COLUMBIA — To call the Missouri softball team's win over Oregon wooly would be an understatement.
The game took nine-innings and three hours to decide, and included invoking a rule to speed up its conclusion. But in the end, No. 12 Missouri prevailed 8-7 at the the San Diego Classic.
Oregon struck first in the bottom of the second inning when right fielder Kelsey Chambers scored on a bases-loaded single by second baseman Ashley Kivett. Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas got out of the inning by striking out Blair Williamson and Neena Bryant.
No. 12 Missouri took the lead in the top of the next inning. Centerfielder Rhea Taylor singled to lead off the top of the third and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. First baseman Ashley Fleming reached second base and brought Taylor home after a fielding error by Ashley Kivett. Micaela Minner then doubled to centerfield to bring in Fleming, who was the second unearned run of the inning for Oregon pitcher Samantha Skillingstad.
The Tigers added to their lead in the top of the fifth with two more runs, taking what seemed to be a solid lead at 4-1. The game got wild after that when Oregon exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
It all started when Oregon shortstop Sara-Jane Jenkins reached on a bunt single and advanced to second when Monique Fuiava reached base on a fielder's choice. A ground out by Kelsey Chambers was followed up by a Chelsea Thomas walk issued to Oregon catcher Kaitlin Vitek to load the bases for Oregon.
A catcher's interference on Missouri's Megan Chrisptopher call put pinch-hitter Brittany Rumfelt on base brought in Jenkins for the first run. Oregon then brought in a two pinch-runners, Shelley Deadmond for Vitek at second and Cortney Kivett for Rumfelt at first. A fielding error by Missouri shortstop Gina Schneider allowed Fuiava to score.
Missouri pitcher then allowed a triple Kivett to right field that would clear the bases for Oregon to give the Ducks a 6-4 lead.
The Tigers tied the game at 6-6 in the top of the seventh inning on a pinch-hit homerun by Julie Silver to left field. Chelsea Thomas kept the ducks off the board in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extra innings.
As the extra frame began, a rule calling for the last out of the previous inning to be placed at second base was put into play. It meant that Rhea Taylor started the inning on second for the Tigers. After advancing on a groundout, Taylor pulled off a bold move when she stole home base to give the Tigers a 7-6 advantage.
Again, Oregon would not go away. Cortney Kivett scored on a fielder's choice after being placed on second base to open the bottom of the eighth.
Finally, Missouri took the lead for good in the top of the ninth inning on Lindsey Ubrun single that brought in Kristin Nottleman to give Missouri an 8-7 lead. Missouri relief pitcher Jana Hainey ended the marathon game by striking out Oregon's Ashley Kivett with runners on first and second.