No. 15 Mizzou Softball’s (42-16) 2016 campaign concluded on Sunday afternoon, as it dropped a heartbreaking 5-4 game against No. 2 Michigan. The Wolverines tallied four runs in the seventh inning to erase a late three-run Tigers advantage.
The Wolverines struck first for the second consecutive day, as they tallied a second inning solo home run. Mizzou put together its best scoring opportunity in the early going with a rally in the fourth inning.
Redshirt senior Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) roped a single to right field, marking her team-leading 23rd multi-hit game of the year. Two batters later, junior Chloe Rathburn (Mission Viejo, Calif.) laced a single to left to give the Tigers two runners on base. The Tigers then roped a hard hit ball down the third base line, but the Wolverines defense answered with yet another nice play to end the inning.
Mizzou continued to pound away on Michigan’s hurler and finally broke through in the fifth inning. Freshman Kolby Romaine (Chino Hills, Calif.) kicked off the rally with a two-out single. The hit marked Romaine’s third multi-hit effort of the season. Up next, redshirt senior Taylor Gadbois (Maryville, Mo.) moved away from her usual slap technique and rifled a game-tying RBI double to left-center.
The Tigers gained their first lead of the Super Regionals following a clutch two-out three-run home run to centerfield by freshman Rylee Pierce (Visalia, Calif.). Mizzou pushed across all four of its runs in the fifth and sixth inning and were three outs away from forcing a decisive Super Regionals game three.
Michigan led off its final at bat in the seventh inning with a sunshine-aided single off a Tigers’ defender. Following a fly out to right field, the Wolverines began their improbable comeback. A sacrifice fly made it a two-run ballgame with two outs. Michigan kept its feet on the peddle with consecutive run-producing hits.
A wild pitch by the Tigers allowed the fourth and final run of the inning to come across, as Michigan suddenly claimed a one-run lead. Mizzou threatened to even the score at five apiece in the bottom half of the seventh, but couldn’t bring home a runner from third with one out.