‘Heat and Cheese’ pair fire up Mizzou softball crowd

By Barbara Maningat

Tim Muller, Mark Hay

Photo by Kelsie Heneghan
Tim Muller (in yellow shirt on left) and Mark Hay (in yellow shirt on right) yell across University Field after a good play by Missouri during a softball game on March 19.

They are the loudest fans in the crowd at any Missouri softball game at University Field. Known as the “Heat and the Cheese Guys,” Tim Muller and Mark Hay have amplified the stands with their notable cheers for the past three years — the amount of time their daughters have played for the Tigers. Designated hitter/first baseman Lindsey Muller and catcher Rachel Hay are not the only ones who appreciate the enthusiasm.

View this story on KBIA Sports Extra

No. 10 Mizzou softball blasts a 7-0 win over No. 18 Baylor for series sweep

By Barbara Maningat

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Missouri Tiger bats were slow to make noise this series – but they wasted no time in Game 3. The Tigers blasted seven straight unanswered runs in the first two innings, completing the series sweep with a shutout over the Baylor Bears on Sunday, 7-0. This game extended Missouri’s home winning streak to 21 straight and moved the team to a 28-5 record on the season, 7-2 in Big 12 play.

The Tigers managed a 4-2 win on Saturday and ended Game 2 eager for offensive contact earlier in the game.

Freshman Kelsea Roth said Missouri batters modified their approach for Game 3.

“We came up with a better plan today and we came out knowing what we need to hit and how to adjust, the adjustments we didn’t make for yesterday’s game,” Roth said.

Roth went 2-for-7 with no runs and no RBIs in the first two games of the series, so she made some adjustments for Game 3 as she went.

“They’ve been throwing me inside for most of the series, so I was just looking for the inside,” Roth said. “It definitely felt a lot better because I wasn’t doing too hot this series.”

The adjustments were obvious from the first at-bat.

Ashley Fleming began the four-run rally with a one-run double to right field to score Corrin Genovese. Roth then struck her fourth home run of the season to score Fleming.

Lindsey Muller and Kelsea Jones finished the first inning with back-to-back singles. Muller scored on a throwing error.

The Tigers loaded the bases again in the second inning and added three more runs for the early 7-0 lead. Jenna Marston, Genovese and Nicole Hudson were on base when Fleming singled for an RBI. Genovese later scored on a walk by Roth and Muller reached on a fielder’s choice to contribute the last RBI of the game.

While Missouri batters kept swinging, pitcher Chelsea Thomas kept Baylor batters idle. She shut out the Bears with 10 strikeouts and allowed only two hits, improving to 14-3 on the season.

“We cut back on the changeup and tried to get easy outs,” Thomas said. “And it worked out. That was our only adjustment from yesterday’s game for pitching.”

Tiger heads now turn to a big three-game series against the No. 6 Texas Longhorns in Austin, beginning Thursday, April 5.

Hudson’s grand slam adds second Missouri win over Baylor

By Barbara Maningat

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Before the sixth inning, the Missouri Tigers only had two hits – until their bats came alive. Hudson hit a grand slam that swung the Tigers ahead to a 4-2 victory in Game 2 over the Baylor Bears.

The Bears scored first with a two-run homer by pinch hitter Shelbi Redfearn in the top of the fifth inning. The Tigers closed the inning scoreless, leaving them anxious to retaliate.

Then the Tigers responded.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Ashtin Stephens sparked some hope with a single to left field. Corrin Genovese then struck out swinging, but back-to-back walks by Jenna Marston and Ashley Fleming loaded the bases for Hudson’s grand slam.

“I was right in the spot that I wanted to be and she left me something out there I could get a hold of,” Hudson said. “I think I’ve hit the outside pitch well and the inside pitch well, but I’m feeling pretty confident at this point.”

She also said the Tiger offense needs improvement for Sunday’s game.

“I think everyone wants to come out swinging and come out with a plan and jump on them a lot earlier. We should have hit a lot better than we did today, but I think we’ll make up for it tomorrow,” Hudson said.

Kristin Nottelmann started off for the Tigers on the mound and threw little for the Bears to bite.

“One of Baylor’s general weaknesses was hitting the change-up and I think it worked perfectly today,” Nottelmann said.

She pitched five and one-third innings and struck out four, allowing four hits and two earned runs. Bailey Erwin relieved Nottelmann to close the sixth and allowed only one hit. Chelsea Thomas then came in for the save in the seventh.

With two wins in the three-game series, the Tigers look to complete the sweep over Baylor in Game 3, Sunday at noon.

“Anything less [than a sweep] is a disappointment,” Hudson said.

If Missouri takes the third win, they would extend their home winning streak to 21-straight and bolster momentum into a pivotal series against No. 6 Texas starting April 5.

A Taboo-ed Relationship: Caleb Hoke and Allison Braun

By Barbara Maningat

Society has an array of unwritten rules for dating relationships – but for Caleb Hoke and Allison Braun, defying some of these general practices has come naturally. Hoke, a sophomore photojournalism major, and Braun, a senior majoring in English and women studies, live together in a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Columbia. They met after a Mizzou LGBTQ Resource Center event Hoke’s freshman year and have been together for just over one year. Hoke leads a transgender discussion group with the Resource Center and Braun helps more with event logistics and training. Despite the age difference, the couple says they’re practically the same person because they spend so much time together and share a sarcastic sense of humor. Although Braun graduates in May, they plan on sticking together.


