What: The Women's College World Series
Who: Mizzou (52-8) vs Florida (51-10)
When: 8:30 PM CT
Where: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, Oklahoma City
THREE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM TONIGHT
1. Mizzou has Chelsea Thomas, and Florida does not. The Gators have two studs of their own in Hannah Rogers (33-6, 1.59 ERA in 238.0 IP) and Stephanie Brombacher (19-2, 1.09 ERA in 135.0 IP), but Thomas was a runner-up for the national player of the year award.
2. The wind is blowing out, and Thomas is much less of a flyball pitcher than either Rogers or Brombacher. She has allowed just seven home runs in 245 innings while Rogers has allowed 13, Brombacher seven.
3. Mizzou's got their heads on straight this year. No "happy to be here," no starry eyes. Florida's awesome, but so is Mizzou when they're dialed in.
TWO REASONS FOR ... LESS OPTIMISM TONIGHT
1. Again, the wind is blowing out, and Florida can absolutely mash the ball. They have 110 home runs on the season (Mizzou has 67). Ashley Fleming is Mizzou's best power hitter with 14 home runs -- the Gators have FIVE players with more than that, led by Brittany Schutte and Megan Bush, who each have a ridiculous 20.
2. We need proof that Mizzou's offense won't dry up against big-time pitching. Mizzou was held hitless for five innings against Washington last weekend, bringing to mind, among other things, last year's WCWS, when the Tigers scored two runs in 14 innings. So many players have come up big for Mizzou at so many different times, but Mizzou's going to need to string together some nice innings to stay alive past the weekend.
ONE MORE REASON FOR OPTIMISM
M-I-Z ... !