A fifth inning walk off home run by redshirt junior Gina Schneider (Liberty, Mo.) gave Missouri the upset win, 9-1, over No. 2 seed UCLA and sends the Tigers to their first Women’s College World Series appearance in 14 years, while handing UCLA its first loss of the season by run rule. The trip to Oklahoma City, Okla., will mark the fourth time in the 34-year history of the Missouri softball program that the Tigers have advanced to the WCWS. The Tigers are the only unseeded team, of eight, that will play in the 27th annual WCWS.
Missouri’s win forced UCLA (45-11) out of the WCWS bracket for only the second time in 11 years and marked the third straight week in which the Tigers walked away with a Championship title. Missouri (50-10) began the postseason by earning a Big 12 title on May 10 followed by a regional crown on May 17. Missouri is the only Big 12 school to advance to the WCWS of the seven league schools that entered the NCAA bracket. Only Baylor had also advanced to the Super Regional round.
Senior pitcher Stacy Delaney (Freeland, Mich.) threw a complete-game two-hitter en route to her 17th victory of the year. Delaney struck out four UCLA batters and allowed only one earned run.
Playing against UCLA ace Megan Langenfeld for the third game of the series, the Bruin threw 15 innings over the course of three games, the Tigers managed three runs on three hits in the bottom half of the first. Langenfeld forced a leadoff groundout and hit two hole batter Gina Schneider (Liberty, Mo.) before giving up three straight hits including a two run double to senior first baseman Lindsey Ubrun (Riverside, Calif.). Senior second baseman Andee Allen (Barnhart, Mo.) reached base on balls loading the bags for catcher Megan Christopher (Wright City, Mo.). After Christopher went down on strikes, shortstop Abby Vock (Morrison, Ill.) took her first at bat of the game, reaching base on balls, while credited with the RBI that allowed cleanup hitter Micaela Minner (Sanger, Texas) to walk in from third. Langenfeld gave up five hits and one additional run before being relieved in the second inning by junior Whitney Baker.
UCLA notched its first and only run of the game in the top of the third on a one out, full count home run over the right field fence by nine hole hitter Monica Harrison. The Tigers answered forcing a flyout to centerfield and groundout to first base to end the inning.
Ubrun snapped an eight game home run drought by crushing her 16th yard ball of the season, 32nd of her career, into the trees behind the right field fence. The three run homer lifted Missouri’s lead to 8-1, while Schneider’s fifth inning full count leadoff knock was the ninth of her career and eighth of the campaign.
With the win, Missouri will take on Arizona State at 2 p.m.Thursday, May 28 on ESPN.
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