Mizzou Softball (25-20, 4-14 SEC) welcomed in the Ole Miss Rebels (29-19, 5-10 SEC) for a weird weather weekend. It was warm, then it was stormy, then it was freezing, then lovely. We really got all the seasons and weather conditions in just a few days. Don’t you just love it here? Just like Mizzou’s pitching and offensive production these days... it was up, it was down, it was chaos, it was excellent... you get the drift.
Anyway, on to the recaps. Again, sorry for the delay. I’ve been super busy.
Game One: MIZ 8 | MISS 3
On Saturday, with a moved-up start time in hopes of keeping the incoming storms away, Mizzou used a 5-run second inning and 3-run 3rd inning to exert its will over the Rebels in front of a record-setting crowd of 3,171 (Disclaimer: I didn’t go because I swore a lengthy weather delay was on the horizon. Oops.).
The bats got going early in this one, as in the bottom of the 1st, Julia Crenshaw laced a two-out single before Kara Daly was hit by a pitch and Chantice Phillips hit a bouncer to 3B that Crenshaw beat out. Sadly, the Tigers couldn’t manufacture any runs though, as Katie Chester grounded out, leaving the bases loaded. Ole Miss threatened themselves in the top of the 2nd against Jordan Weber, loading the bases with a walk and two singles, but they also stranded 3.
In the bottom of the inning, Missouri’s luck changed, and the Tigers were able to plate two runs on a Jenna Laird double, which scored Riley Frizell (on with an error), and Payton Jackson (single). They further put some distance between themselves and the Rebels after a Kara Daly homer scored Alex Honnold, who had intentionally walked, and Laird, making it 5-0.
(Here’s Kara in the postgame tv interview)
In the bottom of the 3rd, Mizzou once again brought some runs in, as Jackson’s single brought in Maddie Gallagher, who had been hit by a pitch. Laird’s subsequent single scored PJ, who blew right past Anderson’s stop sign, funnily enough. Walks to Honnold, Crenshaw, and Daly adding another run, making it 8-0 good gals.
Side Note: As the series went on, it became increasingly obvious that Ole Miss was playing the role of villain/bad gal here, and the hostility of the crowd towards the OM head coach was pretty comical, and deserving for all the game-delaying the coach did.
Mississippi threatened in the top of the 4th again and loaded the bases on a double and two HBP, but again, no runs for them! With a new pitcher on the mound in the bottom of the inning, Missouri had its first 1-2-3 inning of the game, and were just three outs from a run-rule victory.
NOT SO FAST, friends! Ole Miss decided they wanted a full 7 innings in this one, as Keilli Kamoku (who also homered later in the series... FUN) hit a 3-run blast to CF, making it 8-3 and running Weber out of the game in favor of Lee’s Summit freshman, Cierra Harrison.
With the score inching closer, the Tigers couldn’t add on anything else, and went down in order in both the 5th and 6th innings. The good news was, Ole Miss couldn’t get anything else going either, as they had a walk in the 6th and 7th innings, but that was all.
Big win for the Tigers, one that we hoped would set the stage for the rest of the series. Alas...
- Jenna Laird: 2-4 | 2 R | 3 RBI | 2B
- Kara Daly: 1-2 | R | 4 RBI | HR | BB | K | HBP
- Payton Jackson: 2-3 | 2 R | RBI
Overall hitting stats: 8 R | 7 H | 3 ER | 4 BB | 4 K | 2 HBP | 2 XBH | 6 LOB | .269 BA | .364 w/ 2 outs | .556 RISP | .167 Lead off
- Jordan Weber: 4.1 IP | Win | 7 H | 3 ER | BB | K | 2 HBP | 2 2B | HR | 23 BF | 62 pitches
- Cierra Harrison: 2.2 IP | 2 BB | 10 BF | 43 pitches
Overall pitching stats: 7 H | 3 ER | 3 BB | 1 K | 2 HBP | 3 XBH | .269 OppBA | .222 w/ 2 outs | .250 RISP | .143 Lead off
Game Two: MIZ 6 | MISS 7
Despite what ultimately ended up being a rather high-scoring affair, this one was really a pitcher’s duel between Laurin Krings and Blair Oaks’ Makenna Kliethermes, who battled for the strikeout title for a good portion of the game. After 3IP, KKKKKKrings was on fire and in the lead with a half-dozen Ks while allowing just a handful of hits (a bunt single in the 1st and 2nd).
Offensively, the Tiger bats seemed to be in hibernation. I don’t blame them; it was a chilly day at the ballpark. In the 4th, Alex Honnold got aboard with a single to RF, and Kara Daly walked to get two on with one out before a double steal moved the runners to 2B & 3B. A Julia Crenshaw deep sac fly to CF scored the first run of the game, but the Tigers couldn’t add it to it.
