COLUMBIA — It started with a mistake.
In the top of the seventh inning against Oklahoma State, No. 18 Missouri was up 2-1. The Cowgirls had a runner on first when junior Shelby Davis bunted to freshman pitcher Tori Finucane.
Finucane turned and threw to second.
"It was a bad decision," Finucane said. "I guess I just had, like, a set mindset that if it was coming to me, I was gonna throw to second to try to get the lead runner. But I was just off."
The mistake, putting Cowgirls on first and second, came after the Tigers' 11-2 win against North Dakota State earlier in the day as part of the Mizzou Tournament. The win included 16 hits, eight of which came in an explosive fourth inning.
Finucane "just chilled in the dugout" during that game, watching fellow freshman pitcher Casey Stangel earn the win. Now, the team was on her back.
"I was trying to make sure that, no matter what, that run didn't score," Finucane said. "That was my bad completely. I'm not gonna let my team down because of my really stupid mistake."
Sophomore Emily Crane watched from right field. She and outfielder Taylor Gadbois, who was coughing because she wasn't feeling well, were hoping for quick three outs in the seventh inning.
"I was like, 'Just please hold onto this. This is, like, the eighth clincher game that we've played. I want to win this game so bad,'" Crane said.
A fan stood up and fist pumped as the crowd cheered.
Crane had a point. Of Missouri's seven losses this season, six were by only one run.
"So many times we've just had the rug pulled out from under our feet," Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said.
Finucane stood in the circle. She'd forced two Cowgirls in a row to strike out swinging, and now she was one strike away from redeeming her mistake.
Fans stomped in the stands. Earleywine wondered how Finucane was possibly throwing harder than she had been at the beginning of the game. Finucane took a deep breath.
It started with a mistake.
But it ended with three strikeouts in a row.
Supervising editor is Wade Livingston