CLEARWATER, Fla. – The University of Missouri Softball team (4-0) swept its pair of games Saturday at the 2024 NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic to improve to 4-0 on the season. The Tigers run-ruled Liberty (1-3), 10-1, in five innings before coming from behind to beat South Alabama (3-1), 6-3, at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
Mizzou will face Clemson (4-0) Sunday morning for the 2024 NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic Championship. First pitch is set for 9:03 a.m., CT at Field 8 at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
Mizzou 10, Liberty 1 – Five Innings
Liberty would threaten the Tigers in the opening frame, with a runner on second and two outs, however senior outfielder Chantice Phillips would make the Lady Flames pay for an aggressive send, nailing the advancing runner at the plate to escape the inning unscathed.
MU’s offense then hit the ground running as senior center fielder Alex Honnold crushed a two-run shot over the right field fence, giving Mizzou a 2-0 lead. The homer was her first of the season after compiling a career best 14 in 2023.
Senior Laurin Krings then sat down the next three batters she faced on strikeouts, as Missouri’s offense got back to work in the bottom of the second.
Junior right fielder Mya Dodge walked and stole second before Phillips legged out an infield single. A double by senior second baseman Maddie Gallagher and a sacrifice fly by freshman Madison Walker would put the Tigers ahead 4-0.
Another quick inning from Krings would put MU back at the plate, where they would add six to their total in the bottom of the third.
Dodge’s first home run as a Tiger would plate a pair before Honnold knocked a two-run double to push the margin to 9-0. Junior third baseman Kara Daly then increased the Mizzou advantage to 10-0 on a sacrifice fly to left.
The Lady Flames would get one back in the top of the fourth with a solo shot from Rachel Roupe before Krings struck out five of the next seven batters to secure her second complete-game victory of the season.
- Laurin Krings finished the game with 10 strikeouts, and faced just 18 batters in the contest, improving to 2-0 in 2024.
- Alex Honnold went 2-for-2 in the contest with a home run, double, walk, and four RBIs.
- The home run marked Alex Honnold’s first of the season after she compiled a career best 14 in 2023.
- Mya Dodge clubbed her first home run in a Mizzou uniform after transferring from Northern Iowa. She finished the day 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs.
- Madison Walker, Kara Daly, Maddie Gallagher, and Katie Chester also logged RBIs of their own, with Gallagher and Chester doing so with a double.
- The run-rule win marked the second for Mizzou in 2024 and second in as many games.
- Missouri improved to 3-0 against Liberty while Larissa Anderson is now 3-1 all-time against the Lady Flames.
Mizzou 6, South Alabama 3
Missouri would have to come from behind to secure victory Saturday over South Alabama.
Trailing 3-0, the Tigers would even the game in the sixth before finally taking the lead in the top of the seventh.
Making her first career start for Mizzou, freshman Marissa McCann struck out two to open the contest.
South Alabama drew first blood in the game, as Olivia Branstetter hit a solo shot in the bottom of the second.
The Jaguars would tack on two more in the bottom of the third, using a trio of singles to widen their lead to 3-0.
The Tigers then began to chip away in the top of the fourth, as junior third baseman Kara Daly launched a two-run shot to pull Mizzou within one. The homer was Daly’s first of the season and first of two Saturday evening after posting 10 in 2023.
Cierra Harrison came on in relief of McCann, holding South Alabama scoreless as the Tigers began to mount their comeback. She improved to 2-0 in 2024 with four innings of one-hit softball to go with a strikeout.
After a scoreless fifth, Mizzou tied the game, 3-3, as a walk from Madison Walker and a single from Julia Crenshaw would set the table for Alex Honnold to score on a wild pitch.
Another clean inning from Harrison kept the game tied at 3-3 heading in the top of the seventh.
Jenna Laird drew a one-out walk before advancing to third on a Honnold single. Walker then smacked a sacrifice fly to pull the Tigers ahead.
Daly then continued her solid performance at the dish, adding another two-run blast, her second of the game, to give the Tigers a pair of insurance runs as they headed into the bottom of the seventh.
Two quick groundouts and a popout would be enough to secure the win for Mizzou, 6-3.
- Kara Daly belted her first home run of the season to trim the South Alabama lead to 3-2 in the fourth. She finished the game 2-for-4 with 4 RBI, two home runs and two runs.
- For Kara Daly, it marked her third career two-home run game.
- Cierra Harrison picked up her second win in as many days, after defeating NC State Friday evening. She sat down 12 of the 14 batters she faced in relief over four innings of one-hit softball to go with a strikeout.
- Alex Honnold (2-for-3, 2 runs), Kara Daly, and Julia Crenshaw all logged multiple hits in the game. Crenshaw’s was her first multi-hit game of the season.
- Marissa McCann made her first career start in the circle after making her debut Friday evening. She set a career high for strikeouts in the win, with five over three innings of work, allowing three runs on four hits.
- Mizzou improved to 4-0 all-time against South Alabama, with all four wins coming with head coach Larissa Anderson at the helm of the program.
The Tigers finish up their stay at the 2024 NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic Sunday with a matchup against No. 5/7 Clemson for the Tournament Championship. First pitch is 9:03 a.m., CT on Field 8. The game can be streamed on the GameChanger app.
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