In the bottom of the fifth, Grace Sparks (3.44 ERA in 36.2 IP) replaced Klierthermes in the circle, who struck out Riley Frizell, but the ball got away from the catcher, allowing her to take 1B. Her baserunning replacement, the super speedy Maddie Snider, immediately swiped 2B before a Payton Jackson single through the gap in the right side put runners at the corners with 1 out. A Jenna Laird walk loaded the bases for Alex Honnold, who laid down a PERFECT bunt, which scored Snider and kept the bases loaded.
When speaking with Alex Honnold in the postgame, she said she was actually confused by Coach Anderson’s sign, and kept looking at it to make sure she was reading it right.
“The bases were loaded and I wasn’t really hitting the ball very well,” she said. “But getting the bunt down was really good for our momentum. I was actually kinda confused (about the sign Coach gave) but I followed through with it.”
Daly struck out looking for the second out of the inning before Julia Crenshaw was hit by a pitch — her 12th of the season and second in the SEC — bringing in another run and making it 3-0. A ground out ended the inning with the bases loaded, putting the LOB tally at 5, something to monitor.
Ole Miss answered in the 6th, and after a leadoff single, Paige Smith’s sixth homer of the year made it 3-2 before Krings’ 8th K of the day ended the inning.
In the top of the 7th with just three outs to victory, chaos ensued. Actual chaos. After a leadoff walk by Krings, she was relieved of her very good pitching day for Emma Nichols, who proceeded to walk her first batter on four straight balls and then plunk the next one to load the bases with 0 outs for another Tiger pitcher. This time it was Megan Schumacher, who also was aboard the Mizzou pitching strugglebus, as she gave up an RBI single, then a walk and a bases-clearing double that resulted in the first out when the OM player tried to extend it. And then, in a weird twist of events where what’s old is new again, Krings was brought back in to save the inning on a strikeout — her 9th — and a groundout.
Of the decision to bring Krings back in, Anderson said, “I didn’t have anyone else ready, so it was ‘I can’t let this game get too far out of hand.’ Krings immediately went down to throw a couple more.” She said the report came back from the ‘pen that she had her changeup — she originally took her out because she was ‘out of time’ — so she appeared to be back on track. “Let’s bring her back in. We had no other choice,” Coach said she told her staff.
In the bottom of the 7th, PJ worked a leadoff single before Laird made the first out. Honnold and Daly walked to load the bases, which brought in new Ole Miss pitcher, Catelyn Riley (the loser of Game 1). Crenshaw reached on a fielders choice which made it 7-4 before Chester’s single to right scored two to make it 7-6, but that was as close as they got.
What’s that Jon Rothstein saying again? I think it goes something like this— Mizzou Softball losing games in the 7th: The epitome of brutality.
In the postgame, Coach Anderson said, “That’s a tough one. It’s tough to finish the seventh inning and to close it out. I mean, we’re just looking to get three outs and we gave up five so I’m disappointed obviously in the result but I like the resilience and the fight from our offense at the end. You’re down and you have the winning run on base. That’s impressive to do. But we need to finish the game from our pitching staff.”
- Alex Honnold: 2-3 | R | RBI | BB
- Kara Daly: 0-2 | R | 2 BB | 2 K
- Julia Crenshaw: 0-3 | R | 3 RBI | HBP | Sac
- Katie Chester: 1-4 | 2 RBI | K | HBP
- Payton Jackson: 2-3 | 2 R | SB
Overall Hitting Stats: 6 R | 5 H | 6 RBI | 4 BB | 7 K (1 looking) | 2 HBP | SAC | 7 LOB | .185 BA | .125 w/ 2 outs | .333 RISP
- Laurin Krings: 6.2 IP | 5 H | 3 ER | BB | 9 K | 25 BF | HR | 96 pitches
- Emma Nichols: 0.0 IP | Loss | 2 ER | BB | HBP | 2 BF
- Megan Schumacher: 0.1 IP | 2 H | 2 ER | BB | 3 BF | 2B | 14 pitches
Overall Pitching Stats: 7 H | 7 ER | 3 BB | 9 K (4 looking) | HBP | 2 XBH | .280 OppBA | .429 lead off | 1.000 RISP | .300 w/ 2 outs
Game Three: MIZ 5 | MISS 7
With the same starting pitchers as Game 2 in the circle, Krings worked around an error of her own making to end the first inning with two strikeouts before the Tigers utilized some excellent Jenna Laird baserunning to take an early 1-0 lead right away. After getting aboard with a leadoff double, she swiped 3B, and then took home after the throw to catch her was overthrown.
Ole Miss struck back in the 2nd on back-to-back doubles to tie it up 1-1, and Mizzou had its chances in the bottom of the inning but couldn’t convert and stranded a pair. A Maddie Gallagher leadoff single was followed up by another catcher’s error that allowed Katie Chester to take first on a well-placed bunt. Speedster Maddie Snider took over for her on the basepaths and immediately swiped 2B before a Chantice Phillips 1-out bunt got her aboard with a FC. However, Gallagher was called out at home and Laird’s subsequent groundout ended the inning. Two more left on base. Again, something to monitor.
