Coming off an 8-3 win over Illinois, Arizona looks primed and ready to give the Tigers all they’ve got.
Missouri Softball took control of Game One of the Columbia Regional on Friday afternoon, and despite allowing 6 hits, Laurin Krings was pretty much flawless and at no point should fans have felt any sense of real anxiety that the end result would be anything but positive.
The Tigers hit often (10 hits), they pitched tremendously (thank you, Specs), and they were their normal awesome selves in the field. The only thing missing? Stringing together hits to produce more runs. If you’re going to bat .370 in a game and have double-digit hits, you should have more runs to show for it.
Coach Anderson attributed that to MO St pitcher Steffany Dickerson, who was able to jam her hitters up and force mostly weak contact, and to trying to do too much at the plate with runners on.
The Tigers will need more offense, more runs, and just as good of pitching today as they take on perennial blue blood, Arizona (34-20 / 8-16 in PAC-12). The Wildcats are a team not known for their pitching, but their hitting? OH MY.
Before before we get there…
Want to know what happened in Game One? Read my recap!
WHEN: Saturday, May 21 @ 1:30pm (weather pending)
WHERE: Mizzou Softball Stadium | Columbia, Mo.
TV/STREAMING: ESPN+ WatchESPN
STATS: Live on StatBroadcast (just scroll down to the event)
HISTORY: As far as Mizzou’s softball history takes me, the Tigers are 3-11 against the historical blue blood, going back to Feb. 2001. They last met in February 2020, where they lost 0-2 in the Mary Nutter Classic, but they’ve never met at home.
2021 RECORD: 42-17 (ranked #8 nationally)
2022 RECORD: 36-20 (12-11 in SEC)
RANKING: #16 (ESPN.com/USA Softball), #20 (USA Today/NFCA), #15 (Softball America), #18 (RPI)
2022 TOP PERFORMERS (as of May 16):
- Jenna Laird, SS: .346 BA | .914 OPS | 43 R | 64 H | 11 2B | 2 3B | 5 HR | 20 RBI | .508 SLG% | .408 OB% | 22-25 SB
- Kim Wert, DP: .318 BA | 1.110 OPS | 28 R | 49 H | 6 2B | 17 HR | 52 RBI | 26 BB | .688 SLG% | .422 OB%
- Brooke Wilmes, OF: .312 BA | 1.001 OPS | 39 R | 54 H | 5 2B | 1 3B | 14 HR | 32 RBI | .595 SLG% | .406 OB%
- Casidy Chaumont, OF: .303 BA | .886 OPS | 31 R | 40 H | 11 2B | 1 3B | 6 HR | 23 RBI | .538 SLG% | .348 OB%
- Alex Honnold, OF: .297 BA | .833 OPS | 25 R | 47 H | 11 2B | 3 3B | 2 HR | 17 RBI | .443 SLG% | .390 OB%
- Kendyll Bailey, 2B: .284 BA | .874 OPS | 16 R | 48 H | 7 2B | 11 HR | 32 RBI | .521 SLG% | .353 OB%
- Kara Daly, 3B: .263 BA | .906 OPS | 23 R | 36 H | 2 2B | 12 HR | 25 RBI | .540 SLG% | .366 OB%
- Jordan Weber, SP: 2.57 ERA | 1.08 WHIP | 15-6 | 11 CG | 4 SHO | 141.2 IP | 101 H | 55 R | 52 ER | 51 BB | 113 K | 36 XBH | 20 HR | .200 Opp BA
- Laurin Krings, SP: 3.00 ERA | 1.28 WHIP | 14-9 | 11 CG | 5 SHO | 142.1 IP | 69 R | 61 ER | 50 BB | 162 K | 40 XBH | 18 HR | .242 Opp BA
- Megan Schumacher, RP: 2.58 ERA | 1.59 WHIP | 6-2 | 62.1 IP | 72 H | 31 R | 23 ER | 27 BB | 41 K | 10 XBH | 1 HR | .286 Opp BA
- Mizzou hit .370 overall in Game One, including .300 with two outs, and .278 with runners on. The leadoff batters also hit .333. More of that, please.
- After hitting two infield pop ups in her first two ABs Friday, Kara Daly was able to keep at it and get aboard when her third such infield pop up was misplayed. She was definitely one of those aforementioned “jammed” hitters.
- Six different Tigers got hits on Friday, including Kendyll Bailey, Jenna Laird, and Hatti Moore, and Kim Wert (they each had two). Brooke Wilmes led all Tigers with three. The Tigers won this one on small ball, as they didn’t have any homers. Arizona pitching is susceptible to the HR though, so we will see how this thing plays out.
- Brooke “Doubles Machine” Wilmes was 3-for-4 on Friday with two doubles, a single, an RBI, and a run scored. She’s really trying to pad the XBH leaderboard, huh?
- Hatti Moore is showing she’s hitting her stride and back to her old self at the right time. She had two hard-hit singles into the outfield in Game One. She also was a master behind the plate, key in the Krings’ pitch-calling and outstanding performance.
