Missouri 9, Southern Illinois 0

May 21, 2005

Columbia, Mo. - Blanking their second opponent of the day, the 16th-ranked Missouri softball team (44-14) closed down No. 22 Southern Illinois (47-14), 9-0, in five innings at University Field to advance to tomorrow's 1 p.m. (CST) NCAA Regional tournament game against sixth-seeded and fourth-ranked Stanford. Southpaw Erica Peterson (Irving, Texas) made her 18th start of the season in the circle and collected her first collegiate solo no-hitter, fanning nine batters, the second most of her sophomore campaign.

Unlike yesterday's outing, the Tigers scored first against Southern Illinois. Leading off for the 112th time of her career, sophomore centerfielder Leanne Bowers (Arnold, Mo.) knocked a single to second and rounded the bases on Jen Bruck's (St. Peters, Mo.) swat to left field and a fielding error by SIU outfielder Krystal Stein. The Salukis turned a double play to close out the inning but were unable to put anything together offensively.

One of three Tigers to enter the tournament with 15 home runs on the season, senior shortstop Heather Kunkel (Oak Forest, Ill.) became the third of the day to tie Mary Babb's 1997 single season home run record with her one-out second inning laser to left field. With the launch, Kunkel joined Babb and today's home run hitters Micaela Minner (Sanger, Texas) and Bruck with 16 on the season and moved to second alongside Barb Wright with 24 home runs in her four year career.

The Tigers put up five runs in the third frame to jump to a decisive 9-0 lead. Bowers, 2-of-2 on the day led off the first, third and fourth innings, singling to second base in her first two at bats. Scoring three runs in the game, Bowers jumped to second alongside Babb for most runs scored in a single season. Babb previously set the record in 1995. Three MU players notched hits in the fifth inning including sophomore catcher Kathy Masteron's (St. Louis, Mo.) one-out double down the right field line to score the final two runs of the game.

Southern Illinois went through three pitchers in an attempt to shutdown the Tigers striking out only one MU batter.

Today's two-game victory marked the first time in two years that the Tigers advanced to the fourth game of a NCAA Regional Tournament series. The last time MU lost a regional opening game only to come back and win three straight came six years ago in 1999 in Los Angeles, Calif. Missouri finished the tournament 3-2 suffering a 12-5 loss to UCLA to be eliminated from a World Series appearance.

-- Courtesy Missouri