COLUMBIA, Mo. — No. 8 Missouri bounced back with a 6-3 victory against No. 3 Texas on Sunday, salvaging a split of the series and keeping their Big 12 title hopes alive. Nicole Hudson led the offense by going 3-for-4 on the afternoon with a home run and four RBI. Rhea Taylor picked up a pair of hits and scored twice, while Jenna Marston went 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored and two driven in.
The Tigers now stand at 43-7 overall and 12-3 in Big 12 play. They sit one full game behind Texas, who is 45-7 and 14-3 in the Big 12.
Texas jumped out ahead with a run in the top of the first inning on a fielder’s choice RBI by Amy Hooks. Leadoff hitter Taylor Hoagland singled to start the game, and Brejae Washington followed with a bunt single to put two on. After a sacrifice bunt, Hooks grounded out to Marston, who threw Washington out trying to get to third, which allowed Hoagland to score.
Missouri answered back with one of their own on an RBI base hit by Hudson in the bottom of the first. Taylor singled to lead things off and moved to second on a Texas throwing error on the play. Marston laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, and Hudson sent a 1-1 pitch back up the middle to bring in Taylor.
Taylor Thom hit a two-run home run for Texas in the top of the third with two outs, scoring Hoagland, who singled with one out.
Not to be outdone, however, was Hudson, who tied things up with a two-run homer of her own in the bottom half of the inning. Marston led off the frame with a walk, as she fell behind 0-2 but worked the count back to full before drawing the base on balls. Hudson then sent the third pitch she saw over the fence in dead center field, knotting the game up at 3-3. The home run was the 11th of the season for Hudson, setting a new career-best and taking the team lead.
Mizzou took control of the game with some timely two out hitting in the bottom of the fourth. After a leadoff walk to Megan Christopher, Taylor Duplechain came in to pinch run and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Abby Vock. Duplechain would move to third on a ground out, and came in to score on a base hit by Marston through the left side of the infield. Hudson then followed by splitting the gap in left-center field, bringing Marston all the way around from first and putting the Tigers up 5-3.
The Longhorns put a runner on in each of the next two innings, but Christopher erased them by throwing each of them out trying to steal second base to keep the two-run advantage for the Tigers.
Another two out RBI by Marston added some extra insurance for the Tigers, as she pushed Missouri’s lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth. With two down, Taylor laid down a perfect bunt for a base hit, and then swiped second base. Marston then hit a liner into center field, allowing Taylor to score with ease.
Chelsea Thomas picked up the victory as she improved to 25-5 on the season. The Tiger ace went the distance, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out eight and walked a pair. With her second strikeout of the game, she became the first Tiger pitcher ever with 300 strikeouts in a single season.