Starting at the top: Missouri softball batters at top of order bring leadership, results

The Tigers expect to put together a strong season, and that starts with the first part of their rotation.

No. 21 Missouri softball largely had the top of its rotation to thank for its 3-1 start to the season. Senior center fielder Brooke Wilmes, left fielder Cayla Kessinger and catcher Hatti Moore all started their season strong at the plate.

The trio continued their tenacious starts in Boca Raton, Florida. The Tigers played well over the weekend, earning a 3-1 record, with their only blemish a 9-8 loss to unbeaten Iowa State.

Wilmes led all starters with a .538 batting average from 13 attempts before the weekend and hit her first home run of the season along with two RBIs in a 3-4 performance against Iowa State.

The senior’s trend continued throughout the weekend, going 2-4 with 3 RBIs against Ole Miss. She extended her hitting streak to six games in the two matchups with Florida Atlantic, knocking out her second home run of the season in the second game of the series.

Kessinger — Missouri’s second batter — entered the weekend with a .333 batting average and three RBIs. She batted 0-3 in the loss to Iowa State, but she rebounded with strong performances in the following three games.

Kessinger hit her first home run of the year against SEC rivals Ole Miss and finished 2-4 with two RBIs. The senior capped off a strong weekend by going 3-7 in the two games against Florida Atlantic, hitting her second home run and getting three RBIs against the Owls.

Moore rounds out the top of the Tigers’ order. She entered the weekend with a .364 batting average, a team-high three home runs and six RBIs.

Her strong start carried over to the weekend, where she tallied four RBIs and another home run. This took the catcher’s season tally to 10 and four, respectively.

Kimberly Wert has also played a large role in the season, recording a .560 batting average with four home runs and eight RBIs.

The top of Missouri’s order is impacting the team as a whole. Coach Larissa Anderson said that even if they’re thrown out, they are giving information about what they faced to the team, which gives the others an advantage when they step up to the plate.

“Their energy [and] their confidence really, really sets the tone for the whole team,” Anderson said in a press conference Wednesday. “When you hear your leaders say, ‘Hey, it’s right there, and you’re gonna jump all over it,’ it boosts the confidence for everybody else.”

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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