Missouri softball cruises to victory with high scoring innings against Sam Houston and Louisiana Monroe

The Tigers put up huge innings to beat the Bearkats and the Warhawks in five innings.

Missouri softball walked its way to a 10-0, five-inning victory against Sam Houston Saturday morning. Patient plate approaches from the Tigers paid off in the second and fourth innings. The offense kept multiple runners on base and allowed the heart of the order to drive in runs in bunches.

In the second inning, Bearkat freshman pitcher Taylor Bachmeyer issued three straight walks, which allowed the Tigers to load the bases. Freshman shortstop Jenna Laird then doubled to left-centerfield, driving in two runs and keeping two baserunners in scoring position.

Following the double, senior center fielder Brooke Wilmes flew out to centerfield. Junior second baseman Kendyll Bailey scored on the play.

The walks both added to Missouri’s run total, and improved its hitting. As Bachmeyer walked more and more batters, the pressure to keep balls in the zone allowed the Tigers to swing aggressively and put balls in the gap.

With Laird on second, senior outfielder Cayla Kessinger singled up the middle to drive her in for Missouri’s fourth run of the inning.

Sam Houston’s coach Garret Valis pulled Bachmeyer and put in senior pitcher Darby Fitzpatrick. She also attacked the zone and started off on the right foot by getting senior catcher Hatti Moore to ground out to shortstop. The next at-bat, Fizpatrick had a pitch stay in the zone that senior third baseman Kim Wert drove over the center field wall to cap off the six-run Tiger inning.

If Bachmeyer had walked just one batter instead of three, the Tigers likely would have put together innings similar to the first and fifth.

Wilmes led off the game with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a Moore groundout. Wert followed Moore with a single through the left side and drove in Wilmes. Junior first baseman Emma Raabe then struck out looking, which ended the inning.

Missouri faced a similar situation in the fifth inning, but freshman left fielder Chantice Phillips ran into an inning-ending double play. Redshirt freshman catcher Lindsey Warick lined out to senior second baseman Brooke Malia, leaving Phillips to run into Malia’s tag.

In those innings, the Bearkats found themselves in manageable situations that led to an underproductive Missouri offense.

Unfortunately for Sam Houston, the Tigers were also hot in the pitcher’s circle. Senior pitcher Sophie Dandola threw a gem, which included a large number of ground balls, to keep the Bearkats from even smelling an extra base hit. Of her 15 outs, 11 were groundouts. Of the three hits, only one left the infield.

Dandola’s complete-game shutout allowed the rest of the pitching staff to get some much needed rest for their games against Oklahoma State later in the day and the games on Sunday.

The next day, sophomore pitcher Megan Schumacher would also throw a 5-inning shutout in the 20-0 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks mustered only two hits against Schumacher, as Schumacher threw just 61 pitches in the entire affair. Of those 61 pitches, 46 were strikes.

While Louisiana-Monroe swung too aggressively at the plate, their tentative pitching approach played to the Tigers’ advantage.

The Warhawks four pitchers threw 140 pitches in just four innings. Senior pitcher Amber Coons didn’t even register an out in her fourth-inning appearance. In 140 pitches, the Warhawks threw just 69 strikes and issued eight walks.

The Tigers once again found themselves in hitter’s counts throughout the entire game and simply waited for the Warhawk pitchers to cave and throw easy strikes.

Missouri hit five home runs and three doubles in the game, and drove in 14 of their runs on those hits. Missouri went 18 for 29 at the plate during the game, and the offense took advantage of the Warhawks.

In the fourth inning, the Warhawks walked just one batter, but Missouri’s offense was on a roll anyway. The Tigers started the inning off with a home run from Laird. Three batters later, freshman pinch hitter Riley Frizzel hit her first home run of the inning to right field.

Then, Missouri’s offense pled on baserunners and gave Louisiana-Monroe trouble. On back-to-back plays, freshman second basemen Andie Edwards dove for soft line drives in the hole that were inches from her outstretched glove. She hit the lip of the outfield grass and watched as the ball squirted away into shallow right field.

Frizzel added her second home run of the inning, bringing Missouri’s total to 12 runs in the inning. In the top of the fifth, Schumacher registered all three of her strikeouts to finish the game.

After an 11-0 loss to Oklahoma to end the weekend, the Tigers return to Columbia for the Mizzou Tournament. They will play Kent State on Friday, then a rematch doubleheader against Iowa State on Saturday. Their weekend will finish with a doubleheader against Drake.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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