CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – No. 20 Mizzou Softball (7-3) produced a thrilling 9-5 comeback win over No. 7 Washington on Friday afternoon, in day two of the 2017 Mary Nutter Classic. The visiting Huskies recorded five runs in their first at bat, putting the Tigers in an early hole. Mizzou responded in a big way, posting nine unanswered runs en route to its second top 25 victory this year.
Redshirt sophomore Madi Norman (Tipton, Mo.) fired her third complete game of the season, as she was lights out after the first inning. In Washington's five-run opening frame, only one earned run was charged to Norman's pitching line, as a costly Tiger fielding error contributed to the other four runs.
Things began clicking at the conclusion of the first inning for Norman, as she struck out her final two batters. Through her final six innings in the circle, the Tiger righty allowed only three hits and zero runs, while posting eight additional punch outs. Overall, Norman finished with 10 strikeouts against the Huskies, marking her second consecutive start with double-digit K's.
Down 5-0 in the first, Mizzou's bats answered in the bottom half of the inning with three runs of its own. Senior Kirsten Mack (Riverside, Calif.) and freshman Braxton Burnside (Paragould, Ark.) delivered back-to-back home runs, quickly knocking out the Huskies starting hurler.
In the bottom of the third, Burnside hit her second home run of the game to even the score at five apiece. The first-year Tiger shortstop secured her first career multi-home run game, while destroying her team-leading fourth round tripper this season.
The Tigers bats went silent the next two innings, as each team's pitchers began to lock-in inside the circle. Beginning with the final two outs in the third inning, Norman retired 11 consecutive Washington hitters to keep the game tied at five.
Sophomore Rylee Pierce (Visalia, Calif.) opened the bottom of the sixth with a double, setting the stage for the Tigers' first lead of the afternoon. After a lengthy at bat, freshman Cayla Kessinger (Saugus, Calif.) recorded her biggest hit of the year, roping an RBI single to centerfield.
Mizzou's sudden one-run advantage quickly grew to four later that inning, as senior Natalie Fleming (Silex, Mo.) launched her first home run of the season, a three-run moonshot over the left field fence.