COLUMBIA — While having a double-digit winning streak was no big deal to the Missouri softball team, the chance to equal or break a school record was. The Tigers fell one win short of tying a team record that has stood since 1995 when their 19-game winning streak was broken by Bradley University in a 5-4 loss Wednesday at University Field.
“I know we didn’t want to think about it a lot,” junior third baseman Lindsey Ubrun said. “We just wanted to think about winning games, but we’re a little upset. You always want to, when a record is up, do you best to try to get there and we didn’t.”
Senior pitcher Jen Bruck, who was scheduled to pitch the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, lamented her chance to make history.
“It’s disappointing that I didn’t get the chance,” Bruck said. “There’s nothing we can do about it now. We just need to start the winning streak over.”
Playing in the first game as the designated hitter, Bruck did her part to keep the streak alive. The senior was 2-for-2, including a solo home run that tied the game in the third inning.
After falling behind again in the top of the inning, Missouri took the lead in the bottom of the fifth on Rhea Taylor’s two-run double.
However, Taylor’s second error of the game in centerfield helped Bradley retake the lead in the sixth.
The Tigers, though, got another chance to win the game. The team sent its No. 3 and 4 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with the tying run on second base, but Bradley pitcher Ashley Birdsong struck out Ubrun and induced a fly ball from Amanda Renth to give her team the victory.
Poorly managed at-bats, more than errors or anything else, led to the loss, said Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine.
“We took pitches down the middle and swung at pitches up in our eyes,” he said, “and if you just reverse that, not only do (we) win that game, it’s a blowout.”
Bruck made sure the team started a new winning streak in second game, pitching a complete-game shutout in a 6-0 Tigers win. Julie Silver led the team offensively, going 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Missouri will start conference play Friday at home against Oklahoma State. Earleywine said the Tigers must put Wednesday’s loss behind them before they take the field.
“The thing that we have to do for this weekend going into Big 12 is forget about what happened today,” he said. ”All the frustration and disappointment that happened with not breaking the streak has to be put aside, and we have to get on with business on Friday and Saturday because Oklahoma State’s not going to feel sorry for us.”