With the regular season now complete, the Missouri softball team looks towards the postseason, which will begin with the 2010 Big 12 Championship. Joining me is head coach Ehren Earleywine as his ninth ranked Tigers get ready for the three-day, single-elimination tournament beginning today at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Tigers enter this season’s tournament as the No. 5 seed after posting an 11-7 record in Big 12 play this season. They’ll take on No. 4 seed Oklahoma State in first round action on Saturday, at 2 p.m. CT.
Earleywine thinks his team has a solid shot at hosting an NCAA Regional tournament like last season, especially if they can get past Oklahoma State in this first game. Ehren says he has been thinking about this game for awhile, because the Tigers were swept by OSU in a two-game series in Columbia earlier this season. After overcoming an early 3-0 MU lead for an 8-3 win in game one, Oklahoma State took the sweep with a 1-0 pitcher’s duel victory in game two to complete the sweep.
It’s been a remarkable run for the Tigers who lost their star pitcher Chelsea Thomas very early in the season to a stress fracture. Thomas was to be a key figure in the Tigers making a repeat appearance at the College World Series. Now, with her out of the lineup, Earleywine must rely on sophomore pitcher Kristen Nottleman and senior Jana Hainey, plus a potent offense to carry the Tigers this weekend and into the postseason.