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SOFTBALL PREVIEW/COMMENT THREAD: That other Columbia team comes to town

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After yet another disappointing game, Mizzou hopes to get back on track against another SEC cellar dweller, South Carolina

Happier Times: Mizzou vs JMU Super Regional
Mizzou Athletics

SIGH. Things aren’t going great, guys.

On Wednesday, Mizzou lost to that Team Who Shall Not be Named. To be running the game thread and live tweeting, I kind of felt at times like I was stuck in a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. Here’s a sampling of tweets:

So yeah.... it wasn’t good.

Let’s hope this disastrous week+ of Missouri Softball is finally over with PLEASE?

As always, M-I-Z!

WHEN: Friday, 4/1 @ 6:30pm, Saturday, 4/2 @4pm, Sunday, 3/27 @1pm

WHERE: HOME! Mizzou Softball Stadium, Columbia, MO

TV/STREAMING: Friday-Saturday on SECN+, Sunday on SEC Network

STATS: Live on StatBroadcast (just scroll down to the event)

HISTORY:

Since 2016, the Gamecocks and Mizzou have split the series, five apiece. In their SEC history, the Tigers have won 8 of 13. Mizzou won two of three matchups about this time last year (W 10-6, W 7-3, L 5-2).

FUN FACT: MU and SC also faced off once in 1992, where the Tigers won.

Let’s check in on our hometown Tigers!

2021 RECORD: 42-17 (ranked #8 nationally)

2022 RECORD: 19-13 (last in SEC)

PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 5th in SEC

RANKING: #25 (ESPN.com/USA Softball), #26 (D1 Softball), #22 (Softball America), #24 (USA Today/NFCA), #32 (current RPI)

LAST 4 GAMES: @ kU (L 11-7), @ Ole Miss (L 5-1, L 5-3, L 5-1)

2022 TOP PERFORMERS:

  • Casidy Chaumont, OF**: .441 BA / 1.231 OPS / 18 R / 26 H/ 5 2B / 1 3B / 4 HR / 17 RBI / .763 SLG%
  • Jenna Laird, SS: .350 BA / .866 OPS / 21 R / 36 H [team high]/ 6 2B / 1 3B / 1 HR / 10 RBI / .456 SLG% / .410 OB% / 16-17 SB [matches high from a year ago]
  • Kendyll Bailey, 2B: .337 BA / 1.007 OPS / 10 R / 32 H / 4 2B / 7 HR / 20 RBI / .600 SLG% / .407 OB%
  • Kim Wert, DP: .330 BA / 1.043 OPS / 17 R / 30 H / 4 2B / 8 HR / 25 RBI / .637 SLG% / .406 OB%
  • Alex Honnold, RF: .321 BA / .984 OPS / 15 R / 27 H / 7 2B / 3 3B / 2 HR / 13 RBI/ .548 SLG% / .436 OB%
  • Jordan Weber, SP: 2.90 ERA / 1.17 WHIP / 67.2 IP / 6-3 / 3 CG / 50 H / 28 ER / 29 BB / 64 SO / 16 XBH / 6 HR / 5 WP / 8 HBP / .209 Opp BA
  • Laurin Krings, SP: 3.06 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 84.2 IP / 9-5 record / 7 CG / 4 SHO / 75 H / 37 ER / 30 BB / 107 SO / 22 XBH / 10HR / 7 WP / 4 HBP / .235 Opp BA
  • Megan Schumacher, RP: 3.17 ERA / 1.47 WHIP / 35.1 IP / 3-2 record / 39 H / 16 ER / 13 BB / 23 SO / 7 XBH / 1 HR / 3 WP / 1 HBP / .269 Opp BA

**Casidy Chaumont has not played since Game 1 of the Mizzou Classic/Northwestern game

NOTES:

  • Fans anxiously remain on “Wert Alert”, as Kim Wert remains one singular home run away from breaking Mizzou’s home run record. Her last home run was on March 5 against St. Thomas, so she’s overdue for a bomb, right?
  • Additionally, the Tigers need to continue to manufacture runs. Despite the crooked score on Wednesday, Missouri was able to score 7 runs without a home run. That is good, as it’s been feast (home run) or famine (nothing) lately. “We have to continue to get runners in scoring position and utilize situational hitting,” Coach said a week ago. “We have to hit more balls hard.. and then more balls will fall for us.”
  • This weekend would be a great time to show off that plate discipline! As you’ll see in the chart at the bottom of this novel (I kid), South Carolina pitchers are prone to giving up extra base hits (78 on the season), walks (100), and home runs (37 so far).
  • Kendyll Bailey has reached base in each of the last eight games and is batting .407 over the stretch with two doubles, three home runs and seven RBI. The seven home runs have tied her career best. Her .857 slugging percentage is tied for 10th in the conference.
  • Gabi Deters’ .600 on-base percentage in SEC play ranks 3rd overall, while her 1.333 slugging percentage is tied for first with Alabama’s KJ Haney.
  • Megan Schumacher is currently holding opposing batters to a .167 BA, good enough for 5th (tied) in SEC play.

Let’s go in-depth on Mizzou’s third SEC opponent, shall we?

