MO State HS Sports

Softball Sweeps Opening Day of NFCA Leadoff Classic Including Upset Win of #13/16 Utah

Larissa Anderson_2024 NFCA_Utah_BANNER

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The University of Missouri Softball team (2-0) swept its opening day of the 2024 NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic Friday at the Eddie C. Moore Complex with a pair of victories over No. 13/16 Utah (1-1) and NC State (0-2). 

Mizzou upset No. 13/16 Utah for head coach Larissa Anderson’s 300th career victory before registering a run-rule victory over NC State in five innings. 

The Tigers start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2020 when Mizzou opened 9-0 including 5-0 at that year’s installment of the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic.

Missouri 4, No. 13/16 Utah 3

In the bottom half of the first frame, Utah shortstop Karlie Davison brought home Leilani Melendez via a single before getting tagged out at second trying to stretch the play. 

However, it didn’t take long for Mizzou to respond. In the top of the second, junior catcher Julia Crenshaw worked her way to third base before senior outfielder Chantice Phillips clinched an infield single, bringing home MU’s first run of the season. Crenshaw led off the frame with a double before moving to third on a wild pitch. 

From then on, both offenses were put on hold, but senior pitcher Laurin Krings got into rhythm, only allowing three Utes to reach base from the second-through-fourth innings, before thwarting jams. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Utes were able to put two runners on with no outs. Haley Denning reached home on a fielder’s choice to give the opposition a 2-1 advantage, but MU was able to quickly stop the bleeding.

Junior third baseman Kara Daly smashed a triple to right center to open the sixth for her second hit of the day. Then with two outs in the frame, sophomore Katie Chester knocked a base hit to left field, bringing home the tying run to knot the contest at 2-2. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Krings forced three straight groundouts after allowing a leadoff single, taking us into the final inning of regulation with a tie ballgame.

Senior second baseman Maddie Gallagher then reached base on a single that scooted past the pitcher, bringing up the top of the order with three outs to work with. On the very next at-bat, leadoff hitter Jenna Laird smacked a double into left-center field, giving Missouri its first lead of the ballgame. Senior outfielder Alex Honnold then created a double of her own, scoring Laird to give Mizzou a 4-2 heading into the bottom half of the final frame.

Despite allowing three hits and a run in Utah’s last gasp attempt, Krings was able to retire the side to earn the complete-game victory.

Krings went the distance, allowing just three runs on seven hits to go with four strikeouts for her 41st career win. 


  • Head coach Larissa Anderson earned her 300th career win to start the 2024 campaign.
  • Laurin Krings earned her 41st win as a Tiger, as well as finishing her 29th-career complete game.
  • Missouri registered 10 hits in its season opener. 
  • Jenna Laird reached base in Mizzou’s first at-bat of the season via a single to center field. Laird would conclude the game, 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, run and RBI. 
  • Kara Daly also notched a pair of hits, finishing 2-for-4 with a triple and a run. 
  • Mizzou’s first run of the season came off the bat of Chantice Phillips in the second inning, who brought in her 19th-career RBI.
  • Katie Chester (12-career RBI’s) and Alex Honnold (83-career RBI’s) brought in a pair of runs as well.
  • Freshman Madison Walker tallied her first-career hit.
  • Julia Crenshaw knocked a double to go with a run
  • Mya Dodge and Claire Cahalan both made their Mizzou debuts along with Madison Walker. Dodge started in right while Walker batted cleanup and started at first.  
  • The Tigers improved to 5-3 all-time against Utah (Larissa Anderson is now 2-0).

Missouri 13, NC State 0

In the top of the second, junior outfielder Mya Dodge tripled to right center to capture her first hit and RBI as a Tiger as junior third baseman Kara Daly scored from first to provide Mizzou a 1-0 lead.

Later in the bottom half of the frame, sophomore pitcher Cierra Harrison worked herself out of a jam as the Wolfpack were able to put a runner in scoring position. Harrison went on to retire NC State after a leadoff single to maintain the Tigers lead.

The Mizzou offense continued to roll to begin the third inning after a double to left field from senior infielder Maddie Gallagher placed her and senior Chantice Phillips into scoring position. Phillips later scored on a wild pitch to extend the Tigers lead to 2-0.

In her second at-bat of the contest, senior shortstop Jenna Laird brought home Gallagher and reached first on a fielder’s choice, extending the Mizzou advantage to 3-0. With one out in the frame, freshman infielder Madison Walker stepped up and crushed a moonshot to left field for her first career home run to put the score at 5-0 in favor of Mizzou.

To begin the top of the fourth, sophomore designated player Katie Chester followed Walker’s homer with one of her own, growing the Tigers’ lead to 6-0. Moments later with runners on first and second, Laird doubled to drive home Gallagher and Phillips. Walker followed with an RBI single as the Tigers entered the bottom half of the frame in front 9-0.

Leading off the fifth, freshman catcher Stefania Abruscato tallied her first career hit with a single. Chester also singled as Mizzou notched back-to-back singles to start the inning. Kayley Lenger then stepped up and doubled for her first career hit, driving home Abruscato and Chester. 

Freshmen Abby Hay and Adi Koller also each made their first career plate appearances pinch hitting in the frame. Hay singled and brought home Lenger while Koller doubled before being thrown out advancing home. 

Mizzou recorded its third consecutive frame in which it scored four runs as the lead grew to 13-0.

Freshman pitcher Marissa McCann made her first career appearance in relief coming on in the bottom of the fifth, recording her first career strikeout to seal the victory for Mizzou. 

Cierra Harrison picked up the win in the circle, allowing just one hit over four innings. 


  • Cierra Harrison recorded her third career shutout (one solo, two combined). She improved to 9-2 in her career. 
  • Madison Walker paced the Tigers at the plate, going 2-for-3 with 3 RBI and a run. She blasted her first career home run in the third. 
  • Madison Walker also notched her first career multi-hit game.
  • Designated player Katie Chester also went 2-for-3 for her fourth career multi-hit game. 
  • Freshman Stefania Abruscato made her first career appearance at Mizzou, coming on as a defensive replacement at catcher. She recorded her first career hit in the top of the fifth.
  • Freshman Abby Hay also made her Mizzou debut, tallying her first career hit, run and RBI.
  • Sophomore outfielder Kayley Lenger knocked her first career hit, a two-run double in the fifth. 
  • Freshman pitcher Marissa McCann made her first career appearance, recording her first career strikeout while retiring the Wolfpack in the fifth. 
  • Claire Cahalan came in as a pinch runner for her first career appearance in the Black & Gold. She also played in the outfield.
  • Adi Koller posted her first career hit, an RBI double, in her first career appearance as a Tiger pinch hitter in the fifth.
  • Mya Dodge registered her first career hit at Mizzou, an RBI triple in the second. 
  • Friday’s win over NC State marked Missouri’s first run-rule win of the 2024 season. 
  • Mizzou opens the season with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2020. The Tigers opened that campaign 9-0 including 5-0 at the 2020 NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic.
  • Missouri improves to 2-1 in the all-time series with NC State.
  • The Tigers have won the last two meetings with a combined score of 26-3 after last facing the Wolfpack in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2015, where Missouri beat NC State 13-3 in six innings.


The Tigers continue their stay at the 2024 NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic Saturday and Sunday. Day 2 of the Classic begins with a matchup against Liberty at 3:03 p.m., CT on Field 9. The game will be broadcasted on MLB Network. Mizzou then wraps Saturday against South Alabama at 6 p.m. on Field 4 at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.


For all the latest on Mizzou Softball, stay tuned to and follow the team @MizzouSoftball (TwitterInstagramFacebook).

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics