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Softball is dancin’ and baseball is sweepin’

Mizzou Links for May 15, 2023.

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A diamond week in diamond sports

The 2023 season hasn’t been exactly sterling for either of the diamond sports. Mizzou Softball hasn’t lived up to the high expectations that Larissa Anderson has developed in Columbia while baseball has struggled to pick up traction in conference play after a great start. The great thing about seasons, though, is that they don’t end at the beginning.

Let’s start with softball.

Mizzou Softball has become something like its old self under Larissa Anderson. While they’re still searching for that elusive College World Series appearance, Anderson has had the Tigers competing deep into the postseason year after year. And while their lone conference series win and 34-23 record don’t speak to the quality of the roster, they’ll once again have the chance to make some noise in the tournament.

The draw isn’t exactly favorable for the Tigers. While they’re not their region’s lowest seed — that would be Hofstra — the Tigers are slotted for a matchup with no. 2 seed California on Friday. If they win? A matchup with the defending national champs and de facto No. 1 team in the country on Saturday: the 51-1 Oklahoma Sooners. That isn’t stopping the Tigers from taking a bold stance, however.

“Let’s crash their party,” she said. “They’re the No. 1 seed. They’re the defending national champions. No better party to crash than theirs. So we’re gonna have that same momentum. We know it’s a tough place to play. Their fans are really, really tough and it’s loud. We just have to match their energy and excitement and enthusiasm. But really, we just have to focus on Cal first. That’s the big step, is get as much information as we can about Cal and do everything we possibly can to beat Cal and continue our way through that regional.”

Let’s move on over to the baseball diamond, shall we?

Things haven’t looked exactly rosy for Steve Bieser’s Tigers, either. Their 30-20 record is nothing to sneeze at, but the Tigers have failed to leave much of an impression after their conference-opening sweep of Tennessee. In fact, they haven’t won a series since. No time like the present, though!

More important than the series win, however, is what the win means for the Tigers' season. With a sweep, the Tigers have placed themselves in the driver’s seat for a spot in the SEC Tournament.

The walk-off victory capped a three-game conference sweep of the Bulldogs (28-24, 10-17 SEC), moving the Tigers closer to securing a spot in the SEC Tournament. Mizzou moved into a tie with Georgia in the Eastern Division standings and enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 2.0 game lead over Mississippi State for the No. 12 seed in the tournament.

The advanced numbers have long said Mizzou is a better team than their record shows. But no selection committee worth its salt is going to put Mizzou in the NCAA Tournament if they can’t even get to Hoover. If Mizzou can get there — and get hot at the right time heading there — their chances at heading to the Dance rise exponentially.

Yesterday at Rock M

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