COLUMBIA – Jogging around the bases, Angela Randazzo smiled. She kept a straight face the past two times she touched them all, but on her third home run of the day, she let the joy show.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve never done that before,’” Randazzo said. “I’ve gotten two home runs in a game before, but not three in two games, so I was like, ‘I’m going to smile.’”
Randazzo hit two home runs in Game 1 of Missouri’s (20-2, 7-1 SEC) doubleheader against South Carolina (18-13, 1-8 SEC), and then hit a three-run shot in Game 2. Each home run was hit to a different part of the field. Randazzo contributed to nine total runs in the Tigers’ 12-3 and 8-0 run-ruled victories.
The sophomore currently leads the team in RBIs with 31 and now has six home runs this season, easily surpassing her 2012 total of two.
“Angie’s on fire,” Tigers sophomore Corrin Genovese said. “I give that girl props.”
Randazzo’s slow start her freshman year troubled MU coach Ehren Earleywine, who recruited the third baseman after seeing her hit home runs off top high school recruits.
“Kids that were committed to UCLA and Washington and Arizona State, and every time we went to watch Angie play, she’d hit those kids out of the park,” Earleywine said. “Last year, I think she hit .270 with five home runs and we were thinking, ‘I wonder if we just saw her on her good days.’”
Now as a sophomore, Randazzo is more experienced at the plate.
“Definitely more comfortable, my nerves aren’t there anymore,” Randazzo said. “I’m pretty much confident.”
Randazzo’s confidence has brought a new spot in the Tigers' lineup. For the past six games, Earleywine has put Randazzo fourth in the lineup to protect Tigers power hitter Nicole Hudson. Randazzo says she is feeling the effects of pitchers pitching around Hudson.
“Nicole is an amazing hitter, so fourth hitter, you’re going to expect Nicole to get walked and you’re going to have to be put in that position because no one wants to pitch to Nicole,” Randazzo said at practice Thursday. “So I pretty much expect to be pitched to after Nicole.”
Last week, when Georgia Tech intentionally walked Hudson to get to Missouri's cleanup hitter, Randazzo hit a grand slam.
“It felt great,” Randazzo said.
After Earleywine thought that Kelsea Roth couldn’t handle the pressure of batting fourth, he moved Randazzo up and thought it would be the perfect position for his relaxed player with a “surfer girl” mentality.
“She’s just real laid-back, and she’s hard to get excited, and so I think bolting her into the 4-hole kind of jumped her blood pressure up a little bit,” Earleywine said. “It’s almost as if she needs to switch gears once.”
Since moving to fourth in the lineup, Randazzo has batted .500 (8-for-16) with 13 RBIs in seven games.
“The message to her before the spring started was, 'You’re going to have to do something extraordinary to get in this lineup,' and she’s doing the extraordinary right now,” Earleywine said.