- Laurin Krings had her fourth double-eight strikeout game of the season while picking up her 15th win on Friday. This was also her 12th complete game, and she hit her 174th strikeout of the season with those dozen Ks — remember, she’s a SOPHOMORE — which has only been bested by ICON, Chelsea Thomas.
- Today’s starter, Jordan “Postseason” Weber, has been wildly successful in the postseason in her young career. She has an 0.60 ERA in 8 postseason appearances, striking out 40 in 47 innings, and holding batters to a .122 BA.
- Casidy Chaumont was drafted last night by the USSSA Pride, and will begin her professional softball career this summer. Here’s hoping the great news gives her bat a jolt, because the Tigers need her offense. (For those wondering, she joins JMU’s Odicci Alexander, Arkansas’ Taylor Ellsworth, and Virginia Tech’s Keely Rochard — names Tiger fans might be familiar with)
Let’s check out Mizzou’s PAC-12 opponent, shall we?
2021 RECORD: 41-15 (12-10 in PAC-12)
2022 RECORD: 34-20 (8-16 in PAC-12), 6-8 away
RECORD VS RANKED TEAMS: 3-12 (W: Washington, Oregon x2 | L: Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, UCLA x3, Arizona State x3, Washington x2, Oregon)
RANKING: RV #32 (ESPN.com/USA Softball), #43 (current RPI)
PLAYERS TO WATCH (Stats as of May 16):
- Jasmine Perezchica: .393 BA | .848 OPS | 42 R | 59 H | 3 XBH | 13 RBI | .420 SLG% | .428 OB% | 10-13 SB
- Izzy Pacho: .383 BA | 1.094 OPS | 21 R | 59 H | 22 XBH | 9 HR | 35 RBI | .649 SLG% | 17 BB | .445 OB%
- Allie Skaggs: .370 BA | 1.284 OPS | 44 R | 57 H | 4 2B | 22 HR | 56 RBI | .825 SLG% | 24 BB | .459 OB%
- Carlie Scupin: .368 BA | 1.208 OPS | 34 R | 57 H | 12 2B | 17 HR | 51 RBI | .774 SLG% | .434 OB%
- Sharlize Palacios: .333 BA | 1.168 OPS | 43 R | 49 H | 21 XBH | 17 HR | 56 RBI | .714 SLG% | 32 BB | .454 OB%
- Paige Dimler: .311 BA | 1.029 OPS | 23 R | 32 H | 13 XBH | 10 HR | 25 RBI | .650 SLG% | .379 OB%
- Blaise Biringer: .309 BA | .769 OPS | 18 R | 30 H | 9 XBH | .423 SLG% | .346 OB%
- Devyn Netz, SP: 3.90 ERA | 1.38 WHIP | 13-7 | 5 CG | 2 SHO | 113 IP | 117 H | 77 R | 63 ER | 39 BB | 72 SO | 43 XBH | 23 HR | .259 Opp BA
- Hanah Bowen, SP: 4.10 ERA | 1.40 WHIP | 10-10 | 6 CG | 1 SHO | 107.2 IP | 106 H | 76 R | 63 ER | 45 BB | 89 SO | 44 XBH | 24 HR | .257 Opp BA
- Jessie Fontes, RP: 3.04 ERA | 1.08 WHIP | 2-0 | 2 CG | 1 SHO | 27.2 IP | 19 H | 15 R | 12 ER | 11 BB | 26 SO | 2 2B | 4 HR | .183 Opp BA
- Madi Elish, RP: 4.34 ERA | 1.59 WHIP | 8-3 | 2 CG | 1 SHO | 77.1 IP | 106 H | 61 R | 48 ER | 17 BB | 39 SO | 38 XBH | 13 HR | .334 Opp BA
- In Game Two of the the Columbia Regional, the Wildcats offensive shenanigans were in full force as they smashed the Illini — actually the better team by the metrics — 8-3 on Friday evening. ‘Zona pummeled the Illinois pitching staff, driving starter Sydney Sickels out after only 2.2 IP (she returned in the 7th for another taste) — she allowed 4 hits, 4 runs, and 3 HR, before another Illini starter came in, Tia McQueen, who gave up a run and 3 hits (including an XBH) in 1.1 innings, before finally giving way to Lauren Wiles (another STARTER!), who finished off the final 2.1 IP with 5 hits, 3 runs, a double and a home run. So yeah…. They basically took one look at Illinois’ entire pitching staff and were like, “ehhhh…”
Janelle Meoño legged out an infield single by a step with two outs and Arizona trailing by one run to keep the third inning alive. It may have seemed minor at the time, but it allowed the floodgates to open for Arizona’s offense. Sharlize Palacios and Allie Skaggs followed with back-to-back home runs to give the Wildcats a 4-2 lead. Arizona finished with four home runs.
