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MU advances to championship softball game

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The numbers say the Missouri Tigers should have lost Saturday to Hofstra.

Except the number on the scoreboard.

Missouri managed just one hit in the winner’s bracket final of the NCAA Softball Regional, but it was enough as the Tigers posted a 1-0 victory against the Pride to advance to today’s championship.

“I don’t know if there are softball gods or not, but I do understand his (Hoffstra coach Bill Edwards) feeling of frustration because they were the better team today,” Missouri head coach Ehren Earleywine said.

Make no mistake, Edwards was frustrated.

“It shows you how really cruel this game can be sometimes,” he said. “Everyone played great. We had the one miscue, and then they got the hit when they had to have it. We had runners in scoring position all day. We just couldn’t get the key hit to bring them in.”

Hofstra finished with eight hits and two walks against Missouri ace Chelsea Thomas. But no runs.

“Chelsea pitched us out of every jam we got into today,” Earleywine said. “She talked about her competitiveness and that extra gear. I would like to think it is a controlled extra gear. You don’t need to throw in that fifth gear the entire game, but when somebody gets in scoring position, the ability to shift down, and throw a little harder, spin a little tighter, something they haven’t seen before, that can be very effective. That is what I hope she is really doing, instead of just being competitive.”

Missouri got the game’s lone run in the third. Princess Krebs reached on an error and moved to second on a sacrifice. Emily Crane then hit a two-out single to score Krebs.

Crane said she was trying not to feel the pressure of the situation.

“Just trying to relax and keep having fun,” she said. “If I think too much, then things usually don’t happen for me as well. So I just try to stay relaxed and just keep playing the game. It was a good game for my teammates.”

And that run was enough.

“This game is all about timing,” Edwards said. “We talk about the timing of it, the game within the game. It’s not about how many hits you get, it’s when you get them. It’s not how many errors you make, it’s when you make them. It’s not how many strikeouts you get, it’s when you get them. It’s all about timing, so you can have quite a nice team like we did today, maybe against Missouri, but they got the win. Kudos to them. They made all their plays.”

Missouri (37-11) will face Hofstra again 1 p.m. today. With a Tiger loss, there would be a second game scheduled at 3:30 p.m. in the double-elimination event.

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