Missouri softball completes perfect weekend with two run-rule wins

Sunday, March 11, 2012 | 7:36 p.m. CDT; updated 9:25 p.m. CDT, Sunday, March 11, 2012
Senior pitcher Kristin Nottelmann pitches during the first inning against Northern Illinois on Sunday at University Field during the DeMarini Invitational. The Tigers finished 6-0 for the tournament.

COLUMBIA — On a day when rain wreaked havoc on the schedule of the Missouri softball team, the pieces started to fall into place for Corrin Genovese. 

Although the Tigers had to play their first game inside Devine Pavilion and their second in the rain at University Field, Genovese kick-started the team's offense with a lead-off home run. She finished the day 3-for-5 with two walks and three RBIs. 

The No. 12 Tigers finished the DeMarini Invitational with six run-rule wins in six games after a 9-0 victory over Alcorn State and an 8-0 win over Northern Illinois on Sunday. 

Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine decided to put Genovese, a freshman, in the lead-off spot for the second time this season, a decision which paid dividends immediately.

"You just never know what moving a kid in the order is going to do for them," he said. "She's a kid that always seems to respond to being put in the limelight, so I put her in the one spot and she jumped all over it."

Genovese, who batted lead-off throughout high school and on her travel team, said she felt comfortable at the top of the order.

"As long as I'm in that nine, I'm comfortable, but I definitely prefer one or two," Genovese said. "I just feel like a spark plug for the team, and I feel like that could be a good role for me."

With Missouri set to begin Big 12 Conference play against Kansas next weekend, Earleywine is left with the decision of whether Genovese or junior Jenna Marston should be the regular lead-off hitter. 

Earleywine said he has narrowed his team down to about 12 players who will be the main contributors going forward, but is still making decisions regarding four or five players. 

In addition to Genovese, freshman Kelsi Jones busted out of a slump with two home runs in the opening game. 

The coach said he was encouraged by his team's performance on a dreary Sunday.

"It's tough to get up for a day like today," he said. "You're playing teams you know you should beat. It's rainy. It's wet. Nobody's here. There were a couple kids that performed really well today, and if you can perform well on days like today, that says something about your energy levels, your motivation."

With the win, Missouri improves to 16-3. The Tigers will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for a midweek game against Arkansas before returning home to take on the Jayhawks. The Tigers and Razorbacks will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday. 

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