Missouri pitcher Jen Bruck was in the circle, preparing to pitch the third inning. Leanne Bowers was in center field, trying to get herself in the proper position. Truman State leadoff hitter Christen Belcher was taking her warmups and trying to gauge Bruck’s pitching.
Then, it all stopped. Home plate umpire Robert Blatcher called all the players off the field because of a lightning strike.
A lightning strike that seemingly nobody in the stadium acknowledged, if they had seen it at all. On a cold, windy, overcast afternoon with no rain?
“I didn’t see any lightning,” Tigers coach Ty Singleton said. “I was just told there was lightning. I was in the dugout. It was total news to me that there had been a lightning strike.”
Just because the lightning wasn’t visible to Singleton didn’t mean it didn’t strike. University Field is equipped with sensors that can “see” strikes that aren’t visible from the stadium. The strike, which hit one mile away from the stadium, delayed the game for 30 minutes as required by the NCAA.
During the delay, no one was allowed on the field, providing a half-hour break for the players.
“It gave everybody a chance to eat. I think everybody was OK with it,” said freshman shortstop Andee Allen.
After the players took the field again, MU (10-7) swept Tuesday’s doubleheader with Truman State 10-3 and 3-1.
Allen was unbothered by the break. In her home debut for the Tigers, she went 2-5 and drove in three runs and
“We just hung out in the team room. Some of us ate, and we joked around and hung out,” Allen said. “We rested and recomposed ourselves for the rest of the night.”
One person who seemed to take advantage of the break was pitcher Jen Bruck. Bruck pitched 11 innings Tuesday and gave up four runs, three of them in the second inning of Game 1.
“The lightning didn’t really do anything to my rhythm,” Bruck said. “I just had to warm up again.”
While Bruck was getting ready, Singleton made sure his team was taking advantage of the unexpected intermission.
“For the first 10 minutes, we wanted them to get something to eat,” Singleton said. “It was a great time to fuel up. Then we got them together and discussed our approach for the rest of the night. I was pleased with their overall approach after that.”
The Tigers’ offense, which has struggled for much of the season, was stymied for most of the second game. But Bruck, in the middle of throwing a two-hitter, also hit a solo home run to give Missouri a 2-0, third inning lead.