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Softball takes first series win over #12 Arkansas in walk-off fashion

In their final series of the regular season, Mizzou took 2 of 3 from the Razorbacks

Missouri celebrates its first SEC series victory in their final regular season game against no. 12 Arkansas

Better late than never, huh? In their final series of the 2023 season, facing off against the no. 12 Arkansas Razorbacks (38-16, 14-10 SEC), the Missouri Tigers (33-23, 7-17 SEC) got it done, taking games 2 and 3 in walk-off fashion off the bat of Jeff City sophomore, Kara Daly, for their first SEC series victory. The first game of the series? Well, let’s just forget about that one, eh?

Time to recap.

Game 1: MIZ 0 | ARK 9 in 5 innings

I’ve already established we aren’t going to talk about it. Here’s a quick hit. The Tigers lost in run-rule fashion, 9-0. Missouri was held to all of two hits, both from Alex Honnold, while Arkansas had a dozen to go with all those runs. They scored two runs in the 1st, another in the 2nd, two more in the 3rd, and four more in the 5th.

Senior Jordan Weber took the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk in two innings. Fellow senior Megan Schumacher pitched 2.2 innings in relief, allowing 8 hits and 6 earned runs to go with two walks, two strikeouts, and a hit-by-pitch. Senior Emma Nichols faced the final batter of the fifth inning and got the out. Mizzou was unable to get anything going in their home half and thus ended the game in run-rule fashion.

Game 2: MIZ 4 | ARK 3 in 8 innings

On Senior Day, Mizzou honored its 8 seniors (pictured below), and what better way to thank them for their time in CoMo than with an extra innings walk-off victory?

With Laurin Krings in the circle vs Hannah Camenzind, Arkansas took an early lead in this one, as back-to-back solo shots, one off the top of the LF wall that bounced back in play (yet still called a homer) and another to RF (no doubt on that one) made it 2-0.

The offense was pretty nonexistent for much of the game and the Tigers didn’t get even their second hit until the bottom of the 4th when Kara Daly smoked a 2-out double to center. Alas, she was left stranded, and the Hogs still held onto a 2-0 lead until the 5th, when Riley Frizell (who just missed a homer in the 2nd) and Katie Chester’s back-to-back singles put two on for senior Payton Jackson, who hit an RBI FC. A throwing error to catch senior pinch-runner Hannah McGivern at 3B went awry, making it 2-1 before a Maddie Snider sac fly scored pinch-runner Kaylee Lenger, knotting the score at 2 apiece and sending Camenzind out of the game in favor of G1 winner Chenise Delce.

The score remained tied past regulation, as both Krings and Delce did their respective jobs of keeping runners off the basepaths, That is, until the top of the 8th, when the Hogs’ leadoff batter got aboard with a single and then took 2B on a wild pitch, before coming around to score on a sac fly to LF. After a walk got another runner aboard, Specs exited in favor of Lee’s Summit freshman Taylor Pannell, who got the final out on a foul out to Daly.

Down one run, how would the Tigers respond? With a Maddie Snider leadoff solo shot to right center to re-tie the game 3-3, of course! Then, with two outs and another inning to come, the Jeff City girl did it! Kara Daly took a first pitch shot to LF to walk the game off!

On the mid-MO native’s performance, Larissa Anderson said, “She’s been seeing the ball extremely well. We’ve made some adjustments with her stance and her timing. When she puts a good swing on a good pitch, it’s gonna go a long way, and she took advantage of that opportunity.”

Hot Stats

  • Kara Daly: 2-3 | Run | RBI | 2B | HR | Sac
  • Maddie Snider: 1-2 | Run | 2 RBI | HR | Sac
  • Laurin Krings: 7.2 IP | 5 H | 3 ER | 2 HR | 3 BB | 5 K | WP | 31 BF | 110 pitches
  • Taylor Pannell: 0.1 IP | WIN | 1 BF | 7 pitches

Overall Hitting Stats: 4 R | 6 H | 3 RBI | 3 XBH | 2 SAC | 3 LOB | .231 BA | .250 w/ 2 outs | .375 leadoff

Overall Pitching Stats: 5 H | 3 ER | 3 BB | 5 K | WP | 2 XBH | .185 OppBA | .111 w/ 2 outs | .375 leadoff

Game 3: MIZ 7 | ARK 6

Sunday was a blistering hot day. Beautiful, yes, but wow... Missouri temps went straight to mid-July with this one. Put it this way— it was hot enough that there was a medical emergency in the third base-side stands before the game even started and the paramedics had to tend to an elderly woman. (They eventually got her up and walking, with assistance, thank goodness before wheeling her out.)

With CC Harrison in the circle against Arkansas’ Robyn Herron, the Razorbacks got on the board early after an error by C Julia Crenshaw put a runner on, before a Cylie Halvorson home run to make it 2-0 in the 1st. Sound familiar? The Tigers answered in the 2nd when Crenshaw led off with a walk, and Maddie Gallagher followed with a fielder's choice, which was botched, allowing the Tigers two baserunners for senior Megan Moll, whose sac fly tightened the score to 2-1.

In the 3rd, the Tigers took the lead 3-2 after Rock Bridge alum Maddie Snider led off with a blooper to LF before Jenna Laird dropped down a perfect bunt to put two aboard. Alex Honnold walked to load the bases, causing the first of many Razorback pitching changes, bringing in Nikki McGaffin. A fielder’s choice sent a runner home, and Snider was called out at the plate but kept the bases juiced. A different Maddie (Gallagher) then smacked a two-run double single (I thought it was a 2B) before Crenshaw was thrown out at the plate trying to extend the lead.

