IOWA CITY - The Missouri softball team is just one victory away from advancing to the super-regional round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in 14 years.
The Tigers defeated regional top seed Long Beach State 5-3 Saturday in Iowa City and will now play in the regional championship tomorrow against Iowa at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Iowa, who Missouri defeated 3-2, in eight innings Friday night, will have to defeat Missouri in back-to-back games in order to advance in the double-elimination tournament.
“I thought the important thing for us was that we didn’t strike out very much,” said Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine in a press release. “What happened was we put the ball in play quite a bit and that really gave us a chance and that to me really ended up summarizing the game.”
After putting the ball in play, Missouri’s offense was aided by five Long Beach State errors.
“I give Missouri credit,” said Long Beach State coach Kim Sowder. “They definitely took advantage of our mistakes and found a way to put some runs on the board.”
Amanda Renth, who hit the tying two-RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning against Iowa Friday, had another big day at the plate for the Tigers.
The senior was 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, including a two-run home run. The home run was the 20th for Renth this season.
“I thought the team came out this morning and was really ready to go for the most part,” said Renth. “We’ve had some times where we’ve come out a little sluggish. I thought we came out well and swung the bats, which was important.”
Jen Bruck (17-9) was awarded the win after giving up one run in the first 4 1/3 innings against the 49ers. Stacy Delaney, who pitched all eight innings of Friday night’s victory, got her second save of the season by pitching the final 2 2/3 innings.
Renth was optimistic about her team’s chance to advance past the regional round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994.
“I definitely feel like we can and I know we would love to do it,” she said. “So we’ll come out and swing the bats like we did and see what happens.”