COLUMBIA — When Carlie Rose hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the score 7-7 against Kentucky, the home crowd erupted and teammates buried the sophomore catcher in hugs as she crossed the plate.
The Tigers' happiness was short-lived.
The No. 9 Wildcats scored in the the eighth inning and took Saturday's rubber match 8-7, rendering Rose's blast over the left field inconsequential.
Although they beat Kentucky 7-2 in the opening game of the series on Friday, the Tigers (16-7, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) dropped two games Saturday as part of a doubleheader.
"We did a lot of little things wrong in every single phase of the game," coach Ehren Earleywine said. "Pitching mistakes, hitting mistakes, baserunning mistakes, defensive mistakes."
After losing Saturday's first game 3-2, Missouri made adjustments to its lineup. One of those replacements was inserting Rose for freshman catcher Kirsten Mack, who Earleywine said had a "rough defensive inning."
With a .100 batting average, four starts and 10 at-bats this season before Saturday, Rose's home run almost seemed like a miracle.
The excitement, though, might have disrupted the Tigers' focus.
"When you're coming back, you know, you kinda get amped up," Rose said. "But, moral of the story, you have to learn how to just calm down and take it pitch by pitch because if you get too amped up, then it might end up as a game it's not supposed to be."
Another Game 3 adjustment was to put in junior third baseman/catcher Angela Randazzo for Roth at first base — a position she had never played. With Roth out of the lineup, junior third baseman Corrin Genovese (who didn't hit in the earlier game because a designated player replaced her in the order) got some at-bats.
Randazzo hada promising performance in her debut at first base with 11 put-outs, despite using her typical third baseman's glove.
Again, even with the surprising effort, it wasn't enough.
"There are a lot of new girls on our team, and, you know, even some of the old girls, we just need to pick some of the little things up," Randazzo said. "We're forgetting about certain things, certain duties."
These two games brought Missouri's total of one-run losses to six. As Rose's home run indicated, the Tigers can put up a fight; it's the little things that get them.
"You go out into the team huddle and say, 'Hey, you guys fought hard, we'll get 'em next week.' For me, that doesn't cut it, because obviously there were some things wrong," Earleywine said. "They're hurtful to talk about, because the wounds are open and they're fresh, but they have to be discussed or you're never gonna get any better."
Missouri faces Illinois State in a doubleheader Wednesday at University Field.
Supervising editor is Mark Selig.