The No. 16 Missouri softball team defeated Mississippi State 6-0 in the first game of the series Friday in Starkville, Miss. The Tigers are now 26-9 overall and 5-5 in Southeastern Conference play.
Freshman Natalie Fleming, who replaced sophomore Emily Crane in right field after Crane suffered a medial collateral ligament injury to her knee last week, led Missouri offensively with a two-run home run in the fourth inning. Freshman catcher Kirsten Mack and senior left fielder Mackenzie Sykes each tripled in the game, and Sykes, junior Angela Randazzo and freshman Kelli Schkade added doubles.
Freshman pitcher Tori Finucane earned the win for the Tigers, pitching seven innings with a season-best 12 strikeouts — three of which came in the final frame — and only two hits allowed in the shutout.
The Tigers got on board early when Sykes' sacrifice fly scored sophomore center fielder Taylor Gadbois in the top of the first inning. Mack scored on a ground out by sophomore second baseman Ashtin Stephens in the second inning, giving Missouri a 2-0 lead.
The scoring continued in the fourth inning. Junior third baseman Corrin Genovese's single scored Sykes, and Fleming followed with a two-run homer to bring the score to 5-0.
Missouri added one more run in the fifth, a sacrifice fly by Mack scoring Sykes, bringing the final score to 6-0.
The teams are scheduled to continue the series tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Supervising editor is Wade Livingston.