What a weekend! To kick off their season, the Tigers began an extensive tour of the Sunshine State, playing five games in four days in Leesburg, FL (near Orlando). While the games were all on FloSoftball— I love Mizzou Softball, but I’m not paying for $30 a month for this — the best I can do in regards to recap is follow the reports from Twitter, the softball SID, and StatBroadcast.
Before we look at Mizzou’s next opponent, let’s check in on how the Tigers fared this weekend.
Game One featured an extra innings battle between Mizzou and Penn State, where Tigers ace Jordan Weber continued her dominance, tossing 6 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out 10 batters. While the Tigers threatened in the third and the Nittany Lions in the sixth — breaking up Jo’s no hit bid — neither team was able to plate any runs in regulation.
For free softball, the game used the international tiebreaker rules, and each half inning began with a runner on second. Penn State was able to take advantage first and with one out, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 8th, but Megan Schumacher was able to end the inning on a pair of strikeouts. In the bottom of the inning, Casidy Chaumont was placed on second, and Brooke Wilmes got her to third on a sac bunt. Jenna Laird then walked to put runners at the corners. After a groundout moved Laird to second, the Tigers had one chance left. Hatti Moore walked to load the bases and Megan Moll walked to tie it up. A Kim Wert line drive down the left field line ended the game in walk-off fashion, 2-1.
In Game Two, the Tigers jumped out to an early lead over UConn on a Laird homer to right center in the third, but the Huskies got it back at the bottom of the inning. They extended the lead in the fourth, pushing three more runs across, and added another in the bottom of the fifth, making it 5-1. The Tigers finally got another run in the sixth on a double by Moore to score Brooke Wilmes, who led off with a single, to make it 5-2, but the Huskies again answered with a run in the bottom of the inning, and the Tigers lost 6-2
In Game Three on Saturday against Wisconsin, Weber dominated on the mound, and the Tigers really showed off their offensive firepower, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI groundout by Chaumont and a Wilmes single. They tacked on three more runs in the third on a Wert double, a Kendyll Bailey sac fly, and RBI single by Moll. The Badgers attempted an answer in the top of the sixth, but plated only a run. And, in the sixth, the Tigers added three more runs on a two-run single by PH Vanessa Hollingsworth, followed by a Wilmes single to bring her in, and the Tigers won convincingly, 8-1.
In Game Four on Saturday evening, the Tigers faced their first (of many) ranked opponents on the season, taking on No. 10/13 Virginia Tech. Mizzou took an early lead over the Hokies in the second inning after a bases loaded single by Moll cleared the bases, making it 1-0. Alex Honnold then scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Virginia Tech broke through in the bottom of the third inning on a two-run double, tying things up, and then were able to take the lead, 3-2, in the fourth after an RBI single with two outs. In the fifth, the Tigers tied the game on a two out single by Laird and a dropped pop up which allowed her to score. But, the Hokies were done, and tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth. The Tigers couldn’t respond, and lost 4-3.
On Sunday, in Game Five, the Tigers closed out the weekend with a 6-5 win over No. 24 Liberty. Mizzou struck first on RBI single from Kim, but Liberty responded the following inning, going up 2-1 after an uncharacteristic error by the Tiger third baseman, followed by a number of singles. The score remained 2-1 until the fifth, when Chaumont hit a triple and was driven home by Laird to tie the game. Then, came the sixth, where the Tigers’ offense got going. With Wert and Bailey on base, PH Gabi Deters reached on a FC to load the bases, and Riley Frizell singled to drive in two runs. The Tigers then loaded the bases again, only to bring in another run on a HBP by Wilmes, and another on a walk by Laird. It got a little dicey in the bottom of sixth, and the Flames plated 5 runs of their own on a two singles, a walk, two wild pitches, and an error. Yikes. The Tigers held it together in the final inning, though, and ultimately extinguished the Flames to pick up their first top 25 win of the season.
While Coach Anderson said the following prior to the team leaving for Florida, I think it’s important to remember, as the team showed this past weekend that they are not going to give up at any point in a game. And they definitely, regardless of the outcome of a game, will not take that into the next game. She said:
“Every game is going to be a super regional game that you have to go to play all the whole time. I think what’s gonna separate us what we’re really working on this entire season is that it doesn’t matter if you strike out 15 times, and it could be the bottom of the seventh inning and we still have one out, but we still have a chance to win the game rather than thinking that we’re already defeated and just look until tomorrow. That’s really the mental toughness that I see within our players in overcoming that adversity rather than just packing in and saying okay, well we’ve been able to move on to something else all right?”
