I would like to stop titling Mizzou Softball recaps “Welp,” you guys. Really, I would. I didn’t want to make a Part 2, and I certainly don’t want to make a Part 3 or 4 anytime... ever. Problem is, that is the word I’m left with as the Tigers remain winless in the SEC, and are now 0-5 after losing all three games to Ole Miss in Oxford. Yikes.
While we’re (lightly) piling on, it also should be mentioned that they’ve lost five of their last six, and as of the new D1 Softball rankings released today, Missouri is now out of the top 25 (they’re 26th) when last week they were holding at no. 20. Not surprising, but maybe that’s what they need to get their heads back in the game?
Remember, Ole Miss is not a bad team. They are undefeated at home (14-0) and only have 7 losses on the season. They also, if you read my preview, matched up pretty evenly with the Tigers, so I wouldn’t consider losing these games to be as bad as losing to say, Ball State. They returned 11 starters to a team that made the tourney last year.
But anyway... let’s just get to the recap. I tried to include some bright moments as well as the … ahem… bad stuff. With three losses, there is sadly much more bad than good. I tried.
GAME ONE, MIZZOU 1 , OLE MISS 5
The game started off well enough on Friday night, as the first and second innings for starter Jordan Weber were scoreless, and aside from a couple walks (one each inning), she had things under control.
But in the bottom of the third, Paige Smith crushed a three-run shot to give the Ole Miss the lead after a single and a walk led off the inning, and truthfully, that’s all the Rebels needed. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be all though, as they also added two more runs on a double, making it 5-0 by the end of the inning.
All the Tigers could get back was a single run in the top of the fourth when a two out single by Kendyll Bailey brought home Laird (who had doubled), making it 5-1. Megan Schumacher entered for Weber in the bottom of the fourth, and she did all she could while fans just hoped Mizzou would get back on track. They didn’t, and fell 5-1.
Jo’s stats: 3 IP / 4 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 3 BB / 4 K / 1 WP / 17 BF / 82 pitches
Megan’s stats: 3 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 1 BB / 3 K / 11 BF / 42 pitches
Diederich’s stats (OM): 3 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 1 BB / 2 K / 11 BF / 53 pitches
Borgen’s stats (OM): 4 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 1 K / 16 BF / 56 pitches
Bright spots: Jenna Laird extended her hit streak to 7 games, and Kendyll Bailey continued to be an RBI machine, driving in 4 over her previous 4 games. Schu entered and did her job, pitching three scoreless and not allowing a hit.
Not-so-bright spots: Brooke Wilmes has been in the worst slump of her career (0-for-14). Additionally, something seems “off” with Jordan Weber, as she’s really struggling to stay in games right now. Offensively, the Tigers only managed four hits the entire game (Wert, Bailey, Raabe- 1B / Laird- 2B) and only two other Tigers got on base (Honnold- 2 walks, Moore- FC). That kind of offense — or lack thereof — isn’t going to cut it in the hellscape that is the Southeastern Conference (more on that later).
GAME TWO, MIZZOU 3 , OLE MISS 5
Stop me if you’ve heard this before... a big inning was ultimately the Tigers’ undoing. We’ll get to it, but first let’s start at the beginning, where it was promising.
The Rebels almost got on board early on a two out double, but an extremely heads up play by Brooke Wilmes in CF to SS Jenna Laird on the relay, saved a run from getting across the plate. After that play, I really thought this was going to be the turning point in the series for the Tigers. They looked… ready.
The first four innings proved largely to be a pitcher’s duel between Laurin Krings and Catelyn Riley, and it wasn’t until the top of the fifth when the offensive explosion happened. Unfortunately for the Tigers, their “explosion” was more of a single firecracker, as Kendyll Bailey hit a solo shot to give the Tigers a short-lived lead, 1-0.
At the bottom of the fifth, the actual explosion occurred. After a walk and infield single, Bre Roper (who had a helluva weekend) crushed a three-run shot that gave the Rebels a 3-1 lead. And they weren’t done. After a walk and a strikeout, Abbey Latham added to the total with a two-run shot of her own, making it 5-1. This was the end of Krings’ outing, and she was promptly replaced by Emma Nichols, who got a flyout to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, the Tigers threatened with a Laird single and Kara Daly walk, but ultimately, the Tigers stranded both runners. The Rebels loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth on two walks and a wild pitch as fans watched in fear, but the Tigers were able to get out of the jam.
In the top of the seventh, Missouri finally added a couple of runs on solo shots from both Bailey (her second of the day) and Gabi Deters, but the game was already over. Another loss.
Krings’ stats: 4.2 IP / 6 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / 2 WP / 23 BF / 92 pitches
Emma’s stats: 1. 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 3 BB / 1 K / 7 BF / 29 pitches
Catelyn Riley’s stats (OM): 7.0 IP / 6 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / 28 BF / 96 pitches
Bright spot: Kendyll Bailey continued to rake, crushing two home runs, and went 3-3 on the day, and PH Gabi Deters hit homer no. 2 of the year. Laird was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, and continued her hit streak to 8 games. Krings surpassed 100 strikeouts on the season, and is only 17 K behind her total from 2021. The Tigers managed 6 hits (better?!): Laird (2), Bailey - 1B / Bailey, Deters- HR, but only had two other runners on base (Raabe- FC, Daly - walk) and stranded 4 on the bases.
