The Missouri softball team is in the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 1994, and their coach credits the team’s pitchers for a large role in the accomplishment.

The Missouri softball team is in the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 1994, and their coach credits the team’s pitchers for a large role in the accomplishment.
Coach Ehren Earleywine has plenty of talent on the mound, like hard-throwing freshman Chelsea Thomas who complements finesse pitcher Stacey Delaney.
“The thing that has propelled us is that, number one, this is the best pitching staff I have ever had,” Earleywine said. “When Chelsea Thomas signed I knew she could be a difference maker and with Stacey Delaney as my two, we knew the pitching was in place.”
The Tigers also feature Raytown South graduate Marla Schweisberger, who has started most of the season at first base. The sophomore is seventh among Big 12 regulars with a .383 batting average this season. She also has seven home runs and 45 RBIs.
The next stop for the Tigers (50-10) is Oklahoma City, where they’ll face the defending national champion Arizona State Sun Devils in the College World Series quarterfinals this afternoon.
Earleywine’s squad is the only unranked team left in the field.
They are coming off an upset victory over the No. 2 ranked UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles last weekend.
Missouri won the first and third games in a three-game series.
Delaney and Thomas each held the Bruins to one run in victories of 2-1 and 9-1, respectively. Thomas faced UCLA earlier in the season, losing 2-1 on a passed ball in the late innings.
Thomas said in the first game the Tigers played solid defense, had no errors and scored right away.
Early scoring was a key in both victories, especially in the final game against the Bruins when Missouri had three early runs against Megan Lagenfeld, who was starting for a third straight game after beating the Tigers 5-2 in the second game.
“Coach gave us a good speech saying that no other team has won game one, lost game two, and won game three,” senior outfielder Mikaela Minner said. “I knew we had it in the bag after that first inning because they seemed so flat, and it seemed like we won the game before it started with our enthusiasm.”
“I think ‘Coach E’ really talked to us about moving on,” first basemen Lindsay Ubrun said. “He said it was a new game and it had nothing to do with the other game.”
Ubrun seemed to have heard the message. She finished the third game with six RBIs to help the Tigers play a shortened game against the Bruins because of the run rule.
“I knew if we got her going, we’d be tougher to deal with,” Earleywine said. “I never did get a chance to say anything to her, and she did such a good job, but the game moves so fast and compliments get lost in the shuffle.”
The performance against UCLA series has given the Tigers confidence that they can compete against anyone in the country.
Missouri players don’t think it would be wise for the other seven teams to look past them this weekend, though they’re the lowest seeded team.
“I’m going to look right at them and say we can win this thing,” Earleywine said. “We just punched the No. 2 team right in the mouth in a run rule game, and if we can do that, we can beat anyone in the country.”