COLUMBIA — The usually smiling Emily Crane didn’t look happy in the top of the eighth inning Thursday. The go-ahead Washington run was on second base because of an errant throw by Missouri first baseman Kelsea Roth that soared past Crane, who was covering first.
“It’s always that one little mistake that costs you because it’s such a close ballgame,” Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said.
Just 30 minutes earlier, Crane couldn’t get the grin off her face. She scored a run in the sixth to give Missouri a 1-0 lead. Missouri was just three outs away with Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year Chelsea Thomas in the circle.
But Washington wasn’t ready to end the game just yet.
With runners on first and third with no outs, Shawna Wright came up to bat for the Huskies in the top of the seventh. The ball flew off her bat and hit the edge of Princess Krebs’ glove, dribbling into the outfield. Tie game.
Missouri was quiet in the bottom of the seventh, and the game was sent into extra innings. A single after the Roth error and the Huskies took the lead for the first time all night.
For 5 1/2 innings, both the Huskies' and Tigers' bats were quiet, with just four hits between the two teams. Ground out after ground out, Thomas and Washington pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby sent batters angrily back to the dugout.
The bottom of the eighth was no better than the first five innings for Missouri. 1-2-3 and the Tigers were down in order. Most of the Missouri players and coaches expected to win this game, their stunned faces just stared at the celebrating Huskies.
“Obviously we’re disappointed. I thought Chelsea pitched a good enough game to win the game tonight,” Earleywine said.
Thomas allowed just two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts, but Missouri’s offense could only get one runner past second base.
“I feel like our team will make the adjustments tomorrow, and we’ve got six seniors that aren’t ready to be done,” Thomas said.
Now Missouri has to win two straight games Friday if it wants to advance to the Women’s College World Series. The first game is set for 5 p.m. If Missouri wins, it will force a third game at 8 p.m.
“I feel like I’m ready to throw two games tomorrow,” Thomas said after throwing 119 pitches Thursday.