COLUMBIA — Ace Chelsea Thomas returned to form, throwing a strong 11 innings in 90-degree heat, and the Missouri softball team rallied with four runs in the top of the 12th inning to beat LSU 5-1 on Sunday in the second game of the Columbia super regional to force a deciding third game.
The winner of Game 3, which began a half hour after the marathon second game, will advance to the Women's College World Series.
Missouri lost Game 1 on Saturday 6-1 in uncharacteristic fashion with Thomas leaving in the fifth inning after giving up five runs and issuing six walks.
She returned to form Sunday, striking out eight and walking just four in a game that saw her throw 165 pitches. In a classic pitchers' duel, LSU's Brittany Mack struck out a career high 17 Missouri batters while throwing 201 pitches.
However, the LSU defense fell apart behind her in the 12th.
Jenna Marston started out the frame for the Tigers, and after striking out swinging, she reached first base on a passed ball. Ashley Fleming singled and advanced to second on the throw, pushing Marston to third.
LSU intentionally walked Nicole Hudson to load the bases, then Angela Randazzo's dribbler up the third-base line turned into three Missouri runs after a bad throw to home plate to try to catch Marston.
Kayla Kingsley scored Randazzo from third on a fielder's choice for the final run of the inning.
Bailey Erwin came on for Thomas in the bottom of the 12th and retired LSU in order.