COLUMBIA — Andee Allen was admittedly angry. She thought she should have turned an inning-ending double play for the MU softball team that would have prevented Baylor from taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
She was standing at the plate, down in the count 0-2, and getting frustrated with the umpire’s seemingly erratic strike zone.
So the Tiger second baseman did something she’s done only a few times in her career.
She hit a home run.
The second-inning blast, which gave Missouri a 2-1 lead, was just the fourth in the 5-foot-3 junior’s career.
“It was actually not a good situation to be in,” Allen said. “I was 0-2, so I wasn’t being too selective, whatever was kind of in the strike zone I was going to try to hit. That one just happened to be a little higher up in the zone, so (the pitcher) kind of put it in a good place to hit it out.”
The unexpected power display propelled Missouri to a 8-3 victory over the Bears Saturday at University Field. “It was kind of a uninspiring, unexciting game,” MU coach Ehren Earleywine said. “Andee really sparked us in that second inning with that home run. I thought that kind of got our wheels turning. We seemed like we were a little flat in the first, but their run in the first and Andee’s home run in the second kind of woke us up a little bit.”
Jen Bruck (16-7) picked up the complete game victory for the Tigers. As is usually the case, Bruck provided a harsh critique of her performance after the game.
“It was all right,” she said. “Any time a team scores and I don’t shut them down, I’m not really happy with my performance. But I got the win, and that’s what we were going for.”
The senior, who probably started her final game at University Field on Saturday in front of a season-high 572 fans, did not get sentimental after the game.
“I don’t worry about that stuff,” she said. “I’m here to play, play as long as I can, so I don’t try to worry about the outside factors. I try to worry about the game at hand.”
Although the team has been mathematically eliminated from winning the Big 12 regular season championship, accumulating conference wins is important to extending Bruck’s career and Missouri’s season. Saturday’s victory, coupled with Texas’s loss to No. 8 Oklahoma, puts the Tigers two games ahead of the Longhorns in the loss column for third place in the Big 12 with only three conference games left.
“If you stay at third place in the Big 12, there’s a good chance you’re going to get a two seed in a (NCAA) regional tournament and there’s also a better chance of playing a beatable team in the first round of the conference tournament,” Earleywine said. “That’s kind of what we’re playing for now.”
Missouri (43-13, 10-5 in the Big 12) will face Baylor again at noon today in its final home game of the season. The price of admission has been reduced to $2 for the game, and the team will host a skills clinic after the game for the first 75 children under the age of 14 to enter the stadium.