Softball keeps the season alive with win over Mississippi State

Softball keeps the season alive with win over Mississippi State

After a rougher patch of starts against Texas A&M and Arkansas, Missouri workhorse Laurin Krings returned to the circle once again in a crucial spot for Missouri on Tuesday night, delivering an expectedly stellar outing to keep her team and their playoff hopes alive in the opening 3-1 victory against Mississippi State.

Coming in as the last-place team in the SEC, the Tigers’ hard-fought win earned them a slot against fifth-place Alabama on Wednesday and a chance at extending their postseason run even further.

“They’ve got the bats up and down their lineup that can get hot at any time,” Bulldogs head coach Samantha Ricketts said. “Credit to them. I thought they did a really good job of swinging within their plans. Same thing with Laurin Krings executing pitches all throughout the game.”

Krings’ faced 24 batters in her seven-inning gem, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out three. The Bulldogs’ run came on a blast from Nadia Barbary to lead off the fourth inning, the sole hiccup in an otherwise excellent showing.

“I thought Lauren Krings had an unbelievable outing,” Missouri head coach Larissa Anderson boasted. “She really dominated both sides of the plate and kept them off balance.”


Tuesday’s outing puts Krings at the cusp of 150 innings in 32 appearances, an inning and an appearance shy of her totals from last season. Despite the workload, Anderson is confident in her ability and endurance to push through the most crucial part of the season. That being said, the three-year starter will likely push into new territory in terms of workload should the Tigers’ continue their tournament run with a win on Wednesday against Alabama.

“I definitely feel it a little bit for sure, but I wouldn’t change anything about it,” Krings said. “I want to be in the circle. I want to help my team in any way, shape or form I can, and I’ll put my body through whatever it takes to help them get to where they wanna be”

Krings threw 68 of her 102 pitches against the Bulldogs for strikes, the sixth time she’s crossed the century mark this season and just three days after throwing 110 pitches in 7 2/3 innings against Arkansas.

“It’s absolutely huge in knowing that you can rely on your pitchers because again, they’ve been there, they’ve done that, they know what it takes,” Anderson said. “It’s not even a question, we’re gonna win with [Krings] in the circle, we’re gonna win with Jordan Weber in the circle.”

The offense relied on clutch two-out hits, as all three of their runs came on two-out extra base hits. Sophomore Maddie Snider drove in the first run of the game in the second inning, tripling to bring home Payton Jackson, followed by Alex Honnold who doubled off the top of the center field wall to bring home the go-ahead run in the fifth.

“Snyder probably went a month without seeing the field in that starting role and she hasn’t missed a beat, and she’s come through really clutch in the last week,” Anderson said.

Kara Daly delivered some key insurance in the top of the seventh, scoring Jenna Laird on a seventh inning double and mounting the pressure on the Bulldogs in the process.

“We’ve been very patient with a lot of our younger players, Kara Daly in particular,” Anderson said. “I’ve left her in the three and four hole and we’ve just continued to support her in that position. Now for her to be able to capitalize and come through and then again with Snider, that’s what we need. We need production at the bottom of the lineup to be able to set it up for the top of our lineup. “

The win, though a small step towards a potential SEC tournament run, was certainly important for the exposure and experience for a young Tiger roster to build confidence in big moments. Anderson has long emphasized this season about “peaking at the right times”, and how playing your best in May is much more important than in February.

With two walk-off wins against Arkansas and now a single-game elimination tournament on the agenda, this Tigers’ squad is certainly poised to compete with any team in their schedule and could easily make a deep tournament run as in past years if the ball continues to roll their way.

“I know that there’s gonna be bigger crowds and the atmosphere’s gonna be real exciting, but it’s just tremendous that these athletes can experience a tournament that is put on as well as this one is,” Anderson said.

When asked about the shot of making it through a committee bid for the NCAA tournament, Anderson shook off the question and redirected it towards the next task at hand — Alabama. The Crimson Tide enter Wednesday afternoon’s matchup winning six of their last ten games, including series wins over LSU and Ole Miss.

Alabama (38-17, 14-10) won the series against Missouri last time around, but gave up an uncharacteristic 11-3 run-rule loss to Missouri in the series finale which saw the Tigers jump on starter Alex Salter and reliever Jaala Torrence early on while Weber and Krings shared the five-inning load to bring home the win.

Following the conclusion of the first round, the winner of the game on Wednesday would be slated to play Arkansas on Thursday. The formidable Razorbacks squad will be a challenge for either team, so it will be interesting to see if head coach Patrick Murphy saves or limits Tide ace Montana Fouts on Wednesday for the potential to throw her at full strength against Arkansas on Thursday.

Weber is slated to start in the circle for the Tigers, coming off of one of her best performances all season against Texas A&M in which she threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed just one unearned run on four hits. Though she’s been shaky this season, Weber’s experience in the SEC tournament could help see her through an outing against a more pedestrian offensive team.

The Tigers take on the Crimson Tide at 4 p.m. in Fayetteville, Arkansas to determine who advances to the second round of the SEC playoffs and plays the tournament host, No. 4 Arkansas. The game will be televised on SEC Network.

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