Missouri softball finishes nonconference tournament play with 2-2 record at Cardinal Classic

The Tigers stand at 11-7 heading into their matchup with Alabama.

After an uneven performance saw Missouri softball go just 1-3 last weekend, the Tigers hit the road again to compete at the Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Kentucky. The women in black and gold finished 2-2 and concluded nonconference tournament play with a record of 11-7.

On Friday, the Tigers faced off against the host Louisville Cardinals, followed by the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars.

In game one, redshirt senior Madi Norman held her former team hitless in each of the first three frames. Meanwhile, her offense got to work quickly, as catcher Hatti Moore, right fielder Abby George and shortstop Brooke Wilmes each drove in a run.

Norman was unable to hold the lead. Louisville cut into the deficit in the top of the fourth with a run-scoring triple followed by an RBI single, but the Tigers still led by one after three.

The Cardinals fought to regain the lead, chasing Norman with one out in the sixth. Sophomore Baleigh Koester came in to try to pitch out of trouble, but immediately gave up a two-run shot to relinquish the lead. Later in that same frame, Koester gave up another run-scoring single to push the Cardinal lead to two.

In the top of the seventh, the Tigers had the go-ahead run at the plate, but were unable to drive anyone in and dropped the first game of the weekend by the score of 5-3.

"It can be frustrating at times, because I know the immense ceiling this team has," coach Larissa Anderson said in a press release. "Sometimes we don't decide to give maximum effort, and it shows on the field.” Coming off a tough loss in game one, the Tigers had just a few hours to regroup before squaring off against IUPUI in the afternoon. Missouri dominated the Jaguars (4-13) of the Horizon League from the outset.

By the end of the fourth, the Tigers were up 10-0. Junior Eli Daniel picked up her first win of the season and delivered 4.2 shutout innings, giving up no runs and just three hits along the way. Sophomore Cassie Gasper got the final out of this contest that only lasted five innings. It was already the Tigers’ eighth shutout of the young season.

On offense, everyone got in on the act. The Tigers took advantage of five Jaguar errors on the day and slugged their way to 11 runs and 13 hits, scoring at least one run in each inning of the contest.

In the opening frame, third baseman Kim Wert was able to reach base on a throwing error to get the scoring started. Next inning, Wilmes came through with a two-run double, and then designated player Jazmyn Rollin hit a two-run homer.

Missouri didn’t stop there, as George, Wilmes and Wert combined to bring in four runs off of two base hits and a costly error. In the fourth inning, Garrison reached base on a fielder’s choice to stretch the Missouri lead to double digits.

The Jaguars came back with two runs of their own in the top of the fifth, but it was far too little far too late.

Moore added an RBI on an infield single in the Tiger half of the fifth to put an exclamation point on an 11-3 win in five innings.

On Saturday, The Tigers began the first of two games with a disappointing 9-8 loss to IUPUI in nine innings.

The Jaguars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first and extended it to 3-0 after four innings. Rollin put the Tigers on the board with a solo shot in the top of the fifth.

In the seventh, with the Tigers down to their final two outs, George and Rollin reached base in front of junior Kolby Romaine. Romaine knocked George in with an RBI double putting runners at second and third base. The next batter, Wert, drilled a three-run homer to pull the Tigers in front 5-3. Missouri got two more runners on base but could not drive them home.

In the bottom of the seventh, IUPUI tied the game on a two-run homer and the game was sent into extra innings.

Both teams were held scoreless in the eighth inning despite each having a runner reach third base.

In the top of the ninth, Missouri scored two runs on a double by Wilmes. They added another run when Moore knocked in Wilmes with a two-out double.

The Tigers retired the first batter of the bottom half of the inning but could not get another out. Two walks, two doubles and two singles brought four Jaguar runners home for a 9-8 win.

Gasper got the start and pitched four innings before being replaced by sophomore Summer Shockley. Daniel suffered the loss after giving up three earned runs in 1.1 innings.

Missouri finished the weekend with a 11-1, five inning win over Indiana State on Saturday.

The Tigers started off strong offensively, scoring three runs in the first. Wilmes and Rollins started off the inning with back-to-back singles. Romaine drove both of them in to take an early lead. A single by Nash scored Romaine to increase Missouri’s lead to 3-0.

Rollin got on base with a single, eventually scoring on a fielding error. Romaine, who got on with a fielder’s choice, scored the second run of the inning for the Tigers. Indiana State gave up three more unearned runs, bringing the Tigers’ lead up to 8-0.

The Sycamores scored their only run of the game in the third inning, cutting the Tigers’ lead to 8-1.

In the fourth inning, Missouri drove in three more runs off four hits. Nash led off with a single. Nash then scored on a double by Moore. Garrison drove in Moore with her first career hit. Garrison eventually scored, unearned, increasing the Tigers’ lead to 11-1.

The Tigers held the Sycamores scoreless in the fifth to win by run-rule. Norman got the win for Missouri, recording four strikeouts in five innings.

The Tigers will head to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for their first SEC series of the season against Alabama on March 8.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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