Y’all, it was not a good weekend for Missouri Softball (16-9, 0-3 SEC). Not only did the Tigers come away from this series without any wins to speak of, but they also came away from this weekend without any RUNS to speak of. In total, they were shut out 16-0 in the three-game slate, which took place Friday and Sunday after Saturday’s weather forecast upended the schedule. That’s not to say the Tigers didn’t have chances. In Sunday’s game 2, they had tons of chances— leaving an astronomical 16 on base. In many instances, they hit the ball hard on Saturday. It just went right AT people. It happens sometimes...
(Disclaimer: I was watching Mizzou Hoops on Friday so I didn’t see the game)
In Game One, the overwhelming star of the show was Kentucky’s Stephanie Schoonover, who allowed just two hits (to Alex Honnold and Payton Jackson) and two walks (to Jenna Laird and Kara Daly) — to go with 15 strikeouts in the complete game 5-0 shutout. The 15 strikeouts weren’t even her highest of the season, you guys. She had 18 in a game last month that broke the school record. What’s even wilder is that last year, Schoo had over a 5.00 ERA. She’s on FIRE, so it’s no surprise Kentucky chose to throw her out there in all the games.
Anyway, back to the Tigers, as this is a recap for them. Laurin Krings countered for the Tigers, also throwing a complete game while tallying five strikeouts. She was peppered with contact throughout the game, allowing 10 hits (including 4 XBH) and five earned runs in the L.
In Game Two, the Tigers had moments when it seemed like something would get going, but for every Tiger hit, there was a whole lotta nothing that followed. Mizzou was able to make solid contact off of Wildcats starter Alexia Lacatena (4-1, 1.73 ERA), but just couldn’t string together anything meaningful. The Tiger defense was led by LF Chantice Phillips, who grabbed everything and anything that came her way. In the first inning, she had a great foul ball grab where she made solid contact with the bullpen fence padding (which had been added in the offseason, per the facilities guys in the box with me), and robbed Kentucky of a sure-fire homer in the 4th when she reached over the LF wall to grab the shot.
We’ve got a robbery in Columbia ❌ Chantice Philips denies the Wildcats a home run and keeps the game scoreless.#NCAASoftball X SECN / @MizzouSoftballpic.twitter.com/TxRVjz4HWA— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) March 12, 2023
Jordan Weber was pretty good in this one, allowing a single here and there but was largely able to keep the Cats off the bases and from plating any runs until the 5th. She just received NO run support, which makes it awfully hard to be able to get the W.
Jenna Laird was 3-for-3 in Game 2, but the rest of the team’s offensive production was few and far between. Laird led off with a single to right in the bottom of the 1st, but an Alex Honnold lineout to 1B (she smoked it right AT the glove of the first baseperson) got the Cats a double play, and Crenshaw’s shot (also hard hit) was directly at the pitcher. Kara Daly tried to do her part for the Tiger offense, leading off with a single up the middle in the bottom of the 2nd, but was called out at 2B after a very high infield popup in the sun by Riley Frizell was mishandled, leaving Daly in a precarious position trying to get to the bag. A groundout ultimately ended the inning. Jenna again got things going offensively for the Tigers in the bottom of the third on a two-out single to left, but a soft grounder ended the inning. Maddie Gallaher singled in the bottom of the 5th, but that was it.
It wasn’t until the top of the sixth when the Wildcats finally cracked the game open, and the Tigers’ inability to string anything together offensively came back to haunt them. A 2-run double with two outs made it 2-0 Kentucky before Weber took an absolute bullet off her shin to get knocked from the game and limping to the dugout. Taylor Pannell came in for the Tigers and was able to get out of the inning without any other trouble.
In the bottom of the 6th, Jenna, 3-for-3 on the day, struck again with another hard-hit single up the middle before the Wildcats took out Lacetena in favor of... Stephanie Schoonover [doomsday music], who swiftly ended the inning with two strikeouts. With Pannell back in the circle for the top of the 7th, an iffy hit-by-pitch call (she was running at the pitch) and a walk put two runners on with one out for a double by Erin Coffel, making it 4-0. Rylea Smith followed with a single down the LF line, making it 5-0, before Pannell came out in favor of Megan Schumacher, who was able to finish the game.
