Missouri’s home run ball falls short against Arkansas’ berating offense

The Tigers’ only runs came in the fourth inning, while their pitching staff struggled to keep Arkansas off the bags.

Arkansas softball saved its entire offensive production for the last game of the series against Missouri, winning 8-4 in the series finale.

Before the Tigers even had a chance to get through the entire Razorbacks’ lineup, three separate pitchers entered the bullpen. After no outs and four runs, sophomore pitcher Jordan Weber gave the ball to sophomore pitcher Megan Schumacher.

Graduate shortstop Braxton Burnside, the Arkansas transfer from Missouri, took control of the game after two hitless games against the Tigers. She hit her 25th home run of the season, which forced Weber out of the game for the second time.

The Tigers struggled their first time through the lineup but bounced back from their cold start in the fourth inning. Senior third baseman Kimberly Wert put two runs on the board for the Tigers with her team-leading 15th home run, closely followed by junior first baseman Emma Raabe’s no-doubt moonshot, which cut down the Arkansas lead to just two.

Despite the rough fourth inning, Arkansas’ pitchers controlled Missouri’s bats, allowing no more than two hits in any other inning and allowing no runs outside of the fourth. Junior pitcher Mary Haff nearly went the distance, throwing 6.1 innings and striking out five batters.

But the deciding factor came down to Arkansas’ top-down, relentless offensive production. It finished the game with 13 hits and three home runs and put a runner on base in every inning but the third and sixth.

Despite the Tigers’ loss, several positives shone through the loss. The first was a narrow play at third base in the bottom of the fourth inning.

After Missouri’s outburst in the top of the fourth inning, Arkansas responded in the bottom by loading the bases with two outs. But Burnside’s home-run earlier that inning, which put the Razorbacks up 7-4, prevented any chance of the Tigers winning the game.

After a ground ball moved freshman shortstop Jenna Laird to her right and away from first, she flipped the ball to Wert. As she caught the ball, on the move from her shallow bunt positioning, her toe dragged over the bag and she registered the out inches ahead of the sliding runner.

Ultimately, the play had no impact on the outcome, but it demonstrated the team’s grit that will be valuable come playoff time.

Freshman pitcher Laurin Krings’ performance on the mound against the Razorbacks in the fifth and sixth innings also proved to be a positive. She allowed no runs while pitching against the latter half of the order, setting down all four batters she faced.

Despite the loss, Missouri leaves Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a series win against the top team in the SEC and a top-10 team in the nation. Missouri hosts Florida this coming weekend, with their first game on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Mizzou Softball Stadium in Columbia.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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