The Tigers' 1-0 win over Hofstra, in what I yesterday called the biggest game of the season, created a new biggest game (or two) of the season. Win one of two today, and you reach the Super Regionals, likely against No. 11 Washington, which is 2-0 in its region.
The benefits to beating Hofstra were immediately evident yesterday evening. Hofstra's ace Olivia Galati was forced to not only pitch another game against Oregon State, but she was also forced to go to extra innings. Hofstra eventually beat the Beavers in 10, but Galati had to throw 197 pitches on Saturday and now must beat Missouri twice on Sunday. Since Friday afternoon, Galati has pitched 23.0 innings and faced 87 batters. Granted, only 16 of them got hits (Missouri was 1-for-18), but one has to hope that fatigue sets in at some point. She has been incredible so far, allowing only four earned runs all weekend, but all four came in the last six innings she pitched. Fingers crossed.
As for Missouri, one also has to hope that a) the bats wake up at some point, and b) if Chelsea Thomas isn't 100%, that Nicole Hudson can keep the ball down and keep Missouri in the game. At this point, I'm almost assuming that Hudson pitches Game 1 today -- which is really pretty good strategy as long as she keeps the game close enough that Galati has to remain in -- but we'll see.
3:30 p.m. CT (if necessary)
Mizzou vs. Hofstra, Game 2
MUtigers.com: Crane's RBI Leads Mizzou to Regional Final, 1-0
MUtigers.com: Columbia Regional: Game Three (Mizzou 1, Hofstra 0) - Notes
MUtigers.com: Columbia Regional: Game Three (Mizzou 1, Hofstra 0) - Quotes - Hofstra
The Trib: Missouri escapes with 1-0 win, advances to Sunday's regional final
The Missourian: Hudson's throw, Marston's tag lead Missouri to 1-0 win over Hofstra
KC Star: Missouri softball beats Hofstra and reaches final of NCAA regional
PowerMizzou: Regional Notebook: Tigers survive
KBIA Sports: With little offense, Missouri beats Hofstra 1-0 in regional game