Photo Courtesy of AP
STARKVILLE, Miss. – No. 15 Mizzou Softball (39-14) fell 7-4 to South Carolina in eight innings on Wednesday in the first round of the 2016 SEC Tournament. The Tigers held a 4-0 advantage with one out remaining in the seventh inning, but South Carolina tallied seven unanswered runs over the final two frames.
Junior Chloe Rathburn (Mission Viejo, Calif.) hit her 14th home run of the season in the sixth inning to extend the Tigers’ late advantage. Rathburn’s 57th and 58th RBI of the season moved her into seventh place in most all-time single-season RBI.
Senior Emily Crane (Troy, Mo.) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, upping her multi-hit season total to 19 games. Sophomore Paige Lowary (Dallas Center, Iowa) was lights out through her first six innings of work. The Tiger southpaw was one out away from another complete game victory before the Gamecocks lineup finally broke through in the seventh inning.
Redshirt seniors Taylor Gadbois (Maryville, Mo.) and Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) put Mizzou on top in the fifth inning with a pair of RBI singles. Fagan’s two out knock marked her 50th RBI of the year.
The Tigers will learn their destination for NCAA Regional action during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, May 15. Mizzou is seeking to host its eighth-consecutive NCAA Regional at University Field in Columbia, Mo.
The Tigers added two key insurance runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning. Mizzou was one out away from a SEC Tournament first round triumph, but the Gamecocks exploded for seven runs over their finals two at bats. A pair of three-run home runs by South Carolina proved to be the knockout punches.