COLUMBIA — When the Missouri softball team was eliminated by Baylor in the College World Series last season, then-sophomore Lindsey Muller was not on the field.
She was on the bench with her arm in a sling.
Muller's home run was the last of three for the Tigers in the game.
Junior Nicole Hudson hit a solo home run in the second, her third of the year and freshman Corinn Genovese hit solo shot in the third inning, bringing her season total to three as well.
It was the second game in a row Missouri has hit three home runs.
Chelsea Thomas' five shutout innings sent her ERA to a minuscule .64 and her opponents' batting average against her to a similarly small .118.
Friday night at University Field, the No.12 Tigers had their first opportunity at payback against the team that destroyed their hopes of a national championship.
This time Muller, now a junior, was in the lineup, and she made the No. 17 Bears pay.
With a 2-0 lead, two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth inning, Muller came to the plate with an opportunity to end the game.
All-American pitcher Chelsea Thomas (13-3) was on the mound for Missouri, and she was breezing through the Bears lineup, eventually racking up seven strikeouts and allowing only three hits. A bigger lead would probably close the door on any chance of a comeback.
But Muller didn't just close the door. She slammed it.
Muller took Baylor pitcher Courtney Repka's rise ball and delivered it a little more than 190 feet over the left field fence just barely out of the reach of the Bears outfielder Sydney Wilson, who promptly smacked her glove against the fence as the ball caromed in the bleachers making Missouri's lead an insurmountable 6-0.
"As soon as I hit, I knew it hit the barrel and I knew the way the angle was going, it was gone. So I kind of started trotting a little too early," Muller said with an laugh of embarrassment.
But for Muller, the grand slam was more than just another home run. It represented redemption against a rival and a healthy body capable of ending softball games.
"It's a wonderful thing knowing that nothing hurts when I swing," Muller said. "Especially (against) Baylor, having to watch the home run over the fence at the World Series. It meant a lot to get in there and put one over the fence as well."
Missouri (26-5, 5-2 Big 12) is set to play the second game of its three-game series with Baylor (22-10, 1-4 Big 12) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at University Field. Senior Kristin Nottelmann (9-2) is expected to get the start.