Gamecocksonline.com

2021 RECORD: 26-26 (4-20 in SEC)

2022 RECORD: 18-14 (2-7 in SEC, 3-4 away games)

LAST 4 GAMES: @ #18 Clemson (L 1-8), #4 Alabama (L 1-6, L 2-10, L 5-7)

RECORD VS RANKED TEAMS: 3-10 (one win each over #24 UCF, #15 UGA, #19 Auburn)

PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 13th in SEC (last)

RANKING: #31 (RPI)

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

  • Riley Blampied: .396 BA / 1.110 OPS / 21 R / 38 H / 11 2B / 38 H / 11 2B / 1 3B / 4 HR / 23 RBI / .656 SLG% / 9 BB / 22 SO / .454 OB%
  • Carlie Henderson: .325 BA / .735 OPS / 17 R / 27 H / 1 2B / 12 RBI / .337 SLG% / 10 BB / 7 SO / .398 OB%
  • Maddie Gallagher: .323 BA / .894 OPS / 25 R / 31 H / 7 2B / 2 3B / 1 HR / 21 RBI / .469 SLG% / 15 BB / 23 SO / .425 OB%
  • Hannah Kumiyama: .315 BA / .910 OPS / 9 R / 28 H / 2 2B / 4 HR / 25 RBI / .472 SLG% / 20 BB / 18 SO / .438 OB%
  • Katie Prebble: .275 BA / 1.001 OPS / 28 R / 28 H / 5 2B / 1 3B / 10 HR / 28 RBI / .637 SLG% / 14 BB / 25 SO / .364 OB%
  • Rachel Vaughan, RP: 2.80 ERA / 1.68 WHIP / 4-1 record / 1 SV / 25 IP / 26 H / 10 ER / 16 BB / 4 SO / 5 XBH / 2 HR / .274 Opp BA
  • Bailey Betenbaugh, SP: 3.71 ERA / 1.37 WHIP / 4-4 record / 4 CG / 1 SHO / 54.2 IP / 46 H / 29 ER / 29 BB / 50 SO / 20 XBH / 12 HR / .217 Opp BA
  • Leah Powell, SP: 4.12 ERA / 1.51 WHIP / 3-1 record / 2 CG / 54.1 IP / 39 H / 32 ER / 23 BB / 27 SO / 24 XBH / 11 HR / .271 Opp BA

NOTES/ACCOLADES:

  • South Carolina isn’t doing much better than Mizzou in conference play, having won only two games, but they’ve also played four more SEC games than MU. They are batting .243 in SEC play (Missouri is hitting .205), and their pitching is only marginally better (6.45 ERA in SEC vs Mizzou’s 7.23). Missouri has been significantly better in fielding in SEC play, and they have 6 errors (.955 FLD%) vs SC’s 17 (.937 FLD%).
  • The Tigers’ pitching staff could do some damage to the Gamecocks if they can get some strikeouts. In SEC play, Jordan Fabian has 11 K (tied for 2nd in SEC), while Riley Blampied has 9 (tied for 4th), and both Emma Sellers & Katie Prebble have 8 (tied for 7th). However, they also MUST limit the walks, as South Carolina has 115 walks already this season, the most in Coach Smith’s 12 year career. Hannah Kumiyama has 20 already, and Jordan Fabian has 19.
  • Key Additions: Hannah Kumiyama was out all of last season with an injury, but as a freshman in 2020 had a .273 BA/.455 SLG% with 3 R, a double, a home run and 10 RBI in 16 games. Freshman Emma Sellers has 27 hits in 31 games this season.
  • Key Losses: 2021 NFCA All-Region’s Kenzi Maguire (.427 BA / 1.163 OPS / 55 R / 64 H / 38 RBI / .613 SLG%) and Mackenzie Boesel (.416 BA / 1.164 OPS / 47 R / 64 H / 37 RBI / .636 SLG%) both graduated in May. The Gamecocks surely miss their bats.
  • Pitching: Leah Powell (2.76 ERA, 10-7, 5 CG, 53 K, 91.1 IP in 2021) and Bailey Bettenbaugh (2.18 ERA, 5-0, 41 K, 45 IP in 2021) appear to be the starters of the Gamecocks’ staff, but they have several other pitchers (Ochs, Oh, Vaughan) who have thrown 25-39 IP as well. Don’t sleep on Powell. She defeated no. 3 Florida in Gainesville last season in a complete game effort.
  • Offense: Katie Prebble’s 8 runs scored in SEC play is tied for third in the conference. Additionally, her 10 HR this season through the first 24 games is the most by any Gamecock EVER. Riley Blampied’s 7 SEC runs scored is tied for 10th (she’s also third in doubles with 3). Kassidy Krupit hit 10 home runs during her freshman season at Baylor. Last season, she had six bombs, but also 11 doubles, slugging .487. Jordan Fabian has swiped 13 bases so far this year, the most since 2013, and the team has 46 stolen bases already.
  • Beverly Smith is in 12th season at the helm of South Carolina and holds a 359-247 record. From 2013-19, she led the Gamecocks to 7 consecutive NCAA tourney appearances. Prior to coming to SC, she served as an assistant at North Carolina for a decade, primarily working with pitchers and catchers.

TEAM COMPARISONS:

Overall stats as of 3/30
Hide your eyes. SEC-only BATTING comparisons
secsports.com
Continue to hide your eyes. SEC-only PITCHING comparisons
SECsports.com

As always, stay up to date on all things Mizzou Softball this season by following me, @KarenSteger, and @RockMNation. I’ll have previews for each of Missouri’s series, as well as recaps when available. When I’m at the ballpark or able to watch at home, I’ll also be firing off some tweets from both accounts.