The only hit allowed by Finucane was a line drive off the glove of 3B Angela Randazzo in the fourth inning. Finucane threw only 79 pitches and struck out two Bulldogs while walking two for her third shutout of the season.
An even better sign for Missouri was that Tori Finucane tossed a complete-game one-hitter. Prior to Wednesday, Finucane had allowed 10 runs – seven earned -- in the 9 2/3 innings she’d pitched since injuring her right latissimus dorsum, a back muscle, in an April 22 game against Iowa.
For Wednesday's first-round game, Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine made a surprising choice of sophomore pitcher Tori Finucane (19-8), who had been hobbled by some injuries the last two weeks. She allowed just one hit in six innings and faced only two hitters over the minimum.
"The key was waking up today and seeing how she felt," Earleywine said on SEC Network after the game. "Yesterday she didn’t feel great but she felt better than she did the day before. We just kept making these baby steps with her health. This morning she woke up, threw a few pitches in the bullpen and gave me the two thumbs up. So, we gave her the start."
Mizzou Makes it official: Corey Tate
A week and a half after the news leaked from PowerMizzou, and even longer since everyone assumed Tate was the most likely hire, Missouri finally made if official by hiring Corey Tate:
"I plan to extensively help with Coach Anderson's plans for player development," Tate said. "I've been blessed to be coaching for 15 years now. I trust my understanding of game situations and hope to help our program make immediate improvements. Lastly, working with the many great people involved in youth basketball around the Midwest will be a pleasure of mine. Keeping great future Mizzou student-athletes close to home is a priority."
"I’m just ready to go to work," Tate said Wednesday in a phone interview. "I’m excited to come back home, but I’m just hungry. I’m in starvation mode." "It means the world to me," he added. "First of all that someone game me the opportunity to come back home and help the youth, these young guys, it means a lot. It means that I’ve been doing something right."
Tate’s resume doesn’t just include work in the junior college ranks. The St. Louis native and Pattonville High School graduate has worked in the offseason in the St. Louis Eagles program for which he once played. He’s coached several of the state’s best college prospects in the Nike EYBL circuit, among them are Chaminade standouts Jayson Tatum and Tyler Cook and Hazelwood Central’s Xavier Sneed, all regarded as top-100 recruits the 2016 class.
MISSOURI: Nothing's changing. Or not much, anyway. What suddenly seems like the SEC's most consistent program outside of Tuscaloosa let reporters watch more of spring camp than most of the league, and what they saw was more of the same: progression (if not perfection) from Maty Mauk, a new set of quality defensive linemen (keep a particular eye out for the Harold Brantley-Josh Augusta-Ricky Hatley rotation at defensive tackle after Hatley's massive spring), another strong, versatile offensive line built around 17th-year senior center Evan Boehm.
The corners look like a particular strength -- spring standout Aarion Penton could make an All-SEC challenge. The one true worry for Gary Pinkel has to be the wide receiving unit, where they're (remarkably) replacing their top three receivers for the second straight season. Sophomore J'Mon Moore looks like a potential breakout candidate, but the depth of the past two seasons may not be there. But of course, this is Missouri -- Pinkel will have an answer of some sort. Right?
If Arkansas doesn't take as large a step forward this year as it did from 2013-14, don't write it off as Bielema hitting some kind of ceiling. Mullen didn't hit one when his nine-win 2010 team fell to 7-6 in his third year. People focus so much on the successful, quick rebuilds at talent factories like Nick Saban's at Alabama or Gus Malzahn's at Auburn that it can be easy to lose sight of how they work for football's middle class.