2021 RECORD: 42-17 (ranked #8 nationally)
2022 RECORD: 3-2
PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 5th in SEC
RANKING: #17 (ESPN.com/USA Softball), #14 (D1 Softball), #17 (Softball America) , #17 (USA Today/NFCA)
OPENING WEEKEND TOP PERFORMERS:
- Jenna Laird, SS: .438 BA / 5 R / 7 H / 2 2B / 1 HR / 3 RBI / .750 SLG% / .882 FLD% with 10 assists & 2 errors
- Kim Wert, 3B: .357 BA / 1 R / 5 H / 1 2B / 3 RBI / .429 SLG% / 1.000 FLD%
- Alex Honnold, OF: .353 BA / 2 R / 6 H / 2 2B / .451 SLG% / 1.000 FLD%
- Brooke Wilmes, OF: .353 BA / 1 R / 6 H / 2 2B / 3 RBI / .353 SLG% / 1.000 FLD%
- Jordan Weber, P: 1.11 ERA / 12.1 IP / 2-0 record / 3 H / 2 ER / 8 BB / 14 SO / .086 Opp BA
Let’s take a look at Mizzou’s opponent, shall we?
WHEN: Wednesday, February 16 at 5pm
TV/STREAMING: YouTube Live
2021 RECORD: 28-19
2022 RECORD: 2-2
PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 4th in A-Sun
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Senior Emily Estroff, P: 2021 A-SUN 2nd Team All-Conference / 2021 stats: .304 BA, 5 HR, .509 SLG%, 19 RBI / 2022 offensive stats: .400 BA, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 R / 2022 pitching stats: 5.04 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 1-0 record, 8.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 7 BB, 4 SO, .241 Opp BA
- Senior Reedy Davenport, INF: 2021 A-SUN Defensive Player of the Year / 2021 stats: .317 BA, 28 RBI, 40 H, 24 R, .987 FLD% with 4 errors & 108 assists / 2022 stats: .333 BA, 2 R, 4 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4RBI, .556 SLG%, .333 OB%
- Senior McKenna Batterton, OF: 2021 stats: .324 BA, 11 RBI, 35 H, 16 R, 3 2B, 3 3B, .407 SLG% / 2022 stats: .455 BA, 3 R, 5 H, 1 RBI, .455 SLG%, .538 OB%
- Grad Transfer Cana Davis, OF: Transfer from Virginia Tech / 2021 stats: .300 BA, 8 R, 24 H, 5 2B, 6 HR, 16 RBI / 2022 stats: .600 BA, 2 R, 6 H, 1 2B, 2 RBI, .700 SLG%, .636 OB%
- On Friday at home, the Eagles defeated consensus top-10 team Texas, 6-4. According to their team site, this is the second straight season the Eagles have picked up a win over a ranked opponent on the opening weekend.
- On Davis, who transferred in from Virginia Tech for her final year of eligibility, Coach Deimos said, ”I’m really excited to see what Cana can do at the plate and in the outfield for us this season. She has shown signs of being a strong power hitter in the past and she is the healthiest she has been since entering college. I am looking forward to seeing what she can accomplish in a full season.”
- While the Eagles lost A-SUN All Freshman Jameisha Rowe and A-Sun Second Team All-Conference player Taylor Bauman in the offseason, Deiros did bring in 6 transfers and a freshman to round out the roster, including the aforementioned Cana Davis, as well as C/1B Neely Peterson (Colorado State/Santa Fe), 3B/INF Tayli Filla (USF), and RHP Jordan Almacy (UCF). Almacy, in particular, looks to be a steal, and while she didn’t ever pitch for USF, she amassed a 36-18 record and 428 strikeouts in 360 innings.
- Head Coach David Deiros is, much like Bryan Blitz was for Mizzou Soccer, the founding father of FGCU softball. He is his 21st season. As of the start of 2021 season, Deiros had a 689-364-3 (.654) record, going 162-93 (.632) in the ASUN.
With softball season finally here, stay up to date with all our softball content by following me, @KarenSteger, and @RockMNation. I’ll have previews for each of Missouri’s series, as well as recaps when available (I’m not currently a FloSoftball subscriber — or YouTube Live in this case — so recapping these early games may prove difficult).