Mizzou defeats Kansas for 13-game winning streak

By Barbara Maningat

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Missouri softball kicked off Big 12 conference play with another run-rule victory, defeating rival Kansas 10-0. Chelsea Thomas got the win, giving her a 9-1 record on the season. She pitched four and one-third shutout innings before allowing one hit in the top of the fifth. Lindsey Muller led the team and went 3-for-3 with one RBI while Corrin Genovese and Nicole Hudson each recorded two hits. In the last play of the game, freshman Kelsi Jones drove in three RBIs with her third home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth inning, helping the Tigers end the Jayhawks’ 20-game winning streak.

Due to Saturday’s weather, the Tigers and Jayhawks will play a double header on Sunday, starting at noon.

Vox: Chelsea Thomas softball stats quiz

By Barbara Maningat and Kelsie Heneghan

Redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas is gaining a lot of national attention for her record statistics on the mound for Mizzou softball. Watch as Vox tests if she know just how impressive she looks on paper.

*I pitched, edited and produced this package.


CLICK HERE for the full feature story.

Mizzou softball seniors leading the team by example

By Barbara Maningat and Kelsie Heneghan

With 10 freshmen on the Missouri softball team, the Tigers look to seniors Ashley Fleming and Kristin Nottelmann for leadership.

Coach Ehren Earleywine has not asked either of the players to step-up, but his seniors have taken charge with the motto, “lead by example.” As the team’s 2011 top hitter, Fleming leads with her bat and offensive skills. Nottelmann, a pitcher, shows how to have grace and poise as the No. 2 starter.

Freshmen Kelsea Roth and Corrin Genovese have taken notice and hope to help the seniors return to the Women’s College World Series in their final season.

*I took photos, gathered audio, wrote script and edited this piece


View the audio slideshow on KBIA Sports Extra

Mizzou softball freshmen align themselves with the team’s winning ways

Photos by Barbara Maningat, Story by Kelsie Heneghan

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With the addition of 10 freshmen, the Missouri Tigers softball team had plenty of new faces Saturday at their annual Black and Gold game. But you won’t hear any of the Tigers say it’s a rebuilding year.

Senior power hitter Ashley Fleming hit the single home run of the day. “I was recruited to hit and I should be hitting like I have the past few years,” Fleming said. She led the team with a .356 batting average in the 2011 season.

“We don’t see it that way at all,” senior outfielder Ashley Fleming said. “There might be more ups and downs and times when you can tell that we are younger than we were last year, but ultimately, I think we are going to be in the right direction and ready when it comes time for postseason and when we need to be ready.”

Before the game started, the 2011 team received their Big 12 championship rings. Former players including Rhea Taylor and Abby Vock were there to see old teammates and reflect on last season.

“I definitely think they (the 2012 team) will have as much success as we did last year,” Taylor said. “They just have to work really, really hard. I believe that they’ll do that.”

Fleming led the Black team by hitting a homerun in the intersquad match, which helped beat the Gold team 8-0. Coach Ehren Earleywine set the lineup for his best hitters on the Black team against his ace, redshirted junior Chelsea Thomas, starting for the Gold team.

“When I made the lineup I thought, if I’m a fan, what do I want to see?” Earleywine said.

Alongside Fleming on the Black squad was freshman outfielder Kayla Kingsley, who showed why she is in contention for a roster spot this season.

“For a little girl, she’s got some real lively hands,” Earleywine said.

Kinglsey was recently out for a week after being hit in the head by a bat that had flown out of freshman Lindsey Muller’s hands. Kingsley played centerfield for the Black team on Saturday, but Earleywine said the lineup is not final; he is still deciding which freshmen to red shirt this season.

Freshman Ashtin Stephens could possibly be redshirted, as an MRI has discovered a labrum tear in her hip. Doctors will decide Monday if she will be able to play this season or not.

If this game were any indication of how the season will go, Earleywine would be pleased.

“We moved the ball around enough to get a few runs and if you get a few runs and you have Chelsea Thomas, you win the game,” Earleywine said. “Cocktail for a championship right there.”

Vox: Pairing Cheat Sheet – No matter the occasion, wine and cheese are called for

Graphic by Barbara Maningat

Just in case you’re running a bit short on time to download an app, or your phone is dead, or you have no internet access (in which case, we question how you are reading this), we’ve created this handy graphic. It’s inspired by our Cheese Cupid app story, to help you pick your perfect pairing. View published graphic.


Vox: The Hidden Lives of Mules


This Vox magazine front-page feature appeared as a splash page online. A full text article covering the history and significance of mules in Missouri, photos and multimedia videos can be found on the website.

CLICK HERE for the full story on VoxMagazine.com


The mule is the state animal of Missouri — but how much do we really know about them? At an auction barn in Boone County, Vox Magazine takes a look at the history of Missouri mules.

*I shot video, conducted interviews and produced the package for web.


“I can’t think of any better ambassadors for the school than the mules, besides the students,” Dr. John Dodam, associate dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said during a campus tour in the mule cart. The mules, Tim (always on the left) and Terry, are active members of the Columbia community. They give campus tours and hayrides and participate in many activities with the students at the veterinary school as part of the MU Mule Club.

*I produced the package for web.