It’s a long season, y’all, but the wins need to start happening for our fair Tigers. Missouri (24-15, 4-7 SEC) is in no danger of missing the NCAA Tournament at this point — the SEC is an absolute gauntlet after all, but the Tigers currently find themselves near the bottom of the conference (12th), and after this series, they have - unsurprisingly - fallen out of the rankings for the first time this season. And it’s not going to get any easier, as they face no. 13 Georgia this weekend and no. 12 Kentucky the following weekend.
Let’s not waste any more time; here’s your recap.
GAME ONE: MIZZOU 2, MISSISSIPPI STATE 9
Friday started out well enough... until it wasn’t. When that thing went off the rails, it really went off the rails. For their fifth straight game, Mizzou jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Jenna Laird scored on a Brooke Wilmes ground ball that resulted in a throwing error. Krings was able to hold off Miss State for a few innings, working out of jams here and there, but in the bottom of the third, they tied it up on a Mia Davidson home run (she was admittedly awesome for MSU this weekend). In the fourth, the Tigers took their final lead of the game on some smart baserunning by Casidy Chaumont, who advanced on the base paths and eventually scored on a handful of wild pitches.
But... it all fell apart in the fifth when Mississippi State was able to plate four runs on four hits, a walk, and a hit batter. WELP. Krings was taken out after the initial walk to Davidson, but her replacement, Emma Nichols, only lasted two outs, as she allowed a FC, a double, a single, and a sac fly, before Megan Schumacher was brought in to try and stop the bleeding. She mostly did and only one more run scored in that inning.
Mizzou threatened to score in the top of the sixth on a pair of singles by Kendyll Bailey and Kim Wert and a walk from Alex Honnold, but the Tigers couldn’t capitalize on their baserunners, and the Bulldogs added three more runs (oof) in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double, an RBI single, and a sac fly to right.
Krings’ stats: 4 IP / 5 H / 4 R / 4 ER / 3 BB / 2 K / 20 BF / 76 pitches
Emma’s stats: 0.2 IP / 2 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 10 BF / 10 pitches
Megan’s stats: 1.1 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 2 BB / 3 K / 10 BF / 39 pitches
Kenley Hawk (MS): 5 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 1 ER / 4 BB / 5 K / 23 BF / 94 pitches
Annie Willis (MS): 2 IP / 2 H / 0 BB / 0 R / 5 K / 8 BF / 35 pitches
Bright spots: Kendyll Bailey went 2-3 with a double, extending her hit streak to nine games and her on-base streak to 13. Since Casidy Chaumont’s return, she’s scored each of the last six times she’s gotten on base. The Tigers were able to get four walks, but only one of them ended up leading to a run.
Not-so-bright spots: The pitching. After a couple decent innings by Laurin Krings, the wheels fell off in the third, and then neither Emma Nichols (who didn’t last a full inning) nor Megan Schumacher could contain the Bulldogs’ bats either. They combined to allow 11 hits, five walks, and five strikeouts between them. And of Schu’s 40 pitches, only half of them were strikes. Aside from KB, who had two hits, the Tigers’ bats were pretty quiet, only managing 6 hits (one each from Laird, Chaumont, Wilmes and Wert) and — eek — 10 strikeouts, including two each from Wert, Chaumont, Daly, and Moore.
GAME TWO: MIZZOU 0, MISSISSIPPI STATE 2
This one will be short, as not only did the Tigers break their 5-game streak of scoring first, they didn’t score at all. While Kim Wert was able to save a home run in CF from Chloe Malau’ulu, she wasn’t able to stop Paige Cook, who hit a shot to left center that put the Bulldogs up 2-0.
The Tigers almost were able to get something going in the third after a leadoff walk advanced to second. But a Brooke Wilmes hard-hit grounder up the middle deflected off the pitcher’s leg right to first base, preventing what was likely a RBI single... it was just that kind of day. In the fourth, they had yet another chance after a lead off walk. Maddie Snider took over for Bailey on the base paths, but she was caught stealing. A Casidy Chaumont double to left put two runners in scoring position, but the final two Tigers of the inning were retired.
Meanwhile, aside from that 2-run shot early on, Jordan Weber was able to keep any other runs from scoring despite getting runners into scoring position in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Jordan’s stats: 6 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / 24 BF / 96 pitches
Annie Willis’ stats (MSU): 5 IP / 1 H / 4 BB / 3 K / 20 BF / 91 pitches
Kenley Hawks’ stats (MSU): 2.0 IP / 1 BB / 4 SO / 7 BF / 31 pitches
Bright spot: Jordan Weber’s complete game, her first in quite a while. It was nice to see her strikeouts up a tick and really settle in. Kendyll Bailey’s on-base streak continued with her walk, making it 14 consecutive games getting aboard, but her team-high hit streak did die at nine (RIP). Alex Honnold, while held hitless, did get on base twice with walks. Casidy Chaumont’s double was her third in three consecutive games.
Not-so-bright spot: The Tigers only managed ONE SINGLE HIT and left six on base. The Tigers again struck out an uncharacteristic amount (7 times) including two by Kendyll Bailey and one each from Kim Wert, Chaumont, Kara Daly, Riley Frizell, and Emma Raabe. This first base production is really becoming an issue.
