As I watched fifth year senior Hatti Moore LAUNCH a walk-off two run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday evening, I thought to myself 1) this couldn’t happen to a more deserving individual, and 2) Holy Forking Shirt Balls.
Inject this video into my veins. Wow. https://t.co/d0Hdz23dpJ— Karen S (@karensteger) April 30, 2022
Crazily enough, I wouldn’t consider this to be even her best homer of the night! While the latter one was the game winner and was epic, THIS ONE - her second one - was the longest Tiger home run I’ve ever seen. Even longer than Kim Wert’s shot over the Lexington score board last weekend, which was a moonshot.
Anyway, but before we discuss the ending, we should start at the beginning.
With dueling aces on the mound, it took a full two innings to get this thing started offensively, and the press box collectively wondered how we’d write about such a boring game…. HA! Were we in for a treat!
In the bottom of the third inning, Mizzou got going with back-to-back solo homers from both C Hatti Moore and SS Jenna Laird. Back-to-backs are always a remarkable occurrence, but hitting them against Texas A&M starter McKinzy Herzog, who’d given up just FOUR all season, made it even more awesome. She was removed from the game and replaced by Grace Uribe, who ended the inning without much fight. The Aggies quickly answered and got a run back in the top of the second with a solo homer off to cut the lead to 2-1.
In the fourth, Alex Honnold got her first of four hits on the day, doubling off the center field wall. After a Kara Daly sac bunt moved her over, Emma Raabe walked, and put runners on the corners for the SECOND of Hatti Moore’s homers, this time a three-run monster shot (see video above) giving Mizzou a 5-1 lead.
However, the Aggies weren’t going bow out gracefully in this one, and Jo ran into some trouble in the top of the sixth after she’d put together a swift fifth which saw two strikeouts and an interference call. After a groundout to lead off the sixth, a solo homer to center made it 5-2. A hit by pitch seemed to throw Weber off her game a bit, and after another quick fly out, she walked a batter to put two aboard for a three-run shot that went just over the glove of Casidy Chaumont in left center, tying the game at 5-5. Thankfully, a strikeout ended the inning.
“I knew why she was getting hit,” Anderson said in the postgame. “They were crowding the plate. After she had that hit batter, she was afraid to go back inside, and that’s why she was leaving the ball over the heart of the plate… After that inning, I just went up to her I said, ‘you’re better than every hitter you’re ever going to face so you have to own the inside part of the plate, and do not be afraid to hit them.’”
With Weber still on the mound, she got a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, but the Tigers couldn’t get anything going off of new pitcher Emiley Kennedy, and fans were treated to free softball. With Jordan seemingly back in control, she came back out to shut the game down in the 8th with over 100 pitchers under her belt. After a walk to lead off the inning, Larissa Anderson came out for a mound visit, and was determined to take Jo out of the game.
“When I went out there, I wanted to make a pitching change,” she said. “I went right to Hatti and she’s like, ‘It’s still moving. It’s still spinning. She’s good.’ And then I went to Jordan and I said, ‘You want to finish this game?’ And she said yeah. So I’m gonna leave the kid in and when I see it in their eyes, that they want the ball and they want to be competitive, I will live and die with those players.”
Trusting her pitcher and catcher proved to be the right call, as Weber was able to shut down the side with an infield popup, a strike out (no. 8 on the night), and a fly out to CF.
In the bottom of the eighth, with the score still knotted at 5-5, the heroics happened. Honnold singled and Daly’s sac bunt moved Alex to second. A Riley Frizell single through the right side brought Alex to third, but Coach (perhaps unwisely) decided to send her home and she was called out at the plate. The next batter was Hatti F’ing Moore though, and with two outs, she crushed the first pitch she saw over the center field wall for a walk off blast, giving the Tigers the win 7-5 in eight innings. It was EPIC.
Mizzou offense: 7 R | 10 H | 7 RBI | 1 2B | 3 HR | 5 BB | 3 K | 6 LOB
Jo’s stats: 8 IP | CG | 5 H | 5 R | 5 ER | 3 BB | 8 SO | 32 BF | 123 pitches | Win
A&M offense: 5 R | 5 H | 5 RBI | 3 HR | 3 BB | 8 K | 3 LOB
Herzog’s stats: 2 IP | 3 H | 2 ER | 2 BB | 2 SO | 11 BF | 46 pitches
Uribe’s stats: 3 IP | 4 H | 3 ER | 1 BB | 1 SO | 14 BF | 48 pitches
Kennedy’s stats: 2.2 IP | 3 H | 2 ER | 2 BB | 11 BF | 42 pitches
What Went Well
- The Tigers were quite successful against McKinzy Herzog, who came into the game with a sub-2 ERA. Mizzou only struck out three games the entire game while facing both Aggies aces, definitely a win. They hit .345 as a team, including .429 with runners in scoring position and a whopping .750 from leadoff.
