Stop me if you’ve heard this already.
Mizzou wins. And it’s a shutout. Against a ranked team. At the SEC Tournament. It’s starting to feel like deja vu, but the best kind that fills you with so much joy you just can’t stop smiling.
So how did we get here to this awesomeness? Let’s recap.
I wish I could say I saw this whole game play out in real time, y’all, but that stupid lightning delay ruined it, and as I was trying to help the J-Schoolers graduate, I was also trying to frantically monitor Statbroadcast, my new best friend (along with my press box friends, Brandon, Cole and Chris, of course).
The Tigers, and Vols for that matter, were a bit slow to start this one, but it was to be expected, giving the pitching acumen of Erin Edmoundson, as well as the way Jordan Weber has been pitching of late. It wasn’t until the bottom of the second when Tennessee was able to make successful contact on back-to-back singles. While they were able to advance runners to second and third, they made it no further, and I think Ivy Davis made a critical base-running error in not trying to go home on a little chopper to Weber. In the top of the third, Mizzou finally got on base, as Emma Raabe hit a ground roll double to CF. However, that was all the offense the Tigers could muster.
Jo allowed two more baserunners in the bottom of the third on singles to short and another that bounced off KB’s glove, but nothing came of it, as a double play on a liner directly at Raabe ended the inning and left the score STILL knotted at 0-0. In the fourth though, the Tigers officially took the lead 1-0 with a leadoff solo shot by none other than Kimberly Wert. Alex Honnold then was hit by a pitch, but a strikeout by Kara Daly ended the inning. It should be noted, Kara Daly, despite striking out here, has been seeing the ball well and making adjustments. She’s not just flailing up there, and she worked 6 pitches in the AB. Jacking up Edmoundson’s pitch count was an important part of the Tiger strategy in this one.
Holding onto that lead in the bottom of the fourth, Weber threw a grand total of (maybe) 6 pitches before Mizzou’s bats (one bat, really) came out firing in the top of the fifth as Hatti Moore LAUNCHED a pitch to center that quite literally got stuck in a palm tree. I’d like to think that Hatti Moore (or is it Thor?) caused the ensuing weather delay at 4:23pm which lasted 2 long hours and 33 minutes.
Some time during the lightning delay in the fifth, the softball universe was introduced to Richie, the Tigers’ newest good luck charm. Forget those Lucky Charms, kids. Richie, the king cake baby, found by Emma Raabe on Wednesday is the new way to go. According to Raabe, it “appeared” at first during the fifth inning of the Auburn game as the field was being dragged.
UPDATE: Per a video snippet from ESPN, Raabe has introduced the #RallyBaby with the name "Richie." This greatly increases our knowledge about the baby, including that it is likely male. Play is set to begin in the next few minutes, so we'll see if Richie brings luck.— Cole Lee (@ColeLeeMU) May 13, 2022
This thread is pretty humorous. Emma even chimed in.
The extensive delay also introduced the eclectic personalities of this team, so for that I’m grateful. This team is so fun to cover. The Tigers’ vibes right now in the Tiger locker room are indeed immaculate.
After the delay, at approximately 6:56pm, the game restarted with Jordan Weber back on the mound to close this thing out. Jo had no trouble re-acclimating to the game, as she got two quick outs before allowing a single up the middle. A ground out ended the inning, and Erin Edmoundson quickly disposed of the Tigers in the top of the 6th. In the bottom of the sixth, Beautae was hit by a pitch before THIS happened, and a pop out ended the inning.
B6 // This is just perfect. 6-4-3 to retire the side!— Mizzou Softball (@MizzouSoftball) May 13, 2022
MIZ 2, TENN 0 pic.twitter.com/n09tR3wk1Z
After a pop out led off the seventh, Kara Daly homered to left, driving Edmoundson from the game. Her replacement quickly disposed of the final two Tiger batters, leaving it down to just three outs. After a ground out, Leach singled down the left field line. The Vols, desperately seeking some offense, employed a pinch hitter, but she struck out, and a ground out and amazing play by Kara Daly over at third base ended the game, sending the 36-19 Tigers to the SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME! My parents, bless their hearts, recorded the final out for me (the video will not upload).
Missouri Offense: 3 R | 4 H | 3 RBI | 0 BB | 6 K | 2 HR | 2 LOB
Weber’s stats: 7 IP | CG | SHO | 6 H | 0 ER | 0 BB | 1 SO | 0 XBH | 26 BF | 91 pitches
Tennessee Offense: 0 R | 6 H | 0 BB | 1 K | 5 LOB
Edmoundson’s stats: 6.1 IP | 4 H | 3 R | 0 BB | 6 SO | 4 XBH | 3 HR | 24 BF | 112 pitches
White’s stats: 0.2 IP | 0 H | 0 R | 0 BB | 0 SO | 2 BF | 8 pitches
What Went Well
- While no Tiger had more than one hit, three of the total hits came on home run balls. What I liked even more? The production from the bottom half of the lineup. The Tigers’ 6-8-9 hitters had really good days at the plate, accounting for 3 hits, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. On a day when the offense struggled — it’s going to keep happening against superior pitching — they were key.