GAME THREE: MIZZOU 8, MISSISSIPPI STATE 5 (8 innings)
Mizzou struck first in the this one as well, but things turned out okay this time! In the top of the first, Kendyll Bailey singled to left, ringing home both Brooke Wilmes (who had singled) and Casidy Chaumont, who had doubled. While Casidy was called out after a review — the first of MANY in this game — the Tigers took a 1-0 lead. It was short-lived, however, as the Bulldogs were able to tie it up with a trio of singles in the bottom of the second.
Missouri struck again in the top of the third and were able to load the bases on an error, a walk, and a bunt single. Casidy was again called out after being picked off — tough day on the basepaths for our girl — but Jenna Laird was able to score to regain the lead, 2-1. Again though, the lead didn’t last long (SIGH) as with two on, Jackie McKenna drove a pitch over the center field wall, giving Mississippi State a 4-2 lead. The Bulldogs threatened with more that inning, but Laurin Krings was able to end the threat.
In the top of fifth, a solo shot from Brooke Wilmes made it 4-3, and in the top of the sixth, Alex Honnold was able to tie it up after PH Riley Frizell hit a pop-up in the space between 2B and RF, which neither player got to. The inning suddenly ended, however, when it was discovered that the Tigers had somehow brought in the wrong pinch runner — no. 0 Kendal Cook was recorded while no. 6 Maddie Snider actually entered. The Mississippi State coach caught it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Mizzou took the (again, short-lived) lead in the top of the seventh as a fielders choice allowed Wilmes to score after an errant throw from the shortstop. In the bottom of the inning, just in time for extras, the Bulldogs tied it up after a bloop single just beyond third fell in, scoring the runner on second. Jordan Weber, serving in a rarely-seen relief role, was able to get out a jam that would have allowed more runs, and to extras they went.
In extras, PH Julia Crenshaw was able to get on base after it was ruled that she was hit by a pitch (another review!), leading the way for Gabi Deters to put her first pitch over the center field wall, giving the Tigers a 7-5 lead. What followed was... weird. Jenna Laird smashed a fly ball to deep center that bounced off the wall, allowing her to get all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park homer before being called out at the plate... initially. But after a review (the final one!) a catcher obstruction was called, allowing the run to count and it was 8-5 Mizzou. Weber closed it out, securing the victory.
Bright spot: Gabi Deters- who gave the Tigers the lead with her two run shot in the 8th, Jenna Laird- her inside-the-park home run was the Tigers’ first of the season. Brooke Wilmes (or it is Brooks, as one of the announcers kept calling her?) might be out of her slump now? The CF, though she had a bit of trouble in the OF Sunday, had a good day at the plate, accounting for 3 Tiger runs, with 2 hits, an RBI, and a walk. She also hit a home run, her 9th of the season. Welcome back, Brooke’s offense? We hope so! The relievers, Megan Schumacher and Jordan Weber, held down the fort on the mound. Their combined 5 innings only resulted in one run, and allowed Missouri to remain in the ballgame.
Not-so-bright spot: The strikeouts... AGAIN. The Tigers again had 10 of them including two by Megan Moll, and it’s easier to state who didn’t strike out (Wilmes, Bailey, Frizell in her single AB) than who did.
Krings’ stats: 3 IP / 7 H / 4 R / 3 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 18 BF / 57 pitches
Megan’s stats: 3.2 IP / 5 H / 1 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 16 BF / 61 pitches
Jo’s stats: 1.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 1 BB / 1K / 5 BF / 19 pitches
Combo of 5 pitchers (MSU): 10 H / 8 R / 6 ER / 3 BB / 10 K
Let’s examine the Tigers’ SEC stats a bit closer. Warning: they still aren’t good.
Overall: It’s… um… not great. They’re not last in everything. While this past weekend was not a good indication of Missouri’s plate discipline, they do sit at no. 4 in the SEC in smallest number of strikeouts (59) and are no. 12 in walks.
Individual: Only TWO Tiger hitters are batting above .300: Kendyll Bailey sits 8th in the conference with a .406 average, and Gabi Deters is batting .333 and is 5th in slugging percentage (1.000). Jenna Laird is hitting .263, but below her? Everyone else. Casidy Chaumont — in limited ABs due to her eight-game injury setback — is hitting .217, as is Alex Honnold. Brooke Wilmes, Kara Daly, Emma Raabe and Hatti Moore are all hitting well between .200, and that’s -frankly- not going to cut it going forward. SOURCE: SECsports.com
Overall: As for graphics I haven’t included, the Tigers are leading in the least hits allowed (75) and are in the middle of the pack as no. 6 in runs allowed (56), no. 7 in earned runs allowed (52) and walks allowed (40). On the not so good side, they’re no. 2 in doubles allowed (13) and hit by pitches (10) and tied for no. 5 in home runs allowed (14).
Individual: Megan Schumacher continues to be the Tigers’ best in-conference pitcher with a 2.90 ERA. Krings is next with 4.57, followed by Weber with 7.35, and Nichols with 9.88. Laurin Krings is no. 6 in the SEC in strikeouts, while Jordan Weber is no. 11 in strikeouts looking (7). SOURCE: SECsports.com
Next up… a series against SEC ranked foe, Georgia Thursday-Saturday. I’ll have a preview in time for the game.