COLUMBIA, Mo. - Despite having runners in scoring position in three different innings, the fifth-ranked Texas A&M softball team (36-7, 9-4 Big 12) could not push a run across as the Aggies dropped a 5-0 decision to the Missouri Tigers (33-18, 9-1 Big 12) on Saturday afternoon at University Field.
"You have to tip your hat to Missouri," A&M head coach Jo Evans said. "I thought Jen Bruck did a nice job of hitting her spots. She didn't make a lot of mistakes that we could hit on the plate. They played solid defense, they came out and played really well today."
A three-run fifth inning put the Tigers on the board and gave Bruck, MU's starting pitcher, enough run support for the victory. With one out, Allison Kennewell and Kathy Masterson hit back-to-back doubles, putting runners at second and third. Aggie catcher Beverly Rowan made a diving catch behind to the plate to retire Leanne Bowers. With two outs, however, Julie Silver struck out but reached first on a dropped ball by Rowan. One batter later, Amanda Renth cleared the bases with a double off the right field wall.
Missouri added two insurance runs in the sixth off two walks, two singles and a wild pitch.
Bruck retired the Aggies in order in the seventh to stifle any comeback. The senior improved to 15-5 on the season with the shutout. She worked all seven giving up four hits and four walks. She struck out six.
A&M's Megan Gibson (15-3) was charged with the loss. She worked 5 1/3 innings allowing five runs - two earned - off six hits, striking out four. Freshman left-hander Emily Shadow came in to relieve Gibson and close out the sixth, walking one.
"I thought Gibson threw really well today," Evans said. "In the fifth inning she ended up having to throw four outs. She got the big strikeout when we really needed it, and we just couldn't finish the play. It's disappointing leaving the ballpark knowing she did everything she could to shut down that fifth inning."
The series finale is set for noon Sunday and can be heard locally in the Bryan-College Station area on KZNE, 1150 AM.
"Tomorrow is a new day for us," Evans said. "We really need to come out and have confidence in our ability to win a ballgame. I think our team has done a great job this season in coming back from losses. I fully expect our team to come back and play great tomorrow."