- Missouri has been homer-less this tournament… until Friday, as Mizzou launched a bunch of them to break open the game that evening.
- Much like the Tigers, no one Lady Vol had more than one hit, and Jo offered up NO extra base hits and no walks, allowing just seven baserunners all game (one on a HBP).
- Mizzou, when they needed it desperately, was able to turn two double plays and get outs when they needed it. Big kudos to the defense on this one.
- For the second game in a row, Mizzou was out-hit but still took the win, as they hit .160 while the Vols hit .250. Neither is good, but you get the point. Both teams were also abysmal with two outs (.125 MU vs .143 UT) and Tennessee far outpaced the Tigers from the leadoff position. As I addressed in my preview, Edmoundson’s delivery made it hard on Mizzou’s lefthanders, and it just so happens the Tigers’ leadoff batter, Jenna Laird, IS a lefty who had trouble with her last time out.
- The rest of the Tigers’ bats need to get going. Chaumont is 0-for-8 with one walk in the tourney, Bailey is 0-for-8 with an RBI, and Wilmes is 1-for-9. Since the bottom half is doing its job, that top half needs to get going as well.
Karen’s Players of the Game
- Jordan Weber was flawless. Yes, she allowed six hits, but did she let any of them near home plate? NOPE. She also didn’t walk a batter, and tossed a complete game shutout for the second time in THREE days. Watch her interview with ESPN’s broadcasting staff.
- Kara Daly (no. 12 in the 7th), Kim Wert (no. 17 in the 4th), and Hatti Moore (no. 8 in the 5th) were the obvious players of the game for the home runs. Their offense got it done for the Tigers. Daly also got it done in the field for the Tigers, and I am most impressed with her effort.
- Emma Raabe provided the Tigers’ only other non-home run hit of the afternoon, a double in the third. She was also instrumental in the field and was the finder of Richie, so clearly she is the winner of the entire series thus far.
What Coach Had to Say
Think about it: in the middle of April #Mizzou softball had just lost two-straight SEC series and were 5-9 in conference action.— Nathalie Jones (@NathalieABC17) May 14, 2022
The Tigers then rang off 7 regular season SEC wins with 4 coming against ranked teams. MU will now play for the SEC title ⤵️ something special there pic.twitter.com/CpJRFagyfM
The Tigers will take on the regular season victors, the no. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks, in the SEC Championship game. You can check it out on ESPN2.
“We’re here to win championships,” Coach Anderson said. “I mean, that’s what we set out to do and, and we’re gonna fight like crazy to give ourselves an opportunity.”
On the Opponent:
- Arkansas (43-9) got into the SEC Championship game, their first since 1999, on a four-run fourth inning to beat the Florida Gators, my preferred opponent, 4-1 in the late game on Friday evening. The Hogs were led on the mound by a complete game effort by junior Chenise Delce, who allowed just 5 hits and 0 walks while striking out 7.
- Senior Danielle Gibson is one to watch. She was key in the Razorbacks’ victory, hitting a double and a single, going 2-for-3. Linnie Malkin and Marlene Friedman also had hits. KB Sides added an RBI.
- The Razorbacks dominated the recently announced All-SEC awards, as KB Sides (34H, 27R, 17 BB, 7 2B, 20 RBI, .453 | .853 | .543) was awarded SEC Player of the Year. Chenise Delce (1.87 ERA | 84 K | 18 BB | .207 Opp BA)was named Pitcher of the Year, while Hannah Gammill (.958 FLD% | 56 PO | 59 AST), Danielle Gibson (.443 BA | 136 TB), Mary Haff (22 SO looking in SEC | 26 career SHO | 95 career W | 16 double-digit SO performances), and Linnie Malkin (1.48 RBI/game | 62 RBI | .944 SLG% | 48 career HR) were named First Team All-SEC. Hannah McEwen was named Second Team All-SEC, while Gammill and Gibson also received All-Defensive Team accolades.
- Arkansas’ pitching staff leads the conference with a 2.90 ERA.
- Head Coach Courtney Deifel was named SEC Coach of the Year this week, and is in her seventh season at the helm of Arkansas, leading the program to tying a team-best 19 SEC wins for the second straight year.
- Watch this video of Mary Haff, courtesy of SECSports, and this interview with KB Sides.