THE WEEK IN MISSOURI SPORTS: Softball team beats Texas, Baylor sweeps baseball team

Sunday, April 8, 2012 | 7:43 p.m. CDT

The Missouri softball team won two of three games against No. 3 Texas, while the baseball team lost three straight to streaking Baylor. Also, the football team returned to spring practice, and gymnast Rachel Updike lengthened her already remarkable freshman season.

Softball team tops Texas

Pitcher Chelsea Thomas started all three games for No. 12 Missouri against No. 3 Texas in Austin. Thomas and the Tigers clinched the series Saturday with a 2-0 shutout victory. Missouri moved to 30-6 overall and 9-3 in the Big 12 Conference, tied for second with the Longhorns and behind Oklahoma.

The weekend didn't start well for Thomas — she gave up five runs in the fifth inning Thursday, and Missouri fell to Texas 9-3.  Texas's victory extended its home game winning streak to 20.

Thomas wasn't at her best Friday, either, but this time the Tigers rallied late to win 11-4. The game had been tied 4-4 in the seventh inning when junior Lindsey Muller hit a double to right center that drove in freshman Ashtin Stephens. Freshman Corrin Genovese hit a three-run home run later in the inning.

Thomas, who won her 10th Big 12 Pitcher of the Week earlier in the week, is now 16-4 with a 0.97 ERA this season. Missouri will next play Northern Iowa (27-9) on Wednesday in Columbia. Northern Iowa is undefeated in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Baseball team swept by Baylor

Missouri had its chances to beat No. 10 Baylor, the last being a four-run lead it built against the Bears on Saturday. 

Then the Tigers gave back all four runs in the sixth inning and a home run in the seventh, eventually falling 12-7. Baylor won all three games of the series, extending its winning streak to 14 games and its conference record to 12-0. Missouri fell to 16-14 overall and 3-6 in the Big 12.

In the first game of the series, Missouri pitcher Rob Zastryzny threw 124 pitches but gave up 3 runs in the sixth inning. The offense could not support him, and the Tigers lost 3-1.

They couldn't get anything going offensively in the second game on Friday, either, and  lost to Baylor 5-3, its fifth consecutive defeat decided by two runs or less.

Missouri will play Arkansas-Little Rock at 4 p.m. Tuesday before traveling to Busch Stadium in St. Louis to take on Illinois at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Football team returns to practice

After enjoying a week off during spring break, the Missouri football team resumed spring practices on Tuesday.

Many players are still recovering from injuries, including quarterback James Franklin and running back Henry Josey, and yet another projected offensive starter went down when tight end Eric Waters tore his MCL on Thursday. During Saturday's scrimmage, though, quarterback Corbin Berkstresser had his most impressive performance of the spring, completing 18 of 31 passes 255 yards.

Half of the Southeastern Conference officiating crew attended the scrimmage to meet the Missouri coaching staff and go over what kind of penalties they should expect this upcoming season (Missouri officially joins the conference on July 1).

The Black and Gold spring game is this Saturday, April 14. The team's highly-anticipated new uniforms will be debuted.

In other Missouri sports news...

The Missouri gymnastics team finished fourth at the NCAA regional in Fayetteville, Ark., but freshman Rachel Updike earned the last spot to the individual national championship April 20 to 22 at Georgia Tech's Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.

The top two teams from each regional and the top-two all-around competitors who are not on an advancing team make it to the national competition. Updike finished sixth in the all-around with a 39.35.

Missouri swimmer Shara Stafford won the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award after placing at the 2012 National Championships.

Stafford, a senior transfer from Stanford, ends her one-year career at Missouri with the school record in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 100 fly and the 200 individual medley.

The Missouri basketball team is still getting over its shocking loss to Norfolk State in the NCAA Tournament, but a group of incoming transfers and recruits and the return of forward Laurence Bowers from a knee injury will give the Tigers a competitive advantage in the SEC.

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