Missouri softball squeaks out win over New Mexico, 2-0

Friday, March 12, 2010 | 7:31 p.m. CST; updated 8:31 p.m. CST, Friday, March 12, 2010
Missouri women's softball players roll out the tarp on University Field during a rain delay while playing against New Mexico on Friday. The Tigers won 2-0.

COLUMBIA- The Missouri softball team was out-of-sync in its 2-0 victory against New Mexico (8-12) Friday at University Field in the Children's Hospital Invitational.

New Mexico pitcher Samantha Gaston stymied the Tigers for the first five innings; the Tigers were only able to manage one infield single.

The pace of the game was slow and a rain delay caused the game to last nearly 3 hours. 

Even in victory, Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine described the mood in the dugout as somber. He said the mood may have been caused by the weather. Earleywine was disappointed in the Tigers' performance and said the team "shut down" when the rain started.

"Great teams don't have performances like that," Earleywine said. "To me we just let the emotion of the weather and the day just beat us down. There was a glossed over look in their eye, including a couple of kids I depend on. It's just not acceptable."

Earleywine said outfielder Ashley Fleming was questioning herself after her first two at bats, and she would ask multiple questions. In the middle of the game, Earleywine challenged her to put her questions aside, go out and get a hit.

"I told her I was tired of talking about it [her at-bats]," Earleywine said. "'Grab a bat and go and knock someone's teeth out.' Nobody on our team has higher ceiling than Ashley Fleming. She just needs to stop analyzing and turn that club loose."

Fleming answered Earleywine's challenge in the sixth inning. With the score tied 0-0 and a runner on third, the left-handed batter shot the ball past the third baseman, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Gaston allowed Fleming to score the Tigers' second run and was removed after five and two-thirds innings.

"She was throwing the ball low and away so I knew what to look for," Fleming said. "At the beginning of the game, we were dragging through and just going through the motions. Sometimes it seems we wait till the end of the game [to score runs]."

The Tigers are now on a 12-game winning streak, and their overall record has improved to 14-2. The Tigers' second game against Bradley, scheduled to start at 3 p.m. was postponed and is expected to be played on either Sunday or Monday. The Tigers will play two games on Saturday against San Deigo State at noon and Illinois at 2 p.m.

Former Missouri softball coach makes his return: Former Missouri softball coach Ty Singleton, now the coach for New Mexico made his second appearance against his former team Friday. In 2008, Singleton's Lobos defeated the Tigers 6-4. Singleton coached the Tigers from 2003-2007 and led them to 130-88 record in his four years at Missouri.

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