Norman shines as lack of offense hurts MU softball in home opener

The Tigers dropped their fourth consecutive game in SEC play.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Despite a complete game from redshirt senior Madi Norman, Missouri’s (11-11, 0-4) bats went quiet in a 1-0 loss to No. 8 Georgia (25-4, 1-0), on Friday.

Missouri and Georgia both left two runners on the bases in the first inning. Georgia stranded the bases loaded in the top of the third after freshman Savana Sikes grounded out to the pitcher.

The teams entered the fifth inning scoreless. In the top of the fifth, Georgia senior Alyssa DiCarlo hit a two-out double to right field. The next batter, freshman Lacey Fincher, hit the ball to the third baseman, but first baseman Kolby Romaine dropped the throw, scoring DiCarlo.

“What I just told the team is that we can’t beat ourselves and the competition is hard enough,” Missouri coach Larissa Anderson said. “To have our opportunities in the first inning, that is where we need to capitalize. That’s what the players need to understand. The game could be on the line in the first inning.”

The Tigers went down quietly in the sixth and seventh innings and dropped their fourth consecutive game.

Anderson said she thought Norman pitched well against Georgia’s lineup. DiCarlo leads the Bulldogs in batting avg (.447), runs (37), hits (34), homers (14) and walks (27). Dicarlo broke the University of Georgia school record last Sunday with her 59th career home run. Norman limited her to just one extra-base hit and no RBIs in her four at-bats Friday.

“[DiCarlo] is an unbelievable player,” Anderson said. “I think we did a very good job with that, because she didn’t hit the ball out of the ballpark. You’ve got to keep her off-balance and be able to mix some offspeed pitches and work both sides of the plate.”

Georgia only mustered four hits against the Missouri righty. She struck out five and didn’t allow an earned run against the 14th best offense in the country.

The Tigers were shut out for the first time this season on Friday and didn’t record a hit after the first inning.

“I think trusting your preparation is a big thing that we need to figure out as a whole,” sophomore Kim Wert said. “We all work so hard on our swings and we have several people in our starting lineup that come out before games and hit. Just trusting that we are prepared for what we are going to face is a big thing that we should work on as a whole.”

Anderson attributed part of Norman’s success to her ability to practice on dirt recently. In total, MU has spent just three practices on a dirt field due to weather.

“That is a big difference when you are pitching inside and don’t have a mound to push off of,” Anderson said.

Although Missouri lost in its home opener, Anderson is glad to be playing at home.

“It was great being able to play in front of our fans and parents,” Anderson said. “It was great to get a little familiarity.”

The Tigers return to Mizzou Softball Stadium for the second game of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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