Another outstanding performance by
Kristin Nottelmann, backed by a seven-run offensive outburst led the No. 9 seeded Missouri Tigers past the Oregon Ducks for the second straight day, leading Mizzou to their second consecutive Women’s College World Series.
The Tigers have clinched a spot in the WCWS for the fifth time in their history. Sunday’s win was the 51st for Missouri this season, breaking last season’s record-setting mark of 50.
Nottelmann went the distance for the fourth straight game, giving up two runs – one earned, and eight hits while striking out four and allowing zero walks. Nottelmann’s record improves to 24-7 on the season.
Ashley Fleming led the offensive with three hits in three at bats today, as she doubled twice and brought in two. Nicole Hudson went 2-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored, while Lisa Simmons was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate, also adding a home run.
After picking up just one unearned run off Oregon’s Jessica Moore on Saturday, the Tiger offense plated two runs right off the bat on Sunday to take an early 2-0 lead. With one out, Hudson ripped a single off the center field wall. Jenna Marston followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice, putting two runners on with just one out. Marston hit a ground ball to the shortstop, but Hudson was able to hustle down the line and beat the throw. Fleming followed with a single back up the middle, plating Hudson and advancing Marston to third. Marston came home to score on passed ball, giving Mizzou the early 2-0 lead.
An unearned run in the bottom half of the first cut the Missouri lead in half. Oregon’s Allie Burger singled up the middle, while a single by Neena Bryant put runners on second and third with nobody out. After a force out at second put runners on the corner with one out, Nottelmann was able to get a line drive out, however, when Gina Schneider attempted to double up the runner off of first, her throw went wide of the bag and allowed the runner at third to come home and score.
Missouri had a golden opportunity to add to their lead in the top of the second, but Moore was able to work out of the jam to keep the Ducks within a run. Simmons picked up her first hit of the day with a single back up the chute to start things off. From there, Megan Christopher laid down a sacrifice bunt, and reached base safely on a throwing error by the catcher that allowed Simmons to move to third. Moore settled down from there, though, and got Schneider to pop out on a bunt. Rhea Taylor came up and laid down a bunt as well, but Simmons was thrown out at the plate on the play. Moore then got Hudson to foul out, ending the inning.
The teams exchanged scoreless innings until the top of the fourth, when Simmons blasted her second home run of the season and second of her career to lead off the inning, giving Missouri the 3-1 lead. The blast chased Moore, who allowed three runs in three innings.
The Ducks added their second run in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Burger. Carlyn Re started the inning with a double to the left-center field wall, and Shelley Deadmond, pinch running for Re, would be moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt. After falling behind 0-2, Burger worked the count back to 2-2 before flying out to center field and bringing home Deadmond to get within a run of the Tigers.
The Tigers, however, weren’t done scoring. With two outs and nobody on in the top of the sixth, Hudson blasted her 10th home run of the season over the right field wall. Hudson’s home run marks the sixth straight season that the Tigers have had at least one player hit 10 or more home runs in a single season. Hudson also becomes the first true freshman with 10 blasts in a season since Jen Bruck accomplished the feat in 2005. Following the home run, Marston kept the two-out rally going with a single down the right field line, and she’d come around and score on Fleming’s second double of the game. A wild pitch moved Fleming to third, and Catherine Lee would head to first on a walk. On the next pitch, Lee and Fleming would double steal, with Lee swiping second and Fleming getting under the tag at home to make it 6-2 Tigers. Kathryn Poet then reached via a fielding error on the first baseman, allowing Lee to come around and score the fourth run of the inning.
Nottelmann worked a scoreless six and seventh inning, getting Oregon Sam Pappas to strike out looking to end the game and send the Tigers back to the World Series.
The Tigers will take on No. 16 seed Hawaii on Thursday in Oklahoma City, Okla. Hawaii upset No. 1 seed Alabama in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional, getting a two-run walk-off home run in the decisive game three to advance. Game time has yet to be announced, so stay tuned to mutigers.com for more information as it becomes available.