Not-so-bright spot: Specs falling apart in the fifth after otherwise putting together a good showing. My fun twitter “K Watch” turned into... “Oh no, that’s not good and I don’t wanna watch” watch. Wilmes’ struggles at the plate continued, and she extended her hitless streak to 0-for-17.
GAME THREE: MIZZOU 1, OLE MISS 5
Disclaimer: I didn’t see the actual game on Sunday — I was at work — but from the notifications from the Mizzou Softball account coming to my watch, I know it again wasn’t good.
Mizzou gave their ace Laurin Krings another shot to get the first SEC W, while Ole Miss brought back out their Game One pitchers, Borgen and Diederich, who flip-flopped their order of appearance this time. Facing them again didn’t help the Tigers to adjust though, as they weren’t able to manage a whole lot of anything at the plate.
Ole Miss got out in front first in this one, scoring one in the first on a bloop single into left, and just tacked on more from there. In the third, the Rebels scored three when - with the bases loaded - a wild pitch and a error allowed two runs to score. The Rebels then loaded the bases again, and Megan Schumacher was brought in to replace Krings before she got an out in the third. After a strikeout, a wild pitch allowed another run to come in, and it was suddenly 4-0.
The Tigers couldn’t get anything going themselves in the fourth (though Wilmes’ 0-for-18 hitless streak did stop— yay!!), and Mississippi added another run in the bottom of the inning when back-to-back walks were followed by a RBI single to right center. The Rebels loaded the bases again — I really wished they’d stop doing that — but Daly closed out the inning on a play to first without letting another run score.
In the top of the seventh, Missouri plated a single run on an Emma Raabe homer, her first of the season, but that was it. Another loss and another questionably played game.
Bright spot: Kendyll Bailey finished the weekend with a .556 BA (5-for-9). She drove in four of the Tigers’ five runs.
Not-so-bright spot: The Tigers again only managed FOUR hits (Honnold, Wilmes, Bailey- 1B / Raabe- HR ), and Chantice Phillips, who was hit by a pitch. That was IT. Oh, and not that I’m upset, but Jenna’s eight game hit streak ended.
Krings’ stats: 2 IP / 5 H / 4 R / 3 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 14 BF / 52 pitches
Megan’s stats: 3 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 3 BB / 2 K / 13 BF / 51 pitches
Emma’s stats: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 1 K / 3 BF / 11 pitches
Borgen’s stats (OM): 5 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 BB / 2 K / 17 BF / 56 pitches
Diederich’s stats (OM): 2 IP / 2 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 K / 0 BB / 9 BF / 34 pitches
The team doesn’t do Zoom pressers on the road, but I’ll revert back to what the team said after the last series. If you recall, I reported that Megan Moll said the team wasn’t playing their brand of Mizzou Softball before last Sunday’s closing win over Stanford, and that they weren’t displaying that same personality and happy-go-lucky energy the team is known for. Y’all, I feel like they also back to not playing to their particular brand again this weekend. Why is that? What’s changed? Because this is wholly different looking team than the one we saw out in Cali just last month. Hell, this is a different looking team right now than we just saw LAST SUNDAY. The pieces are the same, but something’s “off.”
Is it just SEC blues? Only two of players are hitting around/above .300 in five SEC games of those who play regularly: Bailey (.429, 14th in conference, 11th in SLG% at .857) and Laird (.294); they also seemed be the only ones who don’t really seem to be chasing pitches. Wert and Honnold are only hitting .250 apiece, and Daly/Wilmes are well under .200. Raabe is batting .285, but she’s only got 7 SEC ABs.
According to the SEC’s stat page — and you may want to hide your eyes, seriously — Mizzou’s hitting a league worst .205, and has only scored a grand total of 12 runs (also the worst, by 14 runs). They have 11 less hits than the next worst team, The one bright spot? While the Tigers aren’t hitting the ball… like, at all… they have struck out the fewest times in the conference. They are currently 11th. Yay? Read this and weep. I may.
From the pitcher’s mound, individually, Megan Schumacher leads the team in ERA in SEC play at 3.62, while Laurin Krings is at 6.15, Emma Nichols is at 10.50 and Jordan Weber is at 17.18. Again… yikes.
The Tigers also have the worst ERA in the conference, at a truly horrifying 7.23. One thing to keep in mind, some of the SEC teams have played nine SEC games already, whereas the weather and schedule have kept Mizzou’s number to just five thus far. BEHOLD.
In closing, it should be really, really ….. really really really really obvious, but the Tigers HAVE to get it together, y’all. Only five Tiger runs scored all weekend. That’s not the Mizzou Softball team we know and love so dearly. They are missing what appears to be some routine plays in the field. The pitchers are throwing too many wild pitches (8 in conference play alone) and they’re walking too many batters. The walks would not be that big of deal except for those pesky hits they keep giving up that just add to the opponent’s run total.
AND they’re still without the services of offensive/defensive juggernaut, Casidy Chaumont. Not to mention, they’re waiting on Hatti Moore to be back to full strength — I just learned this weekend she had a horrific accident that had kept her off the diamond until January. So… yeah, Please get back get well soon, Casidy and Hatti! This team needs you both, and Mizzou Nation desperately needs everyone else to step up before this gets out of hand.
Next up… a date with that school to the west on Wednesday at 5. They’re not off to a very good start this season, so hopefully Mizzou can steal a win in Lawrence, before facing South Carolina at home this weekend (who also isn’t very good).