40-5. FORTY AND FIVE! (I almost wish there was a way to capitalize numbers). The softball squad completed another perfect week, but other Mizzou athletes and teams had a solid week as well. More and more sports are starting to wind down, as the last winter sport has final completed with gymnastics being done. Just spring sports from here on out, as the calendar says there is only a month left of school. Let's see how the week turned out.
Yep...I did not make it to the Spring Game. Thinking back, this is either the first or the second one I have ever missed. In the end, what sounds like a dreary weather day without perhaps some of the offensive fireworks which people were hoping/expecting to see. In the end, I will wait and defer to rpt and The Boy to more succintly opine about what they saw and where the team is. My one thought is that I am really pretty OK with the defense being ahead of the offense at this point given all of the injuries and new people to the offense. I think for the offense, the summer time is the most important, even over the spring in some occassions, as Gabbert is just going to throw pass after pass after pass to a healthy D. Alexander, Jared Perry and others. Getting that timing down will help the offense a tremendous amount, and there will be plenty of time for that to happen. On the other hand, to see this defense with a new coach at the helm making this sort of statement is encouraging to me.
It has been a great two weeks for the Mizzou Tigers, as they have reeled off nine straight wins since they fell to kU in the 2nd half of a double header back on April 4th. Since then, they have run-ruled their opponents five times, with the total scoring being 75-11. This past week saw the team play their last two out of conference games against MST before heading out for the final roadtrip against TTech. The Tigers topped the 10-run mark in three of the four games, winning the week 38-5. The pitching was solid, but the hitting was really amazing. Marla Schweisberger continues to grow as a hitter, and seniors Michaela Minner and Lindsey Ubrun are hitting the way you would want seniors to hit. Ubrun had a big week and now leads the team in HR's with nine, also now in the top 5 all-time with 25. The team also saw the return of freshman pitcher Chelsea Thomas, who threw for the first time in over a month on Saturday. To get her back, both rested and healthy potentially, only adds another weapon to one of the deepest pitching stables in the country with Stacy Delaney, Jana Hainey and Kristen Nottlemann, who are all among the league leaders in the Big XII.
The team now returns home for good, and will have a double-header on Wednesday against Iowa State, who is just above TTech at the bottom of the Big XII currently. Sweeping a home double-header against the Cyclones is an absolute must, but with OU not playing another conference game until their trip to Columbia next weekend, it is a perfect time to increase their lead. As we can guess, a big weekend over OU next weekend may mean the end of a pretty special week. The team is rolling right now and coming home for the rest of the regular season is just another positive for the squad.
Four out of five for the week is exactly what the doctor ordered. Johnny Wholestaff was pretty decent this week, though used quite a bit, which does bring up an interesting issue. Is this team, from a starting pitching standpoint, really down to Kyle Gibson and Johnny Wholestaff? With Nick Tepesch having another subpar start on Sunday to close out the weekend series win over k-State, is that all we have?
Anyway, the bats did well for the most part this week, especially that of Greg Folgia who went deep twice on Saturday to spur an important comeback win, and Mr. Wholestaff was solid enough to get wins over Indiana State at home, and two of three against the currently-ranked Wildcats. This week, a BIG game against kU at the lovely redesigned Kaufman Stadium starts the week, with the week ending against TTecch at home with three. To keep pace, Mizzou really needs to take three of four and remove more chunks of the Rachel Phelps puzzle.
Let the good times continue rolling, as the Tigers completed what certainly will be considered one of their best seasons in program history. Junior Sarah Shire and senior Adrienne Perry both went to the NCAA's and came back as All-Americans and Mizzou record holders. Adrienne went to the NCAA's for a program-record 4th time, and clearly saved her best for last. She became the first ever Mizzou All-Around All-American, while also gaining 2nd team All-American honors on the floor exercise. For Sarah, a bit of an off day when it came to the all-around was not diminished by the fact she became the first Mizzou first-team All-American in almost twenty years with her effort on the vault. Though she would fall in the finals and earn 11th place ultimately, her future is quite bright for next season.
As for next season, more on that I am sure over the summer, but another great season for the Tigers.
The squad closed out their regular season with another conference win, this time over the Cyclones of Iowa State by the close score of 4-3. Mizzou came up big in the doubles, winning the point thanks to wins from Jamie Mera and Mallory Weber (freshman and sophomore) and Giugiolli and Ritchie (senior and sophomore). Mera and Ritchie would also win in the singles, while Sofia Ayala would join her senior classmate Giugiolli in winning on senior day. The win moved the team to a final record of 8-11 but an improved 4-7 in conference. The team will head to Norman next weekend for the Big XII Championships.
Most of the squad headed down to Arkansas this past weekend, a number of them came back winners and owners of qualifying efforts for the NCAA's. Senior Chris Rohr continued his dominance in the hammer throw, besting anyone and everyone by at least 40 feet on his way to a win. Senior Krishna Lee took the hammer throw on the women's side, while Elisha Hunt finished just behind her. Junior Shannon Leinart continues to show she is ready for the national scene in the 800 meters, scoring another win. On the men's side of the 800 meters, freshman Blake Irwin scored a solid win for the Tigers, while Rick Scheff finished just behind him. Junio Emily Baker would win the 1500m, while freshman Leslie Farmer would win her heat of the 400 meters with a qualifying time. Out in California, Kaela Rorvig and Lars Rise would each achieve a qualifying mark in their respective multi-sport event.
Next up for the Tigers will be the 100th annual Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA next weekend.
Mizzou had their one competition at their home course for the year with the UMB Bank-Mizzou Tiger Intercollegiate, where they placed 7th. Seniors Peter Malnati and Ryne Fisher finished in a group tied for 14th to lead the squad. The other four competitors for the Tigers were all sophomores, and saw William Harrold in 32nd, Chris Johnson in 52nd and Will Hogan in 54th for the team, while Tyler Hillis competed as an individual and finished 23rd.
Next up for the team will be the Big XII Championships out in Hutchinson, KS in a couple of weeks.
The only action which has not been covered (softball, baseball, track, tennis) is women's golf competing in the Big XII Championships down in Lubbock, TX starting on Friday.
- Yep...I really have none.