Necks face Mizzou at home


Angel Strack/ Courier Staff

Hailey Duwa at bat for the Purple and Gold.

Brandan Reidy, Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks (16-23) are set to face off against the Missouri Tigers (24-24) on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Both teams are having solid seasons, but Western Illinois has been very streaky as of late. The Leatherneck’s bats have been as hot as the desert in the summertime, and are the driving force behind their 8-2 record over their last 10 games.

The Tigers of Missouri are coming off a series sweep against the University of South Carolina, and are looking to get back on track against the Purple and Gold. The Tigers are a Power Five team, playing in the SEC, but it will not be the first time Western will square off against elite company.

The Leathernecks are 1-3 on the season against power five schools, but their lone win came last week against the University of Iowa. The Leathernecks will look to add another Power Five victory to their record on Wednesday, but will have to play some very smart softball.

The Purple and Gold will have to keep up the way they have played the past 10 games if they want to beat the Tigers on Wednesday.

They will need pitcher Emily Ira to keep doing her thing, and pitch another gem reminiscent to the one she threw against Iowa. Ira has been outstanding all season long. She has a 9-7 record to go along with an incredible ERA of 3.12.

However, Ira cannot get this win by herself. Western Illinois’ bats need to stay hot if they want to get the victory on Wednesday.

Hailey Duwa will lead the Leatherneck offense. Duwa is hitting .381 with 28 RBI’s and five homeruns. She is the focal point of the Leatherneck offense, but cannot do it alone.

Look for freshmen Ashley Minyard and Alyssa Ealy to bounce back after both players had an up and down series against Omaha.

Miyard and Ealy both got off to some strong starts this season, but have cooled off as of late. If Western Illinois wants to add another Power Five win, they will need a strong showing from the freshmen duo.

Sophomore Infielder Braxton Burnside leads the Tigers of Missouri. Burnside has been the leader of the dugout since she stepped in her freshman year. She drove in 52 runs as a freshman and was on the 2017 Freshman All-SEC team. The Leathernecks will need to slow down Braxton if they want to keep their hot streak alive.

The Leathernecks will play the Tigers today at Mary Ellen McKee Stadium at 3 p.m.

Twitter: brendanreidyII