Missouri softball finishes 1-3 in Mary Nutter Classic

Missouri softball comes back to run-rule New Mexico State after three losses in Mary Nutter Classic.

Coming off a dominant performance last weekend that saw the Tigers collect five wins and out-score their opponents 39-1, the softball team headed west again this weekend to compete in the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. In the classic, Missouri dropped the first three games before defeating New Mexico State 15-0.

Missouri squared off against BYU in game one. The Cougars had a quick start thanks to two run-scoring singles in the top of the first. As sophomore Cassie Gasper tried to settle in on the mound, third baseman Kimberly Wert hit a solo home run to cut the deficit in half. It was her team-leading fifth of the season.

However, Gasper would surrender a solo shot of her own in the top of the third. After running into trouble again in the following frame, she was removed from the contest. In just 3.1 innings of work, she gave up three earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out none.

Although an RBI single by designated player Geana Torres cut the Cougar lead to 3-2, junior Nalani Scates, who relieved Gasper, was unable to keep the game close. She gave up a sacrifice fly in the fifth, but what really opened the floodgates was the three-run shot she gave up later in the frame, which opened up a commanding 7-2 lead for the Cougars. Although the Tigers manufactured a third run in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a wild pitch, it was too little too late.

The Cougars took game one of the weekend by the score of 7-3 and Gasper was tagged with her first loss of the season.

The Tigers were slated to play a second game on Thursday against the University of Arizona Wildcats, but weather postponed it. Missouri fell to No. 2 UCLA 11-3 in six innings on Friday.

The Tigers went three up, three down in the top of the first before the Bruins took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning.

Missouri took the lead in the top of the third, scoring its only three runs of the game. UCLA responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the third.

The Bruins added to their lead with another run in the fifth. UCLA scored five more runs in the sixth to win by run-rule.

Redshirt senior Madi Norman recorded five strikeouts in five plus innings.

"I thought Madi was amazing today," coach Larissa Anderson said in a press release. "We just have to make the plays behind her. This is why you play games against teams like this. The ball is faster, the pitching is better, and the pressure is higher. I hope we see them again. When we do, we will be ready.”

On Saturday, the Tigers began play with the University of Washington. The Huskies, who came into the game having defeated four ranked teams and have only lost one game this season, defeated Missouri 6-3.

Washington jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Tigers got one back in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly from senior Kolby Romaine.

The Huskies added to their lead in the top of the fifth to make it 6-1. Sophomore Brooke Wilmes attempted to spark a major comeback in the sixth when she recorded her fourth hit, a two-run single, in as many plate appearances. Sophomore Baleigh Koester pitched 4.1 innings in relief and allowed one earned run.

"We just have to believe we can play with the Washingtons of the world," coach Anderson said in a press release. "I think we outplayed them, but we just made too many mistakes. It's hard to swallow losses like that, especially when you see the potential we have.”

In its final game of the weekend, Missouri defeated the New Mexico State Aggies 15-0 in five innings. The Tigers recorded all of their hits and runs for the game in the bottom of the third.

Wilmes, Gabby Garrison, Jazmyn Rollin and Emma Raabe all recorded two hits in the inning.

Norman started the game and pitched three shutout innings before exiting the game with the lead. None of Missouri’s pitchers allowed a hit in the ballgame.

“That potential took center stage against New Mexico State,” Anderson said in a press release. “That kind of performance is what this group is capable of when we play like a unit."

The win brings the Tigers to 9-5 heading into the Louisville Invitational on March. 1. They will face Indiana State and Louisville twice before finishing the weekend against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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