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Missouri softball loses fourth consecutive game

Saturday, May 2, 2009 | 7:28 p.m. CDT; updated 8:38 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 2, 2009
Micaela Minner slides into second base as Whitney Barrett attempts to get her out during the MU women's softball game against Nebraska on Saturday May 2. The Tigers lost to the Cornhuskers 6-2.

COLUMBIA — Andee Allen, a senior second baseman on the Missouri softball team, said Saturday her team hasn't really had a low point this season.

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Until now.

The Tigers lost their fourth consecutive game, all against Big 12 teams, falling 6-1 to Nebraska at University Field.

"Usually that happens to people, and this is not a good time for this to happen," Allen said. "I think we’re just at a little bit of a low point, but the only place we have to go from here is up. So I think we’re going to bounce back from this.”

Prior to its current losing streak, No. 13 Missouri (41-9, 11-6 in the Big 12) had lost consecutive games only once this season. And all four losses have been at home, where Missouri had lost only two games all year.

After missing the opportunity to win at least part of the conference title last weekend against Oklahoma, Missouri could now lose its No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.

The Sooners clinched the regular-season Big 12 title Thursday with a victory over Oklahoma State.

“They act the same, and I don’t have a feel for anything different, but we’re not swinging the bats well," Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said when asked if he thought the team was starting to feel the pressure of the losing streak. "It’s not a secret. We’re not hitting like we were three weeks ago, and usually when that’s the case it’s because you’re pressing. You’re tying to do a little bit more than what you’re capable of doing."

Allen scored Missouri's only run in the bottom of the fifth inning when she singled with one out. She later scored on a error by Nebraska catcher Amanda Duran, whose attempt to catch Allen stealing third base went into the outfield.

The Tigers, who lead the Big 12 in hitting and rank eighth nationally in scoring, have scored an average of almost 6 1/2 runs per game this season but have averaged just two runs a game during their losing streak.

"We’re really good hitters, obviously that’s talked about a lot," Allen said. "We are. We’re great hitters. We’ve shown that all year, so offensively there’s no way that we’re going to stay down. No way.”

Missouri will play its final regular-season game against the Huskers at noon Sunday before playing in the Big 12 tournament next weekend, so there is little time for the team to solve whatever problems are plaguing them.

“If you look at how this happened, you can’t really put a finger on it. There wasn’t one play. There wasn’t one team meeting," Earleywine said.

Senior Stacy Delaney, who along with Allen and three other seniors was honored after the game on Senior Day, gave up all six runs on seven hits in six innings for the loss.

Like Allen, she said she thinks the best days of the season are still ahead in the postseason.

 

“I really do," Delaney said. "We still believe in each other. We still believe that we can do it. We still believe in all of our goals, so it’s just the process of making it happen.”

Earleywine, though, admitted he was concerned about his team's response to equaling its longest losing streak in his three years at Missouri.

"There’s concern, and it’s also fairly interesting to me. Because as far as what I can do, it’s very limited," Earleywine said. "But it’s interesting to see, 'OK, how are they going to respond?' We’ve got some kids in the lineup that haven’t been through this ever. How are they going to come through it or are they this year at all? ... I hope they handle it and come through it, but there’s no guarantees of it. There really aren’t.”


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