Missouri’s momentum came from the top down Sunday.
At the start of every inning, the Tigers’ batters got on base. The steady stream of runners produced early runs, letting the Tigers coast to a 5-0 victory against Oklahoma State.
“That’s always your goal, to get the leadoff batter on,” pitcher Erin Kalka said. “We did a good job of it.”
The Tigers (17-19, 4-0 Big 12 Conference) swept the weekend’s two-game series at University Field. Missouri has won all seven of its home games.
“Obviously we’re very pleased to be 4-0,” coach Ty Singleton said. “It allows us to be in a position in the Big 12 that we can control our own destiny still. That’s something we want.”
Leanne Bowers, the first batter in the Tigers’ order, quickly established a 1-0 lead against the Cowgirls (20-20, 0-4) in the first inning. After being hit by a pitch and stealing second, Bowers scored on a single by Heather Kunkel.
Bowers got on base in all four of her at-bats, finishing with one hit, one RBI and two runs.
“That’s what we need from her,” Singleton said. “I’m real proud of her for doing that. She’s showing a lot of speed, also shown some power this year with three home runs. She’s just becoming more and more comfortable in that position. It’s not an easy position to put a freshman in and she’s getting more and more comfortable in that position.”
Kendra Power, the Tigers’ first batter in the second, started a three-run inning that gave Missouri a 4-0 lead.
Power reached on a single and stole second before scoring on Bowers’ single. Bowers advanced to second on the throw home, then scored her second run of the game off a Kunkel double. Bowers had advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Joanne Loethen that scored Ashley Hays.
“A lot of times when our leadoff batter gets on that really sparks us,” Power said. “Anytime we get momentum like that going into an inning that’s great because we know that we have very fast players and that they’re smart and they’ll take the next base and we’ll get them around.”
After throwing all 14 innings of the Tigers’ win Saturday, Kalka recovered by taking an ice bath Saturday night.
“It wasn’t fun, but I feel a lot better,” she said.
Kalka (13-11) showed no signs of fatigue, allowing four hits, striking out 10 and walking none in six innings.
“She was an absolute workhouse this weekend and it was sure fun to watch,” Singleton said.
The bottom of the Tigers’ lineup, Sarah Stringer, Power and Hays, produced most of Missouri’s runs.
Stringer scored the final run of the game in the sixth. After reaching first on a fielder’s choice, she stole second and scored on two Oklahoma State errors in the same play.
“We need all 17 on the team ready to contribute,” Singleton said. “We’ve used lots of different lineups and it’s taken all 17 to get us to this point. It’s nice to see the bottom half of the lineup execute.”