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May 12, 2012

Tigers eye sweep and the postseason

The #9 Missouri Tigers defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 5-3 Saturday afternoon at University Field.

The Tigers got the jump early when Corrin Genovese doubled home Brianna Corwin and Kayla Kingsley in the second inning to make it 2-0. Corwin pinch ran for Lindsey Muller, who was hit by a pitch while Kingsley reached on a bunt single.

"I mean, I was smiling on second base. Relieved. Happy for myself," Genovese said. Genovese is batting .231 on the year.

The Tigers added to their lead in the third inning. Jenna Marston singled to left to lead off the inning. The next batter, Ashley Fleming, knocked the ball over the left field wall for her 15th homer of the season, making the score 4-0.

"I think if we all come together and start hitting at this point in the season, no one is going to be able to stop us," Genovese said.

The Tigers seemed poised to cruise from there. Freshman pitcher Bailey Erwin performed well for the early part of her outing, holding Oklahoma State scoreless through four innings. She recorded eight strikeouts and foreced a lot of ground ball outs as well.

"When [Bailey] is throwing strikeouts, you know it's a great day," Genovese said. "Bailey uses us and we use Bailey. So we have all the confidence in Bailey."

However, the Oklahoma State Cowgirls would strike back in the fifth inning. After ann Amy Graham single, Gessenia DeLaCruz homered to straight away center field. Ari Morrison and Shelby Davis walked. In came Chelsea Thomas to pitch, coming off a no-hitter Friday night. She would walk the first two batters she faced, forcing in a run to make the score 4-3. But Thomas got out of the inning and preserved the lead.

In the sixth inning, Muller knocked in an insurance run on a solo shot over the left field foul poll.

"She was jamming me, all inside, all inside. So, I just adjusted my last at-bat, and hoped I got an inside pitch," Muller said.

Thomas shut down the Cowgirls down the stretch as the Tigers won 5-3, moving to 42-12 and 16-7 in the conference. The Tigers go for the important sweep tomorrow at noon before the NCAA tournament releases its brackets in the afternoon.

"It is a big deal to me personally [to finish the sweep] because I don't like [Texas] A&M. At all," Mizzou coach Ehren Earleywine said. "And this would put us solely ahead of them in the Big Twelve."

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