Missouri takes one game against No. 17 Ole Miss

Junior Eli Daniel earned her fifth save of the season on Sunday.
Mizzou softball senior Regan Nash slides to a base during a game against Ole Miss on April 12, 2019. Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Missouri (24-18, 7-8) took one game in a three-game series against No. 17 Ole Miss (30-11, 9-5) on the road over the weekend.

In game one of a doubleheader on Friday, redshirt senior Madi Norman put up zeros in each of the first two frames, but the Rebels got to her in the third, as she gave up two runs on one play thanks to a single and an errant throw. In the fourth, she gave up three more runs thanks to a bases-loaded walk and a two-run single. All told, Norman got through four innings of work and was tagged for five earned runs. She allowed five hits and three walks and only struck out two.

The Tiger offense was asleep for much of the contest, but finally woke up in the fifth, as center fielder Callie Martin connected for an RBI double. Missouri continued to chip away in the sixth with a solo shot by second baseman Kendyll Bailey, her third of the season. Later in the sixth, shortstop Jazmyn Rollin scored on a passed ball, and designated player Kara Decker knotted the score with a two-run single.

The score would remain tied as the game went into extra innings. The Tigers nearly went ahead in the top of the eighth, loading the bases with only one out, but could not cash in. The Rebels made them pay, as junior Eli Daniel, otherwise excellent in relief of Norman, gave up a walkoff two-run homer and Ole Miss took game one, 7-5, in eight innings.

Unlike the high-scoring first game, the second game of the doubleheader was a pitchers’ duel. Sophomore Cassie Gasper went all seven innings, recording four strikeouts and giving up three hits and zero walks. Ole Miss scored the only run of the game on a double from senior Brittany Finney in the second inning.

Missouri’s offense produced three hits, but couldn’t drive in a run. Martin singled in the third, but got out on a double play. Sophomore Brooke Wilmes led off the fourth with a single, but was left on base, while sophomore Hatti Moore was stranded in the seventh after hitting a single. The Tigers ultimately fell 1-0.

“Game two, what a performance from Cassie,” coach Larissa Anderson said in a press release. “She just seems to shine when the lights are brightest. Thought the defense was excellent behind her as well. Needed some offense, but credit the Ole Miss defense. They made some phenomenal plays.”

In game three, Missouri fell behind early, giving up a run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the second inning. The Tigers would later respond with five runs in the top of the fourth inning. Moore began the rally by working a walk on four pitches. After a single by sophomore Kim Wert, Decker singled to drive in Moore. Senior Kolby Romaine followed with an RBI double down the left field line. The Tigers tacked on three more runs in the inning after an error and a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.

Ole Miss rallied in the bottom of the sixth, but only managed to get one run across in the innings.

Daniel shut down the Rebels and earned her fifth save of the season, the most by a Missouri pitcher in 12 years. She pitched 1.2 innings in relief and did not allow a hit or a run.

"When you get great pitching, all you need is a few things to go your way offensively," Anderson said. "Cass and Eli were both fantastic for us. All of our runs came in one inning, which just goes to show that hitting and offense are both so often contagious."

Missouri will head home and take on Texas A&M for a three-game series on Thursday.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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