Unfortunately, the newfound lead didn’t last long, as a leadoff single and two-out walk in the 4th took Harrison from the game, but Coach Anderson was proud of the freshman’s performance. “I thought CC threw unbelievable,” she said post-game. “I would say she threw one-hitter. I think two of those hits that she gave up should have been outs. We need her down the stretch so it’s good to see that she’s throwing extremely well right now.”

With two away, Anderson elected to bring in Laurin Krings, who loaded the bases with a single. And then, the unthinkable happened. A grand slam to RF off the suddenly homer-happy Krings made it 6-3 Hogs. At this point, y’all, I thought it was over. BUT... The Tigers proved me — and really, everyone else — wrong. Riley Frizell came out swinging on the first pitch in the bottom of the 4th to make it 6-4, which sent the newest ‘Backs pitcher to the dugout and brought in G2 pitcher, Hannah Camenzind.

“That pitcher (McGaffin) has a really good off-speed and she was getting a lot of our girls out on it,” the junior said post-game. “Personally, I’m gonna get a changeup at some point, so if I see that off-speed, I’m going to it.” When asked about rebounding in this way after the grand slam, Frizell added, “There was a ground ball in that inning (the 4th) that led to the grand slam that I think I should have gotten to, so my mentality going into that was I need to pick myself up, my team up, and produce for my teammates.”

After a 1-2-3 inning from Krings in the 5th, Mizzou tied it back up in the 6th in a wild turn of events. Honnold beat the throw and got aboard with a leadoff single, and Daly was hit by a pitch. After a fly-out, Gallagher walked to load the bases for The Friz, and led to another Arkansas pitching change, this time G1 winner, Chenise Delce. Frizell smoked an RBI single up the middle to score two runs and knot the score at 6 apiece, though a very long review would follow, as the batted ball seemed to make contact with Kara Daly on her way to 3B.

While the pressbox (which also contained a few Arky social media staffers) and announcers debated if there was video evidence to overturn the call, Larissa told us after the game that that actually wasn’t the debate at all— it was whether or not the SS could have feasibly made a play on the ball that hit Daly, and the home plate umpire ultimately determined NO, so the runs counted. Had interference been called, it would have been catastrophic for the Tigers, who would have had two runs erased from the board. Alas, the pendulum swung Mizzou’s way, finally!

In the 6th, it appeared trouble was headed Mizzou’s way as a leadoff HBP and walk took Krings out of the game in favor of lefty Taylor Pannell, or as I like to call her, “The Icewoman.” With two aboard, she induced a flyout to LF and a popout to keep the score tied. While they threatened, the Tigers couldn’t take the lead in the home half of the inning, as Payton Jackson, on base for the first time that day, reached 1B on a walk, before swiping 2B and then taking 3B on Snider’s deeeeeep flyout. However, she was called out for leaving early (I think), thus erasing the good fortune.

With TP back in the circle for the 7th, our girl KILLED it with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the last two batters, resulting in an emphatic fist pumping and being engulfed by her teammates.

When asked in the postgame about the contributions of Pannell, Frizell said, “I’m speechless. That girl has worked her butt off all year. That kid is clutch.” She continued, “We just continue to pump them (the freshmen, Taylor & CC) with confidence. They’re so good and they have no idea how good they’re going to be and how good they are.”

Anderson added in her portion of the presser, “It’s like she’s got ice in her veins. I mean, she (TP) is tough as nails and comes out and is just extremely poised and focused for a freshman to be put in those situations with the game on the line. You could just see the energy she carries and [how] everyone rallies around her.”

And then, in the bottom of the 7th with one out, this happened... apologies (not really) for the NSFW language. Here’s a link to the homer, per NCAA Softball.

On the team’s first series win, Frizell said, “This is our potential. We had the ability to do this all season and we just kept coming up short. We just kept working harder and harder and we did all the right things. We were finally able to put the nail in the coffin and take the series.”

Hot Stats

  • Jenna Laird: 1-4 | Run | K
  • Alex Honnold: 1-3 | 2 R | BB
  • Kara Daly: 1-3 | 2 R | RBI | HR | K | HBP
  • Julia Crenshaw: 0-2 | Run | BB
  • Maddie Gallagher: 1-2 | 2 RBI | BB
  • Riley Frizell: 2-3 | Run | 3 RBI | HR | K

Overall Hitting Stats: 7 R | 7 H | 7 RBI | 2 HR | 4 BB | 5 K (1 looking) | HBP | 3 LOB | SB | .292 BA | .286 w/ 2 outs | .222 RISP | .571 leadoff

  • Cierra Harrison: 3.2 IP | 3 H | 4 R | 2 ER | BB | 2 K | XBH | 16 BF | 78 pitches
  • Laurin Krings: 1.2 IP | 2 H | 2 ER | BB | K | WP | HBP | XBH | 9 BF | 30 pitches
  • Taylor Pannell: 1.2 IP | WIN | 2 K | 5 BF | 20 pitches

Overall Pitching Stats: 5 H | 6 R | 4 ER | 2 BB | 5 K (1 looking) | WP | HBP | 2 HR | .185 OppBA | .333 w/ 2 outs | .600 RISP | .143 leadoff

With this series win, Mizzou has moved in the RPI rankings from 44 to 38 and is set to take on Mississippi State, who they haven’t faced yet this season, on Tuesday at 6pm in the SEC Tournament. Will this be enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament conversation? I hope so, but a few wins in the SEC Tourney certainly will help.

“We’re trying to go in and crash parties,” Miss Frizell said. “No one’s gonna expect us to come out and really win, honestly. And we’re going to come out with a vengeance and a chip on our shoulder and be like, ‘You know what? Watch this.’”