No. 23 Missouri softball sweeps Memphis, splits series with No. 12 Florida State

The Tigers got off to a strong start to the season, winning three of four games at the Joanne Graf Classic.

Far from the single-digit temperatures and snowfall of mid-Missouri, No. 23 Missouri took advantage of the warmth and the rain that Florida’s capital had to offer.

Traveling to face Memphis and No. 12 Florida State two times each for the JoAnne Graf Classic, the Tigers finished the weekend with a 3-1 record. Those wins included a statement victory against the hosts.

The two top 25 teams faced off twice over the weekend. The first of the two games went to Florida State.

The game started strong for the visitors, with senior catcher Hatti Moore ripping her third home run of the day in the first inning to give Missouri an early 1-0 lead. Senior Kimberly Wert also got in on the action, nailing the first pitch of the fourth inning over the centerfield wall, tying the game at two at the time.

However, Florida State added another seven runs to their tally, including a four-run bottom of the fifth that left Missouri without an answer.

The Seminoles picked up three runs in the sixth, winning 9-2 off the back of Elizabeth Mason’s two-run shot and All-American Sydney Sherrill’s three RBIs.

The next day, the Tigers avenged that loss in large part because of senior Brooke Wilmes.

The 2019 First Team All-SEC outfielder was perfect at the plate, going 5-5, earning three RBIs and scoring two runs. She is the first Tiger to get five hits in a single game since 2010.

Freshman Jenna Laird and senior Cayla Kessinger also had good days at the plate. Laird chipped in by going 3-4, scoring twice and batting in two other runners. Kessinger went 3-5 and earned two RBIs.

The Tigers struggled defensively in the bottom of the third when they saw their 6-0 lead whither down to just one run.

A two-run home run from Jahni Kerr, the first of her college career got the Seminoles going early in the inning. Mason’s second home run — a two-run shot — in as many days against Missouri, as well as a run from Sherrill got Florida State back to within one.

The Tigers would hold on and add some insurance, as they finished the game with a marquee 9-5 win over Florida State.

Missouri also took care of business against Memphis.

Moore stood out at the plate, continuing her hitting form from last season. Moore would go 2-3 in the game with two home runs, one of which was a grand slam, and five RBIs.

Defensively, the Tigers were near-perfect on the back of a strong performance in the circle from sophomore Jordan Weber. The Lee’s Summit native pitched six innings and allowed only two hits and one ER before freshman Laurin Krings entered to close out the game.

Missouri then faced Memphis again, dominating the other Tigers 12-1 before the game was called off early due to inclement weather.

Wilmes went 2-2 with two RBIs and two runs. Freshman Alex Honnold also had a strong showing, going 1-2 but earning three RBIs and two runs.

The third game against Memphis was canceled due to inclement weather.

The Tigers are back in action this weekend in Florida against Ole Miss, Iowa State, Florida Atlantic and Central Florida in the Strikeout Cancer Tournament.

Edited by Jack Soble | jsoble@themaneater.com

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