Mizzou Softball (42-14) capped off an incredible 2016 NCAA Columbia Regional on Saturday afternoon, claiming a 9-0 shutout victory over Nebraska. The Tigers’ third shutout win in three days clinched their 11th all-time NCAA Regional title and eighth crown under head coach Ehren Earleywine.
Mizzou was simply dominant in its three days at University Field, outscoring its three opponents to the tune of 26-0. Since the current NCAA Softball Regional format began in 2005, only two teams have recorded three run-rule shutout victories en route to their Regional championship. Mizzou joins Washington (2014) as the only two teams to accomplish the incredible feat; the Tigers did so in one fewer inning.
The Tigers’ hitting and pitching were clicking on all cylinders from Thursday-Saturday. Mizzou’s lineup hit .422 (27-for-64) with 26 runs scored, four doubles, three home runs, 22 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
Sophomore Amanda Sanchez (West Covina, Calif.) hit .750 with one home run and six RBI in Regional action, while senior Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) batted .714 with one home run and six RBI as well.
The Tigers’ pitching was a one-man show, as sophomore Paige Lowary (Dallas Center, Iowa) tossed three consecutive complete game shutouts in the circle. Lowary tossed 16.0 scoreless innings in the Columbia Regional while striking out 13 batters and limiting the opposition to a miniscule .127 average.
Mizzou produced an opening frame to remember on Saturday, scoring six runs on six hits against the Cornhuskers’ starting pitcher. Mizzou used its excellent team speed to set the table, as redshirt senior Taylor Gadbois (Maryville, Mo.), Crane, redshirt senior Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) and freshman Regan Nash (Camden Point, Mo.) all recorded stolen bases.
Fagan drove in the afternoon’s first runs with a two RBI double to centerfield. Four batters later, Fagan stole home for the third time this year, extending the Tigers’ lead to 3-0. Junior Kirsten Mack (Riverside, Calif.) put the exclamation point on the inning with a three-run home run to left field. The blast marked Mack’s third career home run in NCAA postseason play.
The Tiger shortstop continued to fill the stat sheet in the fourth inning, as Fagan tallied an RBI single up the middle. She later scored as well following Sanchez’s sacrifice fly.