There's quite a bit going on around Columbia today. First, you've got graduation, which ... congrats, grads (especially Rock M'ers)! But there's a lot going on for Mizzou athletics. A lot.
Mizzou Baseball has clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament with two wins over Kentucky; a third today would clinch the No. 11 seed instead of No. 12.
Plus, Mizzou Men's Golf attempts to come back after a rather awful Friday at the Columbus Regional. The top five teams advance to the NCAAs, and while Mizzou was the fifth-ranked team in the region, they fell to seventh and are currently seven shots back of No. 5. If there's good news here, it's that they're also 'only' 10 shots back of No. 1. There's a cluster of teams ahead of Mizzou, and if a couple falter, the Tigers could bounce back. One Mizzou player has already started, and the others are about to.
Of course, the main event is at University Field, where Mizzou Softball plays what is, frankly, its single biggest game of the season. The Tigers got past Stony Brook, 3-0, yesterday evening; not only did Nicole Hudson save Chelsea Thomas' arm with a complete game, but she also pitched really well. The kept the ball low and induced a ton of grounders, and her defense sparkled. That's good because the bats were tight; Mizzou didn't manage a serious threat until the fifth, when Jenna Marston knocked a three-run home run, her first of the season. (Pretty good timing there.)
The stakes for Missouri are very clear. Beat Hofstra at noon, and you only have to win one of two games tomorrow (probably versus Hofstra again) to advance. You can pitch Hudson in the first of those two games, hopefully wear out Hofstra's masterful pitcher, Olivia Galati, a bit, and bring a rested Chelsea Thomas to the mound for the second (if necessary) game. But if Galati outduels Thomas today, Mizzou will have to beat the Oregon State-Stony Brook winner at 5pm, then beat Hofstra twice tomorrow. You have to win three games in a row, and there is a possibility that Thomas would be available for only one. That's terrifying.
So yeah. Win at noon, ladies. Please win at noon.
NCAA Golf Regionals: Mizzou at the Columbus Regional
12:00 p.m. CT
NCAA Softball: Mizzou vs. Hofstra
1:00 p.m. CT
Baseball: Mizzou vs. Kentucky
2:30 p.m. CT
NCAA Softball: Oregon State vs. Stony Brook
5:00 p.m. CT
NCAA Softball: Mizzou-Hofstra loser vs. OSU-SB winner