- Brooke Wilmes’ hitting streak reached 9 games with a 1-for-2 game to go along with two walks.
- Despite working herself into some jams, Jordan Weber stayed the course, and was able to pitch a career-high 8 innings to get another complete game. This was her fourth consecutive win, and she now has 12 on the season. Two of her eight strikeouts were looking, and she held the Aggies to a .179 BA, including .143 with runners on, and .200 with two outs. Her best play of the game? Likely the strikeout to All-American Haley Lee. “Jordan doesn’t have a dynamic change up,” Coach Anderson said. “So to get her to strike out on that pitch in the dirt is impressive.”
- Mizzou has homered at least three times in each of the last five games. The Tigers have hit 26 dingers over their last nine games. Friday’s homers came from Hatti x 3, and Jenna Laird.
- I hate to put Weber’s performance here as well, but giving up five runs on multiple home runs isn’t ideal. The solo shots, as we’ve talked about before, aren’t that big of a deal, but when the shots come as others are on base, it can kill the momentum. Luckily, the Tigers had Hatti Moore, who all but erased their production herself.
- The strange decision to send Alex Honnold home on Riley Frizell’s liner to right in the bottom of the 8th. She was out and it wasn’t particularly close. Had it not been what Coach later called a perfect throw, she would have likely been safe.
- A few Tigers were held hitless in this one, even as it stretched to extra innings, and it could have caused some issues if not for the help of their friends. Mizzou’s 3-5 hitters (Bailey, Wert, Chaumont) could not get anything going and neither could Daly or Raabe.
Karen’s Players of the Game
- Hatti “Hat(ti) Trick” Moore became the first Mizzou player to hit three home runs in a single game since 2008. She matched her career-high with six RBI.
- Alex Honnold recorded the first four-hit game of her career. She went 4-for-4 with a double. Despite being overshadowed by Hatti’s heroics, Coach said it was huge to get this from her, especially in that part of the lineup, and against a lefty, which she normally struggles with (she too is a lefty). “She was clutch,” she said. “Really, really clutch. Especially when we got into extra innings. What she was able to do and produce for us was great.”
Hatti had an “interesting” game equipment-wise. Coach told us in the postgame that the catchers mitt she’d been using the last five years finally croaked and was beyond repair (she’d re-strung it for Hatti several times), so she caught Jo the rest of the game using a new glove. The way Anderson described this glove, it reminded me of former Mizzou Hoops start Kassius Robertson’s yellow Nikes he wore until his foot was basically falling out of them. “This thing is holding together like on a thread,” she described. “The entire pocket is ripped out. Like she scan stick her hand inside they glove all the way down.”
Not only was the glove thing an issue, but — get this — she didn’t even use HER bat to hit that walk-off. Why? She couldn’t find it, and had to end up using Riley Frizell and Kara Daly’s shared bat! For those wondering, she’s going back to “her” bat in Game 2.
What Coach Had to Say
On Hatti’s performance:
“I could not be more excited for Hatti Moore. You know, she deserves it. She’s earned it. She paid her dues. She’s had a rough year all the way through, and it’s just kind of one of those that you’re so happy for for the team. Walk off wins are so exciting and there’s just never a doubt. They were singing the bat well the entire game and there was never a doubt that we were going to win. It’s awesome.”
When asked about facing elite players, such as A&M’s Haley Lee:
“I think what really challenges athletes when you face players like Lee and ever when you’re facing great pitchers, the concentration level increases. So Jordan knows she can’t make a mistake to Lee. And then when you get to the playoffs, everyone through the entire lineup in the SEC can hit the ball out and hit it hard… When you face players like Lee who are All-Americans and they’re really next level, it really increases your concentration and it shows competitiveness and that brings out the best in Jordan. For those types of players, Jordan elevated her game to be able to attack someone like Lee.
Game Two is scheduled for 4pm on SEC Network.
“Anybody in this conference can beat anybody on any day,” Coach reminded us on Wednesday evening. “So you can’t take anyone lightly at all. A&M took 2-of-3 from Alabama, and they were the best team in the country. So we need to focus on keeping Lee off the bases. That’s going to be the biggest thing because she’s one of the best hitters in the country. We have to be very strategic in our pitching to her. Offensively, we have to attack the pitching staff. They’re going to make a lot of changes throughout their bullpen to keep us off balance. So we have to be able to control that strike.”