1) Let’s start with a heck of a weekend on the diamond for Mizzou. Both baseball and softball fattened up on South Carolina this weekend. After starting SEC play with Vanderbilt and Arkansas, both of whom were ranked in the top five, Steve Bieser’s crew welcomed the Gamecocks, who came to CoMo with a 2-4 record in the first two weeks of league play. Mizzou lost Friday night, but won on a walk-off sac fly by Tre Morris (son of former Mizzou offensive lineman Mike Morris) on Saturday and then trounced Carolina 10-3 in the rubber game on Sunday. The series win put Mizzou 3-6 in league play, tied with Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina in the SEC East standings. The Tigers have the best overall winning percentage of those four teams at 17-8. They’ll host Kansas on Wednesday night and then jump right back into the fire with top-ranked Tennessee coming in for the weekend. The Vols are 9-0 fresh off a sweep of Vandy.
Across the road, Larissa Anderson’s team was led by Lauren Krings and Kim Wert in a sweep of the last-place Gamecocks. It’s a series Mizzou should win as South Carolina is now 2-10 in league play, but beggars can’t be choosers and the Tigers were begging. They’d lost seven of eight coming into this series. The sweep at least put them back within shouting distance of the top half of the league. They’ll host Kansas City on Tuesday and then travel to Starkville for three with Mississippi State. It’s another series the Tigers have to win–and almost have to sweep. The Bulldogs are 5-4 in league play, a couple spots ahead of Mizzou in the standings.
2) The biggest news of the week came from a sport I’m not sure we’ve talked about here before. The Tiger gymnastics program made the NCAA championships by finishing second to defending national champion Michigan in the regionals. Mizzou topped UCLA by .025 thanks to this floor routine from Amari Celestine.
It’s just the second time Mizzou has made it this far. Eight teams remain. Missouri is in a regional with Florida, Auburn and Michigan on April 14 in Fort Worth, TX. The top two teams advance to the final. The Tigers lost to both Florida and Auburn during the regular season. The Gators are ranked 2nd, the Wolverines 3rd and Auburn 7th. At No. 11, Missouri is the underdog here, but Shannon Welker deserves serious recognition for what he’s done with the program. It’s the one sport on campus that has clearly risen to the challenge of joining the SEC in the last few years.
3) We’re anticipating it will be a newsy week for Dennis Gates and the basketball program.
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