Freshman Cierra Harrison got the start in the final game of the series, and the Wildcats countered with Stephanie Schoonover, who had just finished the previous game. Yay! Yay. In game three, stranding baserunners was the name of the game for the Missouri Tigers, as they left an astounding SIXTEEN on base. No, that’s not a typo, friends.
The Wildcats took an early lead in this one after an infield single, a successfully placed bunt, and an RBI sac fly gave them the initial 1-0 lead. A hard-hit grounder down the third base one brought in another run, and a fielders choice got the last one, making it 3-0 before the Tigers had even batted. In the bottom of the inning, Alex Honnold singled and Julia Crenshaw was hit by a pitch, but Phillips popped out and the Tigers stranded two. (yes, we’re keeping a tally.)
After a 1-2-3 inning from CC, the Tigers were able to load the bases with three consecutive walks with two outs, but a groundout ended the inning. The LOB tally is now at 5 (another in the 3rd would make it 6). Kentucky added on to their run total in the top of the 3rd on a Rylea Smith RBI triple down the line (her second such hit of the day), making it 4-0 before a sac fly made it 5-0.
Taking over for Harrison, who had allowed 4ER on 4H, Laurin Krings stepped into the circle, and aside from a one-out single, was flawless in that frame. In the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers again loaded the bases after a Daly single, a Frizell walk, and a Laird HBP. Honnold hit into an FC, which took the lead runner out at home, and a Crenshaw strikeout ended the threat. Our LOB tally is now at 9. We all know how this is going to end at this point, right?
The Wildcats added another run in the top of the 5th, but honestly, I was watching the NCAA bracket reveal show on my phone and couldn’t tell you how it happened (probably better that way, honestly). The Tigers stranded another in the bottom of the 5th (that’s 10), before loading the bases again in the bottom of the 6th on two consecutive singles by Laird and Honnold— progress! After Crenshaw was hit by a pitch (#2 in this game) though, Chantice struck out, making the LOB tally at 13.
Emma Nichols, the Tiger reliever who had entered the game in the 6th, continued her second inning of scoreless relief and had three strikeouts in the game. In the bottom of the 7th, Missouri once again got veryone excited for a possible rally, but nope. It was not their day (or weekend, for that matter). After Vanessa Hollingsworth doubled and Katie Chester walked, Payton Jackson singled to load the bases for Jenna... whose fly out to deep LF ended the threat and left the Tigers with a LOB total of sixteen.
Yech. Such is life.
The Weekend Stats (may want to hide your eyes here):
- Jenna Laird: 4-8 | 2 BB | 2 K | 1 HBP | 1 SB | 3 LOB
- Alex Honnold: 3-10 | 1 K | 5 LOB
- Julia Crenshaw: 0-8 | 5 K | 2 HBP | 4 LOB
- Kara Daly: 2-9 | 1 BB | 3 K | 3 LOB
- Chantice Phillips: 1-8 | 1 BB | 2 K | 3 LOB
- Maddie Gallagher: 1-5 | 1 BB | 1 FC | 1 K | 3 LOB
- Payton Jackson: 2-7 | 1 BB | 2 K | 1 SB | 1 LOB
- Riley Frizell: 0-5 | 1 BB | 1 FC | 4 K
- Vanessa Hollingsworth: 1-5 | 1 2B (only XBH of weekend) | 2 K | 2 LOB
- Laurin Krings: 9 IP | 14 H | 6 ER | 6 K | 1 HBP | 3 2B | 1 3B | 1 HR | 124 pitches
- Jordan Weber: 5.2 IP | 6 H | 2 ER | 2 K | 2 BB | 89 pitches
- Cierra Harrison: 3 IP | 4 H | 5 R | 4 ER | 1 BB | 2 K
- Emma Nichols: 2 IP | 3 H | 1 BB | 3 K | 1 HBP | 32 pitches
- Taylor Pannell: 1 IP | 3 H | 3 ER | 2 BB | 25 pitches
- Megan Schumacher: 0.1 IP | 1 K | 4 pitches
UP NEXT: The Tigers will face Illinois on Tuesday at 1pm, before making a weekend trip to Gainesville.