Clutch two-out hitting against Drake, late rally against Iowa State gives No. 17 Missouri softball two Saturday wins

The Tigers beat Drake comfortably, but it took a sixth-inning rally to come from behind against the Cyclones.

It was a dream start for No. 17 Missouri against Drake in the afternoon game, but the same couldn’t be said in the nightcap against Iowa State.

In game one, the Tigers got out to a quick lead off of freshman shortstop Jenna Laird’s two-out, two-run single and never looked back, cruising to a 5-0 victory. But against the Cyclones, dominant Iowa State pitching held Missouri scoreless until the sixth inning, where a one-out rally led to all three runs in a narrow 3-2 win.

Two-out hitting was huge for the Tigers against the Bulldogs. In Missouri’s first time at the plate, senior outfielder Brooke Wilmes and redshirt senior outfielder Cayla Kessinger made for quick outs. Then senior catcher Hatti Moore walked, senior infielder Kim Wert singled and junior first baseman Emma Raabe followed with a walk. Laird stepped up to the plate and hit a bloop single into left center to drive in Moore and Wert.

Laird hit another two-out single in the third inning, with the Tigers leading 4-0. She stole second and then took third on a poor throw back to the pitcher following junior infielder Jazmyn Rollin’s walk. Rollin advanced to second on the same play. Redshirt junior infielder Kendyll Bailey lined out to second to end the threat, but the threat wasn’t there before there were two outs.

Redshirt freshman Lindsey Warick hit a two-out single through the right-side hole in the sixth inning, the first hit of her collegiate career.

In the second game, Iowa State dominated the Tigers in virtually every category. Except for runs, that is.

The Cyclones racked up 11 hits against Missouri and left runners at second and third in each of the first four innings. Starting freshman pitcher Saya Swain went five innings and allowed just four hits and one walk. Iowa State only had two errors, but they happened at the worst possible times.

In the sixth, with the Tigers down by two, freshman outfielder Alex Honnold ripped a leadoff double into the left-center gap. Senior outfielder Abby George advanced her to third on a bunt, and Honnold scored on Swain’s throwing error to first.

Later in the inning, with a one-run deficit, Wert singled on a line drive that deflected off the first baseman. Wilmes scored and Kessinger was also able to come around on a throwing error to the plate by the shortstop.

“That was the exact pitch I was looking for, I was looking for an outside pitch to punch to the right,” Wert said. “The first baseman got a glove on it, but I hit it hard enough that it made something happen. [If] my teammates aren’t on base in front of me, that doesn’t happen.”

It’s the narrowest win Missouri has recorded so far this season, but Wert knows her team is capable of this sort of winning strategy in every game.

“We’re a come-from-behind team,” Wert said. “I think we just proved that tonight.”

The Tigers move to 18-4 on the year, while Drake slumps to 4-11 and Iowa State drops to 18-5. Missouri is back in action tomorrow afternoon with rematches against both teams.

Edited by Jack Soble | jsoble@themaneater.com

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