Tigers bury A&M with high powered attack
With the year rounding down, emotions are running high for Missouri softball. On a day where the team introduced classes from years past before the game, the Tiger homecoming was a successful past and present. The offense, specifically Kimberly Wert, continued its hot streak from recent weeks and the defense, behind Laurin Krings, allowed just two runs in a 7-2 win over Texas A&M to secure the weekend series.
Krings’ win in the Saturday afternoon contest was her 13th of the season. More importantly, Missouri improved its record to 31-17 on the year, with a 10-9 record in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers’ win brought them north of .500 in the SEC for the first time this season.
“I definitely learned a lot watching yesterday’s game. Jordan [Weber] and Madi [Norman] came up and talked to me about what they saw of the hitters,” Krings said. “Hatti Moore made sure I knew where they stood in the box and just told me basically what their attack plan was and what I need to look for.”
The Missouri offense didn’t take long to begin operation. After a Jenna Laird groundout to begin the bottom of the first, Brooke Wilmes drew a walk and Kendyll Bailey hit a double in between the left and center fielders to advance the runners to second and third. Wert then walked up to the plate to take her first hacks of the day and hit a sacrifice fly along the right field line to score Wilmes from third base and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Laird led off the bottom of the third with a bunt single that popped out of the pitcher’s hand. The next batter, Wilmes, got on with a bunt single of her own. After Bailey popped out to the first baseman, Wert came up to the plate with runners on second and third courtesy of a passed ball by Aggie catcher Mayce Allen. Wert took starting pitcher Emiley Kennedy to dead center to score three runs and push the Tiger lead to 4-0. Wert’s home run pushed her daily total to four RBI. Emma Raabe followed this effort with a single to left field to score Alex Honnold and push to lead to 5-0 by the inning’s end.
“Having a quality at-bat is the goal every time you step into the box,” Wert said. “I went three-for-four today with quality at-bats. So, I mean, that's honestly the goal.”
The bottom of the fifth began with Wert drawing a walk and being run for by freshman Maddie Snider. After Snider stole second, the batting order made its way down to fellow freshman Kara Daly. She took the first pitch of the at-bat to deep right field to make it 7-0 Tigers.
“I just kept it simple. I just wanted to help my teammates and my pitcher out,” Daly said. “I knew going into it that we wanted to keep the momentum on our side. I just wanted to do everything I could.”
The Aggies would finally score in the top of the sixth when the first pitch of the inning soared to deep center field off the bat of Katie Dack to cut the lead to 7-1. The home run was her second of the series. After a dry bottom of the sixth for the Tigers, A&M pushed one more across, but couldn't seriously threaten.
“They're gonna get hits. It's gonna happen. It's just a game,” Krings said. “I just know, like, Kendyll and Jenna both had double plays, and they're lined up so perfectly. I know they're gonna get outs. I don't have to stretch myself to get them all by myself.”
With a runner on first and one out, Krings straightened herself out and struck out the first batter, walked a batter, and ended the game on a popout to Laird, completing her game with a 7-2 victory over the Aggies.
“I mean, any series win is great, but another big one,” Wert said. “I mean, we're sitting in the middle of the SEC, we might as well start climbing now. So, yeah, that was awesome.”
The win extended the Tigers’ winning streak to six consecutive games, tying the longest of the season. As the team continues to heat up moving towards the postseason, it has become a focal point to continue that success to build confidence and cement themselves as a serious postseason contender.
“No one else wants to play you because they know that you're playing really well,” coach Larissa Anderson said. “It’s tough to go up against a team when they're playing so well.”
Missouri has an opportunity to sweep the Texas A&M Aggies when the two teams meet one final time in a game three matchup Sunday at 1 p.m. More importantly, it’s a senior night matchup, honoring the eight seniors in the last home game of the season. With the Tigers finally securing a winning SEC record in the win on Saturday, they’ll look to bring it even further away from the center with Jordan Weber in the circle.