Mya Stevenson, hitter of one of the back-to-back earlier doubles and the bases-clearing double in the sordid 7th inning collapse in Game 2, smashed a 2-run shot to give the Rebels a 4-1 lead in the fourth. However, not to be disregarded, Laurin Krings recorded her 400th career strikeout in the 4th inning, as she struck out a batter right after the HR.
Here’s Anderson on the honor post-game.
Julia Crenshaw got one back for the Tigers with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning. In the 5th, Ole Miss added one more to their tally after a double (yay, another one) and swiped bag by Paige Smith resulted in a score on a passed ball, which took Krings out of the game in favor of Cierra Harrison, pitching in what would be the highest leverage spot of her young career.
In the bottom of the inning, some cool stuff happened to Mizzou:
JULIA - ICE IN HER VEINS - CRENSHAW with the standup triple. It's tied. IT'S TIED.— Karen S (@karensteger) April 18, 2023
In the top of 6th, Harrison struck out the aforementioned Ms. Stevenson (YAY!) before allowing a double to Lexie Brady. She took third on a FC, but was stranded there. Aside from a single from Laird in the bottom of the 6th, a Crenshaw walk in the 7th, and a Gallagher leadoff single in the 8th, that’s all the Tigers could manage against Ole Miss pitchers, Grace Sparks (6th) and Brooke Vestal (7th —> end).
While the Tigers struggled to get anything going offensively, the Rebels threatened again in extras, and in the 8th, after a leadoff single and a sac bunt put Mikayla Allee in scoring position. But the freshie was tough as nails and ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts, including another to Stevenson. You simply love to see it.
Despite today's outcome, Cierra Harrison (@Cierra_h42) had one heck of a night. When it comes down to it, you can count on her to send the opponent back to the dugout. Watch her strike out the last batter in the top of the eighth.@KOMUsports pic.twitter.com/rFjEjRRQUX— Euphenie (@EuphenieAndre) April 18, 2023
In the top of the 9th, with the game already going wayyyyy over time thanks to the incessant mound visits by the Ole Miss catcher and coaching staff, the tie was broken as Keila Kamoku (already a homer hitter in the series) hit a 2-run shot over the LF wall that effectively ended the game; Mizzou went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
B9: One away as Laird grounds out. A flyout gets the 2nd out and a foul out ends it. Pardon my language, but SHIT.— Karen S (@karensteger) April 18, 2023
3 hours and 12 minutes, with 4 extra-base hits, phenomenal performances by Julia Crenshaw and Cierra Harrison, a career milestone for Laurin Krings, 7 runners stranded and a very hungry and irritable pressbox later, that is how it ended. Sadness.
In the postgame, Coach Anderson was disappointed in the loss (obviously), but clearly pleased with her team’s effort. “I feel like our team played so hard. They really did. Cierra Harrison came out and just did a phenomenal job. She had not been in that situation.” She continued. “We had some opportunities to be able to score and take the pressure off, but overall I’m extremely proud of how hard they’re playing and how much grit they showed tonight.”
- Jenna Laird: 2-5 | R | 2B | 2 LOB | SB
- Kara Daly: 1-4 | R | BB
- Payton Jackson: 1-4 | R | 2 RBI | 2B
- Julia Crenshaw: 2-3 | R | 2 RBI | 3B | HR | BB | 1 LOB | CS
- Maddie Gallagher: 2-4
Overall Hitting Stats: 5 R | 9 H | 4 RBI | 4 XBH | 3 BB | 3 K (1 looking) | 7 LOB | 2 SB | CS | .250 BA | .111 w/ 2 outs | .286 RISP | .444 Lead off
- Laurin Krings: 4.2 IP | 7 H | 5 R | 4 ER | 5 K | 24 BF | 4 XBH | 73 pitches
- Cierra Harrison: 4.1 IP | 4 H | 2 ER | 4 K | 17 BF | 2 XBH | 59 pitches
Overall Pitching Stats: 11 H | 7 R | 6 ER | 2 BB | 9 K (2 looking) | 4 2B | 2 HR | .297 OppBA | .308 w/ 2 outs | .231 RISP | .333 Lead off
UP NEXT: Mizzou “welcomes” in the fake birds to the west on Wednesday (tonight) for a Border War matchup at 6pm.
On Wednesday’s matchup: “It’s capitalizing when you have runners in scoring position. We’ve had opportunities when we had first and third with nobody out and weren’t able to put anybody across. So we just have to continue to have those quality at-bats... We understand the magnitude of this (kansas) game. They’re coming in and we have to defend our turf and we have to fight like we did tonight.”