The No. 11 Missouri softball team wouldn't go down easy against No. 22 Texas A&M.
Trailing 5-1 in the seventh inning, the Tigers would score four runs to tie the game at 5. But in the bottom of the seventh Missouri pitcher Jana Hainey walked two batters before surrendering the game-winning hit to Rhiannon Kliesing. The Aggies won 6-5 Sunday in College Station, Texas.
"The girls made a good comeback," Missouri softball coach Ehren Earleywine said by phone. "We had our opportunities to win."
The Tigers got back into the game in the seventh with a two-run home run by Missouri junior Marla Schweisberger and a game-tying single from pinch hitter Kathryn Poet.
The Tigers were behind 2-1 in the sixth inning. Freshman Jenna Marston and sophomore Ashley Fleming lead off the inning with back-to-back hits giving the Tigers runners at third and second base with no one out. Missouri squandered the opportunity to score, hitting two fly balls and a ground out to end the inning.
"That inning was the biggest difference in the game," Earleywine said. "We went out a little deflated gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning. But that's just the way it goes sometimes."
The Tigers did not get a hit until the fifth inning, a single from Missouri junior Rhea Taylor, extending her hitting streak to 11 games.
Texas A&M pitcher Melissa Dumezich pitched a complete game, allowing four earned runs, on seven hits and three walks. She struck out two. Earleywine was not impressed by the right-hander.
"She was a very average pitcher," Earleywine said. "It wasn't anything she did to us it was more of what our hitters did to themselves. We had good hitting counts, 1-0 and 2-0, and swung at bad pitches. We just let her off the hook. I give her little to no credit."
Texas A&M catcher Meagan May's presence was felt Sunday. She came into the game leading the Big 12 Conference with 18 home runs. She hit two solo home runs off Missouri pitcher Kristin Nottelmann who surrended four runs (three unearned) and six hits and struck out five batters in 5 1/3 innings. The Tigers would walk her on four pitches in the seventh innings advancing a runner into scoring position before the Aggies got the game winning hit.
"It was our toughest decision, to either walk her or pitch to her knowing she would need a double or home run to score the runner from first," Earleywine said.
Hainey (7-1) got her first loss of the season. She pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief giving up two runs and two hits including a two-run home run in the sixth inning.
Missouri (36-9, 6-6) will play a doubleheader against Iowa State (25-23, 3-9) starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Ames, Iowa.
"This is the best Iowa State team I've seen since I coached here," Earleywine said. "If we get anything but a sweep we will be disappointed."