Disclaimer: It’s weird to write a recap without actual video evidence of a game, but I’ll try.
As an ending to Mizzou’s Florida excursion — I can’t decide if it’s wholly a business trip or a quasi-vacation given the weather situation around mid-MO — our Missouri Tigers softball team is currently in Orlando-ish (officially, Leesburg), playing five more games in a three day timespan. Since the Tigers have played four of the five games in this series, I figured now was a good time to check in on their progress and give Sam a break from talking about basketball, since that’s… ummm… not going well. #softballschool
In Game 1, the Tigers jumped out to a quick lead over South Alabama, and in the bottom of the first, Brooke Wilmes led off with a triple before Jenna Laird singled to get the Tigers on the board, 1-0. In the fourth, Kim Wert launched her second homer of the season, but the Jaguars answered with a two run shot of their own in the bottom of the inning, tying things up at 2-2. After that Jags’ homer, Megan Schumacher took over on the mound, and was ultimately able to keep South Alabama off the board. In the bottom of the seventh, Laird had an infield single and was bunted over to second by catcher Hatti Moore. Then, with two outs, Kendyll Bailey hit a ball into left and Laird scored, ending the game in walkoff fashion. The Tigers won 3-2, and Schumacher got the W. Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ ace, Olivia Lackie, now 0-2 with a 4.32 ERA on the season, took the L.
In Game 2, I was fully braced for Carolina’s Sara Jubas, formally of our James Madison nightmares, to cause some heart palpitations, but she was surprisingly 0-4 on the day. For the Tigers, I’d say freshman Kara Daly was the player of the game, as she was 2-3 with a HR and 2RBI. The Tigers were quiet starting out, and it wasn’t until the third inning when they got things going on the aforementioned Daly homer, which gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Neither team was able to do much of anything until the fourth inning, when Mizzou’s Kim Wert hit her second homer of the day, launching a two-run shot and making it 3-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tarheels finally answered, and with the bases loaded, Kianna Jones smashed a double, scoring two runs, before a relay throw from Brooke Wilmes to Jenna Laird to catcher Gabi Deters caught her at home. In the sixth, Mizzou added a couple of insurance runs as Maddie Snider, acting as a pinch runner, stole her third consecutive base, and after Gabi Deters reached on a walk, they executed a double steal, which resulted in a Mizzou 4-2 lead. Kara Daly then singled and it was 5-2.
Emma Nichols came in in relief in the bottom of the sixth inning, and was able to retire the final five batters after inadvertently hitting the first one she faced. Mizzou won over UNC, 5-2. Laurin Krings ended up with the win in this one, pitching 5 innings while allowing 8 hits, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, and 1K on 96 pitches, while Carolina pitcher Lilli Backes (1-1) took the loss.
GAME THREE & FOUR
The theme of Saturday’s double-header was dominant pitching, as Mizzou’s top two pitchers, Laurin “Specs” Krings and Jordan Weber, shined extra bright. According to the Missourian’s Chris Blake, the Tigers’ opponents went a combined 2-45 (0.44) at the plate on Saturday.
In Game 3, facing off against HBCU Bethune-Cookman, after a little bit of trouble in the first inning— two walks and an error by Daly loaded the bases with only one out — Specs dominated, throwing a no-hitter, and the Tigers won, 6-0. This was the Tigers’ 41st no-hitter in Mizzou Softball history.
As for how the Tigers’ six runs accumulated, Missouri got hot early, plating three runs in the first inning on Laird sac fly that scored Brooke Wilmes, who had doubled the third pitch of the game. Then, with two out in the first, Alex Honnold tripled, allowing Kim Wert to score, before coming home herself on a wild pitch.
In the third, Maddie Snider used some savvy base-running to get into scoring position before she was driven in by Wert, and then, with the bases loaded, Emma Raabe hit a sac fly, scoring Hannah McGivern, making it 5-0. The Tigers made it 6-0 in the sixth, after Brooke Wilmes executed a squeeze play, bunting home Kendal Cook, who was running for catcher Hatti Moore.
And in Game 4, Jordan Weber (3-0) shut out the Florida Atlantic Owls 3-0 without too much of a problem. She retired the first three batters she saw in the first, and worked around a single walk in the second. In the fourth, she struck out the side, and it wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Owls broke up Jo’s no-hit bid on a double to left. She was able to get out of the inning without any runs scoring, though, and had no issues finishing off the shutout, allowing just one other hit (a bloop single in the sixth).
Offensively, it took Mizzou a bit to get started. It wasn’t until the third that the Tigers loaded the bases, but couldn’t bring home a run. In the fourth, they were finally able to capitalize on an Alex Honnold single into left, which brought in Kendal Cook (pinch running for Wert, who had gotten aboard with a double). Honnold then scored on a wild pitch, making it 2-0. Things were quiet again until the sixth, when the Tigers added an insurance run, this time on a bases loaded walk by Julia Crenshaw, making her first start in the OF.
Weber’s line in Game 4? 7IP, 2 H, 1BB, 9SO on 88 pitches. Her ERA on the season is 1.11, to go with a 0.760 WHIP. Abigail Morgan took the loss for FAU, and fell to 0-1 on the season.
For the finale to their extensive Florida business trip, the Tigers will take on Maryland today at 10:30am. While that Terps started the season solidly enough, going 2-2, they haven’t had the best weekend thus far, and may be looking for some redemption. On Friday, they were run-ruled by Liberty, 9-0 (Mizzou beat them 6-5 a week ago), and they also lost to Stetson (5-4 record on the year) Friday evening. On Saturday, they played FAU, losing 1-0 and beat Bethune-Cookman, 11-3.
If you haven’t checked out my in-depth preview yet, there’s still time!