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Mizzou Softball Gets Another Win Despite Finucane’s Injury

Mizzou got its fifth consecutive run-rule win on Wednesday, but the focus was on ace Tori Finucane after she left with an injury early in the win.

The Tigers held their breath as catcher Kirsten Mack slid into Finucane on the final out of the first inning. Finucane remained down on the ground for almost a minute before trainers assisted her off the field.

She returned in the top of the second inning to throw warmup pitches. But the MU coaches pulled her before the start of the inning after several wild tosses to the plate.

“When she finished her [warm up] throw she felt some pain down her right side, down her lat area,” said Mizzou Head Coach Ehren Earleywine. “We are going to have it looked at ASAP. The doctor didn’t think anything was broke or fractured. They think it was just a bruise, but they’re not positive.”

Freshman Paige Lowary took over for Finuncane.

After the scare to end the top of the first inning, the Tigers grabbed an early lead in the first inning as Sami Fagan continued her hot streak. Fagan, the reigning SEC and NFCA National player of the week, stroked a double to left center with two runners on. Taylor Gadbois scored easily from second, but Emily Crane, waved home from first base by Associate Head Coach Pete D’Amour, was thrown out easily at the plate.

Normally Head Coach Ehren Earleywine patrols the third base coaches box, but he wanted to experiment with D’Amour.

“Immediately my mind went back to the very first time doing it at Westminster, when I did the very same thing [had a runner thrown out],” said Head Coach Ehren Earleywine. “Coach Bradley was really gracious with me, so I was the same with Pete.

After two walks, the Tigers would load the bases for Corrin Genovese. Genovese hit a 1-out chopper off the plate to Iowa pitcher Shayla Starkenburg, but Starkenburg threw wide of home plate allowing two runners to score to give Missouri the lead 3-2.

A one-run lead was all that Lowary would need. The Iowa native retired 11 of the first 12 batters, recording 5 scoreless innings and 7 strikeouts while allowing only two singles.

“I think that all my pitches are finally starting to move,” said Lowary. “I’m just feeling really confident.”

In addition to her scoreless innings, Lowary was pleased with her ability to consistently threw her newly developed changeup.

“I’ve never really had a changeup before so it’s really nice to see it working,” said Lowary.

Missouri extended their lead in the 5th inning when Kirsten Mack hit a two run bomb to left field. The home run was her team leading 12th of the season. Later in the 5th Kelsea Roth doubled home Amanda Sanchez to make the score 6-2.

Leading by four runs, Missouri needed four more to end the game heading into the bottom of the 6th. Gadbois started the inning with her fourth single of the game, a new career high. On the next pitch Gadbois stole second for the fourth time in the game, to tie her career high steals in a game.

Gadbois now has 7 steals and is 8 for 9 in her last two games thinks a new approach is what has led to her recent success.

“I pretty much changed my swing,” said Gadbois. “I stopped trying to hit the ball so hard. I worked on my tap again, and I think that has helped me relax.”

With the run rule in sight, Missouri kept up the pressure. After a walk to Crane to put runners on first and third, Crane stole second. The throw to second ended up in center field allowing Gadbois to come home, and inched the Tigers closer to the eight run mercy rule.

Kirsten Mack was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and third again. Erin Gililand, making her first appearance in a Missouri uniform, pinch ran for Mack. On the next pitch, she stole second base, but didn’t have the most graceful slide into second base.

“That was the worst [slide] I have ever seen,” said Earleywine. “The girls were dying in the dugout, as was I. She literally digested some dirt. It went down into her stomach.”

With two runners in scoring position after the stolen base, Sanchez doubled home the two runners to extend the lead 9-2. Sanchez was moved over to third on a groundout to set the table for Kelsea Roth to end the game. Roth did just that as she roped a single to to score Sanchez and end the game 10-2.

The Tigers hit the road for a one-game series with Missouri State. Mizzou and MSU will play Thursday at 5 p.m.

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