Missouri softball’s offense fell flat in its 2-0 loss to Arizona in the Columbia Regional on Saturday at Mizzou Softball Stadium. The loss forces the Tigers into an elimination game Saturday night.

Arizona pestered Missouri starter Jordan Weber from the onset. In each of the first four innings, one of the Wildcats’ first two batters reached safely. In more than one instance, Arizona put multiple runners on base with less than two outs.

The Wildcats were in position to strike in the bottom of the first after Sharlize Palacios singled and Allie Skaggs worked a full-count walk with one out, but Weber forced back-to-back groundouts to get out of the jam.

A lightning delay paused the game for 78 minutes in the bottom of the third. When play resumed, Weber walked the first batter she faced, again putting runners on first and second with one out. Once again, she escaped unharmed.

Arizona broke through in the fifth inning. Weber retired the first two batters she faced but hit the third. Carlie Scupin then deposited a 3-2 pitch over the right-center field wall for a two-run homer and the only score of the game.

Hanah Bowen pitched a complete game for Arizona. She allowed four hits, walked two and struck out six.

Missouri had a scoring opportunity against Bowen in the third inning. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out on a pair of walks and a single, but Bowen retired Brooke Wilmes and Kimberly Wert to end the frame.

The Tigers had another scoring chance directly after the Wildcats took the lead. After Wilmes singled in the top of the sixth, Kendyll Bailey came close to a game-tying home run with a hit off the left-center field wall. Instead, Missouri had runners on second and third with one out. Alex Honnold then hit a pop-up before Kara Daly lined out to center field.

Missouri will play the winner of Missouri State vs. Illinois on Saturday night. A loss would end the Tigers’ season, while a win would advance them to play Sunday.

Originally published on columbiamissourian.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.