Tigers again cannot overcome big inning

For second straight game, a six-run Sooners rally proves too much for MU.
Monday, April 4, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:22 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

They had a reconfigured lineup. They made fewer errors. They hit Oklahoma pitching hard.

The Tigers even wore different uniforms.

Yet for all that changed from its game a day earlier, Missouri had the same result against the No. 9 Sooners on Sunday: it lost.

Oklahoma (36-6, 4-0 Big 12) defeated No. 16 Missouri 6-4 at University Field to sweep a two-game series.

For the second consecutive game, OU put together a six-run inning, making it difficult for Missouri (27-6, 1-3) to recover.

But the Tigers certainly tried. For one, they had more time to come back than they did Saturday, when Oklahoma broke through in the sixth inning.

Sunday’s outburst occurred in the second.

Missouri drew a run closer in the bottom half when Heather Kunkel lined a one-out, 0-2 pitch to center field for her ninth home run of the season.

An inning later, Missouri put its first five batters on base and scored three runs. Two of those came via a Janessa Roening home run.

Suddenly, most of the damage from OU’s big inning had been erased. A comeback seemed likely.

Missouri pitcher Erin Kalka did her part to keep her team close, settling down as the game progressed.

But Oklahoma’s staff did the same.

After relieving starter Stacy Braddock in the third inning, Kami Keiter (19-3) allowed the Tigers only two hits for the rest of the game.

Although it fell short, Missouri coach Ty Singleton said he was proud of the Tigers’ comeback effort.

“I think that shows the character of the team,” he said. “Many softball teams don’t feel like they can overcome a six-run lead.”

That worry never crossed the Tigers’ minds, he said.

Kalka (1-3), who was pulled early during Oklahoma’s rally Saturday, said being scored on in bunches isn’t any more aggravating.

“It’s frustrating to give up runs anytime,” she said. “They just strung some hits together. That happens sometimes.”

Kalka also hit two batters in the second to keep the inning alive.

Singleton gave Oklahoma credit after the game.

“We put some people on for free and then they did a good job of capitalizing on that,” he said.

The loss was Missouri’s fourth in five games following a 26-2 start. The Tigers next play on Wednesday, hosting Iowa State in a doubleheader.

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