COLUMBIA — The Missouri softball team had lots to celebrate after advancing to the finals of the NCAA Tournament for the for the second straight season.
Now, the Tigers hope to give their fans another chance to cheer for the team at a send-off Tuesday afternoon.
Missouri extended its season over the weekend with a sweep of Oregon in the super regional round of the NCAA tournament at University Field. The Tigers beat the Ducks 7-2 on Sunday to clinch the best of three series and earn a spot in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Missouri (51-11) advances to play Hawaii (49-14) in a game set for noon Thursday. Hawaii slipped past top-ranked Alabama to earn its berth.
The Tigers plan to leave Columbia for Oklahoma City at 2 p.m. Tuesday and will board their bus in front of the east entrance to the Missouri Athletics Training Complex. Fans are invited to gather at the MATC, at Stadium and Providence, at about 1:45 p.m. to see the team off.
After Sunday’s victory, Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said the team is trying to bring a different attitude into this season’s finals.
“... We need to reset our goals,” Earleywine said.
“Last year, our goal was to get to the World Series, and it was my fault once we got there that I never sat the team back down and said ‘OK we’re here now, so let’s reset our goals and win some games.’”
But now you’re one year smarter. I’m better for that, and a lot of our players from last year will make some adjustments too.”
No. 16 Hawaii upset top overall seed Alabama with a two-run walk-off home run by junior Jenna Rodriguez for a 5-4 victory in the third game of its super regional.
The Rainbows have been on the road for 24 days after playing in the WAC tournament in New Mexico, at Stanford in the NCAA regional round and in the super regionals in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Thursday’s WCWS opener game will be televised by ESPN and can also be viewed online at ESPN3.com.
The winner of the Missouri-Hawaii matchup will advance to meet the winner of the UCLA-Florida game in double elimination bracket play that leads to a best-of-three championship series.