Poor decisions at plate hurt MU

Sunday, March 19, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:35 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the Missouri softball team trailing Louisville 7-6, the sound of Andee Allen’s walk-up music, “Hells Bells”, lingered in the air at University Field. The few fans remaining after over four hours of softball were hoping for a tying hit, and cheered raucously for Missouri’s freshman shortstop.

Despite watching Louisville pitcher Catherine Bishop walk two batters in the inning, Allen chose not to be patient and swung at the first pitch, grounding out to the shortstop to end the game, while stranding runners at first and third.

Usually, the preferred strategy in that situation would have been for Allen to look for another walk or a good pitch to hit later in the at-bat. But coach Ty Singleton had seen enough of that approach from his team on Saturday and said he preferred Allen’s aggression.

“She swung at the first pitch, but she took a good, aggressive hack,” Singleton said. “She hit the ball hard but right at somebody. I’m pleased with that at-bat.”

Missouri (15-10) dropped both of its games in Saturday’s doubleheader against No. 21 Louisville, 2-0 and 7-6. Bishop started the first game for the Cardinals (16-2) and gave up four hits, never allowing a runner to get to third base. Tigers’ pitcher Jen Bruck, who gave up the game’s only two runs in the top of the seventh, said Bishop’s pitching wasn’t overpowering.

“There was nothing stopping us but ourselves,” Bruck said.

Singleton agreed.

“Overall, I’d have to say I’m disappointed in our approach,” he said. “When we get 2-0 pitches to swing at and we don’t, it’s not a good approach at the plate.”

Missouri will begin the Big 12 portion of its schedule Saturday at Oklahoma. Bruck said the Tigers need to improve to compete in the Big 12.

“From here on out, we’re not going see any more lesser teams,” Bruck said. “The teams we’re going to play are going to be Louisville’s caliber or higher. We’ve got to be ready for it.”

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