OKLAHOMA CITY – As Missouri's Abby Vock stepped into the batter’s box to start the 11th inning of Saturday night's game against Baylor at the Women's College World Series, fans of both teams stood and cheered simultaneously for the first time all night.
The ovation came in response to a message scribbled on a white sheet of paper, held up by a fan and broadcast on the center-field video board. It read: “Someone Please Score!!!”
“It was an old-fashioned pitchers' duel, the way you love them,” Baylor coach Glenn Moore said. “Unless you’re looking to go to sleep.”
Saturday night’s elimination game saw its first pitch thrown at 8:38 p.m. Its first and only run didn’t cross the plate until 12:03 a.m. In the bottom of the 13th with two outs, Baylor first baseman Holly Holl knocked an 0-2 pitch from Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas over the outfield wall in left center field.
Holl’s home run, her second of the season, gave 11th seed Baylor a 1-0 win against Missouri. The victory kept Baylor’s stint at the Women’s College World Series going and, in turn, brought Missouri’s season to an end.
Thomas, the Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year, who led the country in ERA coming into the World Series, threw a career-high 19 strikeouts for Missouri and allowed seven hits.
“We knew it was going to be a battle going in,” Thomas said. “It just didn’t turn out how we wanted.”
Thomas’ adversary, Whitney Canion of Baylor, struck out 11 and allowed only two hits in the shutout. Missouri’s offense failed to record a hit from the second to 12th innings. Jenna Marston hit a single in the first inning, and Lisa Simmons had another in the 13th.
“As hitters we definitely didn’t do our part,” Missouri senior outfielder Rhea Taylor said.
Missouri advanced to Saturday night’s game with a 4-1 victory against No. 9 Oklahoma earlier in the day. All four Missouri runs came on Oklahoma fielding errors. In that outing, Thomas threw six strikeouts and allowed six hits.
Saturday night’s loss marked the final game for nine Missouri seniors. Their departure was an emotional subject for Tigers coach Ehren Earleywine in the moments after the loss. Earleywine acknowledged the players’ contributions to the program, but was also adamant about how much his relationship with the group meant to him.
“I will be eternally grateful for what they’ve done personally in my life,” Earleywine said. “The thing that’s most important to me now is remembering these seniors.”