No. 7 Mizzou finished its exciting run in the Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament with a runner-up finish, dropping a 10-4 result to No. 3 Florida on Saturday. The third-seeded Tigers wrapped up their first SEC tournament with three team members on the all-tournament team: senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa), senior catcher Jenna Marston (St. Louis, Mo.) and sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.).
Senior Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) put Mizzou on top of the No. 1-seeded Gators in the initial frame of the game with an RBI double to left center field that scored freshman 2B Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) from first base. Crane led off with an infield single for the second-straight game.
The Tigers got the second run for a 2-0 lead with Roth’s second home run of the day, a solo shot to center field. Roth previously homered in the 3-0 semifinal win over No. 2-seeded Tennessee. Roth’s 15 home runs this season ranks tied for ninth on Mizzou’s all-time single-season chat.
Florida then scored six-straight runs with three two-run innings in the bottoms of the second, third and fourth. Part of the Gators run-scoring came from two-run home runs in both the second and third innings.
Hudson helped the Tigers chip away at the Gators’ lead with her second run-scoring double in the top of the fifth, sending a liner to the left field wall for a 6-3 Florida lead. The hit scored senior catcher Jenna Marston (St. Louis, Mo.), who had previously doubled for her 16th double of the season and 53rd in her career. Marston ranks second in career doubles at Mizzou, three behind former Tiger standout Micaela Minner’s 56 from 2005-09. The season total ranks in a tie for third all-time at Mizzou (Mary Babb, 19, 1995).
Senior catcher Rachel Hay (Kansas City, Mo.) got a fourth run for the Tigers’ efforts in the top of the sixth, a booming solo home run of the stadium’s scoreboard that was her fifth long ball of the season. Florida went on to add three more runs in the bottom of the frame for the final score of 10-4.
Thomas got the start to begin the game against the Gators (52-7), but pitched just 2.0 innings after her solid complete game win (7.0 IP) in the semifinals over the Lady Vols earlier in the day. Senior Lindsey Muller (Stilwell, Kan.) and Hudson also saw time in the circle for the Tigers, with Muller the pitcher of record (0-2). Florida’s Lauren Haeger earned the win (15-2) for the Gators.
Mizzou (35-11) awaits further details on the remainder of its postseason run, with the NCAA Championship bracket set to be announced Sunday, May 12, at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.