Missouri softball opens strong with sophomore Sami Fagan

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | 8:03 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — On the first weekend of the season, Missouri shortstop Sami Fagan went 5-15 with five RBIs and three runs scored, earning all-tournament honors at the Baylor University's Getterman Classic, where the Tigers went 4-1.

"The exciting part for Sami is that if you asked her, 'How'd you do over the weekend?' she'd probably curl her lip up and say, 'Eh, I did OK,'" Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said.

Mary Nutter Classic

No. 16 Missouri heads to Cathedral City, Calif., for the Mary Nutter Classic. They started the season 4-1 at Baylor's Getterman Classic, falling only to now No. 15 Baylor.

The Tigers will start the tournament off against No. 14 Arizona at 8 p.m. Thursday, followed by a rematch with Baylor at 10:30 p.m. They'll face Fordham at 5:30 p.m. and San Diego State at 10:30 p.m. Friday. They'll finish the tournament against No. 8 UCLA at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.


And he was right.

"I didn't do as well as I wanted to," Fagan said.

The sophomore shortstop has high standards after batting .378 as a freshman at Florida and then sitting out last season because of transfer rules.

Fagan and her sister, Kasey, were both released from the Gators after the 2012 season. Florida did not comment at the time about why the players were released, and Fagan declined to comment this week about the decision.

Sitting on Missouri's bench last year as her new team made it to its sixth straight NCAA Super Regionals was rough, she said. But she practiced her hitting. She developed as a slapper (a style left-handed batters use to get out of the box quickly enough for infield hits). And she matured.

"When I get out, it's like, I'm not as frustrated," she said. "I'm thinking what I can do for my next at-bat."

A lot of thought goes into Fagan's play. She's already thinking about what she can do differently in the Tigers' rematch against Baylor — which gave Missouri its only loss so far — this weekend in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. She knows where Baylor will pitch to her, and she'll go into each at-bat with that in mind.

The team wants redemption, too.

"Yeah, there are some good teams down there, and our mentality could be 'Let's go be competitive,'" Earleywine said. "But for me, it's 'Let's go win every game.'"

Maybe then they'll be satisfied.

The circumstances behind Missouri's opening weekend were a bit unconventional.

After adverse weather conditions thwarted original plans to play in Jacksonville, Fla., Missouri scrambled to find a new venue.

"It was an all-day deal," Earleywine said. The Tigers' coaching staff sent a mass email to every college in the country, and Baylor was the first to respond, inviting Missouri to the Getterman Classic.

Fagan, who is from Dunnellon, Fla., was bummed to miss out on seeing her friends and family at home. But like the team, she was happy to be playing.

She went 2-4 with two RBIs, a stolen base and a run scored in Missouri's first game of the season Friday against the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She went 2-2 in a later game against Drake, tacking on another run and two more RBIs.

Missouri beat three of the five teams they faced by seven or more runs.

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.


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