jen Bruck. Bruck walked the next batter before sophomore Jana Hainey was called on for relief duty.
The Badgers tied the game with a controversial double down the third base line that MU thought was a foul ball. Hainey, however, preserved the tie by striking out the next three Wisconsin batters.
Hainey said it was difficult to enter the game with the tying run on third base.
“It’s hard, you try to stay in the game as much as you can but when you’re sitting and resting it’s a little hard to keep your focus 100 percent, but when I got the go-ahead to go in in I just had to be ready, so that’s what I was,” she said.
“I have to calm myself down,” Hainey added. “I try to get my adrenaline going and have to breathe a little bit and try to relax myself as much as possible.”
Hainey, though, was confident that the offense would respond.
“They way we’ve been hitting I just knew I had to go in there and shut it down and the team would get some runs for us,” Hainey said.
The Tigers obliged, adding a run in the fifth and and a run in the sixth inning to complete a 3-1 victory.
MU coach Ehren Earleywine said he was glad to see his team win a close game.
“It really kind of woke us up. We had kind of hit cruise control over there, and when they tied it you definitely felt an energy in the dugout,” he said. “It’s a shame that tying the game has to wake you up, but sometimes that’s the reality of coaching 18 to 22 year old kids.”
MU will attempt to both tie and break the school record for consecutive victories, which was set in 1995, when it faces Bradley in a doubleheader at 3 p.m. Wednesday at University Field.