Missouri is a member of softball’s Sweet 16 after another comeback win over host Iowa on Sunday in NCAA regional play at Bob Pearl Stadium in Iowa City.
Missouri led 3-1 entering the seventh inning, but Chelsey Carmondy’s three-run home run off Stacy Delaney put the Hawkeyes ahead going into the final half inning.
“Going into the seventh with two outs and giving up the home run, I kind of felt like crap, but then I knew to get that next out and let our offense do their job,” said Delaney in a release.
As they did Friday night against Iowa, the Tigers offense did their job by scoring two runs in bottom of the seventh inning. On Friday, senior Amanda Renth sent the game into extra innings with a two-out double before Lindsey Ubrun ended the game with a home run in the eighth inning.
Sunday it was second baseman Andee Allen who played hero. With the bases loaded, the junior sent a one-out single to center field, giving Missouri a 5-4 victory. Earlier in the inning, the Tigers scored the tying run on Julie Silver’s sacrifice fly.
“I knew they were going to give me something to hit,” Allen said. “I was actually a little frustrated that I swung at the first pitch and it was not a strike, but I knew I was going to get a pitch to hit with the bases loaded with nowhere else to go.”
Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said he was impressed that his team overcame both Iowa’s seventh-inning rally as well as the Hawkeye’s home crowd.
“Obviously it was a very exciting game, and the most important thing that a coach wants from his players is just that they compete and don’t ever give up,” he said. “I was just amazed that we were able to overcome that momentum swing and get a couple runs ourself to win the game. It was just an amazing gut-check for our players and I’m so proud of them for their effort.”
Missouri (47-15) had not advanced past the regional round since 1994 and will get the chance to play in its first NCAA superregional series against Alabama (51-6) beginning Friday at the Alabama Softball Complex in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide, who are the overall No. 3 seed in the tournament, defeated Jacksonville State 4-1 Saturday night in Tuscaloosa to advance.
The winner of next weekend’s best-of-three series will advance to the College World Series in Oklahoma City.