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Mizzou Wins Again! Homers and Dazzling Pitching Lead Tigers to Regional Title Game Sunday

Mizzou shuts out yet another opponent, and they are one win away from the Super Regionals.

@MizzouSoftball on Twitter

On a day that started out with extremely suspect weather, I was worried that Missouri’s softball game would again be delayed any number of times (and hours), and then I would not only not be able to attend the game, but I would also not have this little recap. So thankfully, Mizzou fans, the weather held off with only intermittent drizzling, and the crowd of approximately 2,200 got to witness a fantastic win for the Tigers with dazzling pitching and power hitting on display.

My view

On the mound for Missouri was freshman Laurin Krings, who came into the game with a 10-3 record on the season with four complete games and three shutouts, while the Panthers went with Kailyn Packard, who had pitched 5 shutout innings on only 64 pitches in Friday’s win over Iowa State. A pitcher’s duel ensued throughout much of the game, as both Krings and Packard traded strikeouts and fly outs for a good portion of the game.

It took Missouri’s offense a bit to get going, and it wasn’t until the second time facing Packard that the Tigers seemed to get more of a piece of the ball. Singles in the 1st inning by Hatti Moore and in the 3rd by Abby George, the latter of which extended to a double on an overthrow, was it for the offense early; Packard looked pretty unstoppable and it looked to be a long day for the Tigers.

As much as Missouri’s offense wasn’t connecting with the ball early on, it was even worse for their opponent, as Laurin Krings was d-e-a-l-i-n-g. She had a strikeout in the 1st, another in the 2nd, two more in the 3rd, and two more in the 4th.

Ooooooh weeeeeeee. I don’t know about y’all, but I LOVE watching good pitching.

Great pitching meant it was up to the Tigers’ offense to try and figure out the Panthers’ pitcher and not waste Laurin’s performance, and in the 4th, they did. Hatti led off the inning with a walk, but Casidy Chaumont hit into a double play (which looked VERY close), and it seemed like all hope was lost. That is, until Kim Wert came up to the plate and launched a home run to straightaway center field that landed - seriously - about three feet from me on the berm, and suddenly the Tigers were leading 1-0. They weren’t able to tack on any additional runs in the 4th or 5th, but it wasn’t needed, as Laurin’s masterful pitching continued, adding two more strikeouts to her total.

In the 6th inning, the Tigers struck again, and Brooke Wilmes hit a solo bomb out to left, extending Missouri’s lead to 2-0. In the bottom of the inning, things seemed to get a bit dicey for Laurin as she walked a batter — her third of the day — but a great double play by Kendyll Bailey ended the inning, and Missouri just needed to hang on.

With victory in their sights, the Tigers came up for their final at-bats in the top of the 7th to do some additional damage. Kim walked, and Cayla Kessinger followed with a strong liner to left field for a single. Emma Raabe added a single, but in doing so Cayla was out at second. Kendyll was next up and launched a double, which the Panthers’ outfielders had trouble corralling, and allowed the bases to clear. The Tigers went up 4-0 and drove Panthers’ pitcher Kailyn Packard from the game. Her final line? Four runs, six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts in 6.1 innings. The replacement pitcher, Hailey Sanders, immediately gave up a walk to put runners on first and second, but Brooke popped it up and Jenna ended the inning with a single that led to a fielder’s choice, getting the lead runner out at second.

Laurin came back out to finish off the game with a shutout and complete game on the line— Coach Anderson later said in the post game that she wouldn’t let her come out of the game despite being at 86 pitches — and promptly got her ninth strikeout. Kendyll hauled in a pop-up to short right for the second out, and the no-no was finally broken up on a single to left. That runner went nowhere, though, as Laurin struck out her tenth batter and ended the game with a beautiful strikeout looking. The 10 strikeout performance tied a career high for Laurin, and means that the Tigers still have an entire unused bullpen at their disposal for the next game(s).

Let’s check out those HIGHLIGHTS!

James Madison beat the Vols earlier Saturday, 3-1, and then lost to Liberty, ending the chances of a possible rematch in the Super Regionals. Should Mizzou beat Iowa State today, they’ll face either James Madison or Liberty (ew) next weekend in a three-game set. If you’re local, I highly recommend trying to make it to the game, and Coach Anderson agrees. This is such a fun bunch to watch!

Let’s go, Tigers! #OwnIt

Disclaimer: Karen is not a professional softball writer. She stopped playing softball in 8th grade. So while she enjoys watching it from time to time, and has enjoyed writing about it because this team kicks ass, it’s possible some terminology may not be the best.