Missouri heads into SEC Tournament

The Missouri Tigers have wrapped up the No. 3 seed as they prepare for their first-ever Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament.

The event, which is set for Wednesday through Saturday and is hosted by the University of Kentucky, will have Florida (49-7, 18-6 SEC) as the top seed. Tennessee (43-9, 16-6) will be the No. 2 seed.

The Tigers (33-10) are fresh off taking two of three from the Tennessee this weekend in Columbia.

Missouri, ranked 11th in the nation, clinched the series win over the second-ranked Volunteers with a 12-8 win Sunday. The game was stopped after the top of the sixth inning due to a 2 p.m. deadline set for Tennessee’s travel constraints.

The Tigers rode the pitching and hitting of Nicole Hudson to the victory.

At the plate, Hudson smacked two home runs and drove in six runs. That included a two-run dinger in the first inning and a grand slam in the second.

In the circle, Hudson threw a complete game, scattering 12 hits. All eight runs were earned and she struck out three while improving to 10-5 on the season.

Also for Missouri, Emily Crane had two hits and one RBI, Rachel Hay had one hit and two RBI and Jenna Marston and Angela Randazzo had one hit and one RBI apiece.

On Saturday, the teams split a doubleheader.

Missouri won the opener 2-0 as Chelsea Thomas twirled a no-hitter.

Thomas (20-4) walked three and struck out seven in the gem, the 11th solo no-hitter of her college career and 14th combined no-hitter.

The Tigers got a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Sarah Moore and the other run in the fifth on an RBI single by Randazzo.

That was it for the Tigers, who had just five hits against two Tennessee hurlers.

The Volunteers then regrouped for a 10-1 rout of the Tigers in five innings in the nightcap.

Marston and Corrin Genovese had two hits each for Missouri.

Hudson started and took the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and one walk in four innings. Lindsey Muller pitched the final frame and gave up four earned runs on three hits and one walk.

In their inaugural year in the SEC, the Tigers went 15-8. Missouri will open the the SEC Tournament at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against No. 22 Arkansas, the sixth seed.

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