Missed opportunities: Pitching, lack of execution costs No. 18 Missouri softball against KU

The Tigers dropped their midweek clash against rivals Kansas after a day to forget in the circle and at the plate.

No. 18 Missouri softball faced long-time rival Kansas on a warm and sunny Tuesday afternoon in non-conference play. The Tigers were favorites against the unranked Jayhawks but dropped the game 4-3 due to pitching mistakes. It was the first time that Kansas had beaten Missouri since 2009.

The Jayhawks put together a three-run fifth inning to come from behind for the win. Junior Macy Omli batted in the winning run for the Jayhawks before redshirt junior Sydnee Ramsey came through with an insurance run.

Pitching woes plagued the Tigers Tuesday afternoon. The three pitchers combined for seven allowed hits and four earned runs, with only four strikeouts.

“We made the pitching change from [Megan] Schumacher,” Missouri coach Larissa Anderson said. “Schumacher left the ball up and those were the hits that got hit hard. Then coming to [Sophie] Dandola –– who throws drop balls and should be keeping the ball down in the zone –– left two balls up, and when a drop ball pitcher leaves the ball up in the zone, it’s gonna get hit pretty hard.”

Anderson said she went with senior pitcher Dandola because her skillset was necessary to get out of the inning. However, sophomore pitcher Jordan Weber replaced Dandola before the end of the inning.

“They gotta be able to come out of the bullpen and make quality pitches to get us out of those innings,” Anderson said. “When I go to a drop ball pitcher, I want a groundball. I need a ground-ball for them to roll over and keep the ball low.”

Senior catcher Hatti Moore provided the Tigers with a lone bright spot. Missouri earned its first lead through Moore’s 14th home run of the season, a two-run shot over the leftfield wall in the bottom of the third inning. Moore also picked off Omli as she tried to steal second in the top of the third.

“Every time she steps into the batter’s box, she has a quality at-bat,” Anderson said. “Because she’s a catcher, she really does an unbelievable job at picking up spin and exactly what the pitcher’s doing and how she’s trying to get her out.”

The Tigers host Mississippi State — who is 21-16 so far this season, but 0-9 in the conference — in SEC play this weekend. Missouri left 10 runners on base against Kansas, and that’s an area that Anderson and the team will focus on before hosting the Bulldogs.

“We’re gonna work on execution,” Anderson said. “When the game is on the line and you have those opportunities, you got to be ready to be able to perform. The game could be on the line in the first inning, it’s not always on the line in the seventh … We had multiple opportunities throughout the course of the game and we can’t put the pressure that it’s going to come down to that last at-bat.”

Editd by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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