Thanks to the mastheaders who took over the Links posts last week and allowed me to finish the final chapter of the book. I needed every spare minute I could get. Now it's time to editing, design, editing, waiting, editing, design, and editing.
1. Mizzou Softball hosts Oregon State, Hofstra, and Stony Brook in the NCAA Regionals
COLUMBIA REGIONAL SCHEDULE (CT)
Friday, May 17
4 p.m. - Game One: Oregon State vs. Hofstra
6:30 p.m. - Game Two: Mizzou vs. Stony Brook
Saturday, May 18
Noon - Game Three: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2
2:30 p.m. - Game Four: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 (loser eliminated)
5 p.m. - Game Five: Loser G3 vs. Winner G4 (loser eliminated)
Sunday, May 19
1 p.m. - Game Six: Winner G3 vs. Winner G5
3:30 p.m. - Game Seven (if necessary)
Notable: SB has lost all five games against major conference teams this season - oddly enough, two were against Kansas. The Seawolves were outscored 43-4 in those five games. [...]
Notable: Hofstra ace Olivia Galati ranks in the top 20 in the nation with an ERA of 1.39. She's started all but seven games this season and has 374 strikeouts to 29 walks. ... Hofstra beat Arkansas in two games this season. [...]
Notable: The Beavers have lost five of six games and, during a brutal Pac 12 stretch, lost six straight and 10 of 13. They do have top-20 RPI wins over Stanford and UCLA, two victories that likely got them into the postseason.
The Missourian: Missouri will host NCAA Regionals and possibly Super Regionals
KC Star: Mizzou softball team earns No. 6 overall seed in NCAA tournament
PowerMizzou: Tigers the six seed in softball tournament
"Got what we deserved," head coach Ehren Earleywine said. "And that's rare here at Missouri. I'm glad they made the right choice." […]
For the Tigers, the major question is pitching. Thomas has carried a heavy workload this season. She will be heavily leaned on just as heavily during the post-season. Nicole Hudson is Missouri's No. 2 and will be used at times during the tournament, but Thomas will throw pretty much every critical pitch over the next few weeks. "I can't solidify anything until I see the stats on the other teams we're playing," Earleywine said. "I think the big question now is can we throw Hudson on Friday? I won't know the answer to that till Thursday."
The Tigers average more than six runs per game and that offense could be a big boost in resting Thomas a bit during the regional.
Having drawn a pretty weak No. 4 seed, Ehren Earleywine now has a really, really tough decision to make regarding the pitching. I was assuming that he would pretty much have to start Chelsea Thomas in every game and yank her the moment Mizzou gets a comfortable lead. But Stony Brook hasn't fared well at all against major conference teams this year, and the Tigers could potentially handle them with ease, no matter who's pitching, if the bats get going. In the end, I assume Chelsea still starts (and gets a quick hook), but it has to be pretty tempting to rest her till Saturday.
2. Mizzou Track & Field holds its own at SEC Championships in Columbia
MUtigers.com: Peoples Comes Away with SEC Title on Final Day
The Trib: Peoples wins SEC shot put title
The Missourian: Missouri's Kearsten Peoples wins shot put with standout performance
The Missourian: Missouri freshman Woodson takes third in 100 meters
Mizzou hosted the 2013 SEC championships and fared pretty well. The men finished ninth, but the women, powered by Kearsten Peoples' shot put title, placed a lovely sixth. Of all the sports in the SEC, the two I was most intimidated by in comparing Mizzou's prowess to that of the SEC were baseball and track. Baseball has struggled (though that has as much to do with the team as with the conference), but track had a solid showing here, all things considered.
3. Baseball blows late lead on Sunday, drops two of three at Alabama
MUtigers.com: Tigers Squander Late Lead at Alabama
Al.com: Alabama baseball rallies for 3 runs in 9th inning to stun Missouri, escape with series victory
Al.com: What does the SEC Baseball Tournament field look like with 1 weekend remaining in regular season?
Below is a look at the SEC Tournament seeding and first two days of competition if the regular season ended today.
SEC Tournament seeding (May 12)
1. Vanderbilt, 24-2
2. LSU, 21-6
3. Arkansas, 17-9
4. South Carolina, 16-10
5. Ole Miss, 14-13*
6. Mississippi State, 14-13*
7. Alabama, 13-13
8. Florida, 13-14
9. Texas A&M, 11-15
10. Auburn, 11-16
11. Kentucky, 10-17
12. Missouri, 8-19
13. Tennessee, 7-18
14. Georgia, 5-19
Tennessee took two of three from Mizzou, so the Tigers cannot allow the Vols to catch them in the season's final series this coming weekend. Mizzou hosts Kentucky, while Tennessee hosts Texas A&M.
4. Meet Shannon Welker
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Athletics Announces Shannon Welker as Head Gymnastics Coach
MUtigers.com: Shannon Welker Press Conference Quotes
The Trib: Missouri hires Welker as gymnastics coach
The Trib: Welker gets five-year deal to coach MU gymnastics
The Missourian: Shannon Welker named Missouri gymnastics head coach
KC Star: MU introduces St. Louis native Shannon Welker as new gymnastics coach
The Maneater: Shannon Welker to replace Drass as gymnastics coach
5. Football recruiting continues apace
PowerMizzou: 2014 Football Hot Board: Offense
PowerMizzou: Tiger Watch: Receiver
PowerMizzou: Tiger Watch: Tight End
PowerMizzou: Tiger Watch: Offensive Tackle
PowerMizzou: Tiger Watch: Interior OL
PowerMizzou: Expert Breakdown: Grant Jones
PowerMizzou: Expert Breakdown: Thomas Richard
PowerMizzou: Expert Breakdown: Kendall Blanton
PowerMizzou: Expert Breakdown: Greg Taylor