- Of particular note at the plate in Game Two (yeah, basically everyone hit):
Arizona’s final batting stats: 8 R | 12 H | 7 RBI | 2 2B | 4 HR | 1 BB | 5 K | 6 LOB | .364 BA | .417 with 2 outs | .357 with runners on | .333 RISP | .571 from leadoff
Leadoff batter Janelle Meoño was 1-for-4. She missed 26/53 games this season with a stress fracture in her foot. She is the reigning PAC-12 batting champion. She was ranked the no. 5 PAC-12 player in D1 Softball’s preseason player rankings.
The no. 9 hitter, Jasmine Perezchica, was 1-for-3. While Janelle was out, she filled in at leadoff.
The no. 2 hitter, Sharlize Palacios, was 2-for-3 with a run, 2 RBI, a double, a walk, a homer, and 2 RBI. Sharlize was ranked the no. 13 player in the PAC-12 in D1 Softball’s preseason rankings.
The no. 3 hitter, Allie Skaggs, was 2-for-4 with 2 runs and a homer, while the no. 5 hitter, Carlie Scupin was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a double. Both Skaggs and Scupin were part of Arizona’s coveted 2020 recruiting class, but had to spend last season parked behind veterans.
The no. 5 hitter, Izzy Pacho, was 2-for-4 with a run, an RBI, and a homer, and the no. 7 hitter, Blaise Biringer, was 2-for-4 with a run, a home run, and 2 RBI.
- Going into the postseason, all Arizona wanted was a clean slate to wash the mess of the regular season off. “Right now we’re just starting 0-0,” said catcher Sharlize Palacios. “It’s a brand new season. So I think that’s going to be really beneficial to us where we can go in thinking it’s a clean slate to know how you fill in.” (Per SBNation sister site, AZDesertSwarm)
- Pitching: In the Wildcats’ last series against Stanford, they combined for 24 H and 16 R (13 ER). Devyn Netz’s**last outing, in particular on 5/13 was ghastly: 10 hits and 7 ER in just 4.1 IP. This is clearly the way to beat the Wildcats, because wow— they struggle on the mound.
**Devyn Netz is likely who the Tigers will face today, as Bowen threw 126 pitches last night. As with the Tigers though, I would assume it’s all hands on deck if needed.
**UPDATE: Bowen is starting again
- Looking Up?: In their first game of the Columbia Regional, Arizona starter Hanah Bowen threw a complete game, while giving up 10 hits to the Illini but limiting the damage to only three runs (sound familiar?), a walk, and a double. She threw 126 pitches and struck out 8 (third highest of the season). According to AZDesertSwarm, 2 of the 3 runs allowed came in the first inning, and the other wasn’t allowed until the 7th.
- Mizzou really understands the assignment here. Both Coach and Brooke Wilmes called out Arizona’s storied history in the Thursday presser. “I have so much respect for them,” Wilmes said. “They’ve got great athletes and great coaches and it’s going to be amazing for them to be here playing against us.” She, of course, is referencing Wildcat greats like Jennie Finch, Jenny Dalton, and Caitlin Lowe, among so many others.
- Coaching: Speaking of Caitlin Lowe, that’s a helluva person to have as your head coach. The four-time All-American and Olympic silver medalist was named head coach in 2021 after spending 9 seasons on now-retired Mike Candrea’s staff (4 as the associate head coach). She is a Hall of Famer and had a wildly successful international career with USA Softball. She’s been with the program since 2012. As one of the best center fielders and leadoff history in collegiate softball, her impact on Arizona’s outfield and offense has been absolutely incredible. We will be in the presence of softball royalty. (Did I get carried away? Maybe. But she’s incredible).
Lowe brought in her former international and pro teammate, Lauren Lappin, who’s also an Olympian, as an assistant coach this season. Lappin is considered a “self-made” coach, gaining experience from working at UMSL and Chicago’s Roosevelt University.
OVERALL TEAM COMPARISONS:
THIS (gestures wildly) is why Arizona is having a tough year. Despite having an incredible offense, allowing 60 doubles and 64 homeruns is A LOT for a team to handle and puts a ton of pressure on the offense to create.
If anyone can create though, it’s Arizona. They have 5 players with 50+ hits (Perezchica, Pacho — team leader with 61, Skaggs, Scupin, Palacios) and 5 with double-digit home runs (Pacho, Scupin, Skaggs — team leader at 22, Palacios, and Dimler). Scupin and Pacho also whack a lot of doubles, and have 12 and 11 on the year, respectively. Pacho (17), Skaggs (24), and Palacios (team high 32) also see their fair share of walks.
If we’re looking for areas to capitalize upon, Perezchica’s hits are mostly of the base-hit variety, and she’s not really a power threat, and if you can get to Skaggs, she strikes out a lot — 30 on the season.
By comparison though, Mizzou measures up in spots. The Tigers have four players with double-digit homers (Wert, Wilmes, Bailey and Daly), and four players with 50+ hits (Laird — the leader at 65, Wert, Wilmes, and Bailey). The Tigers also have three players with double-digit doubles— Jenna, Casidy and Alex each have 11, and 7 (!) Tigers have 15+ walks, led by Wert’s 26 and Wilmes/Daly/Raabe at 21 apiece.
Successful day one.
— Mizzou Softball (@MizzouSoftball) May 21, 2022