The SEC softball tournament started Tuesday in Tuscaloosa, AL, but Mizzou had to wait until Thursday to open play. Fourth-seeded Missouri faced the fifth seeded LSU Tigers in the second round of tournament play. The last time these two teams played, LSU took two of three from Mizzou in Columbia but, this time the Tigers evened the season series while advancing to the tournament semifinals with a 4-1 victory. It was Missouri’s first SEC Tournament win since 2015.
“This is the best we’ve felt going into a postseason,” said redshirt senior outfielder Cayla Kessinger. “So many of us have never had this feeling and like this confidence that we could beat anybody that steps in front us and I think that this is the right time to have that feeling and it’s really good for us to have that confidence going into these games.”
Mizzou got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning on a throwing error by Ali Kilponen after a Cassidy Chaumont single. The play scored Hatti Moore from second for a 1-0 lead.
Kessinger extended Mizzou’s lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when she homered into right center field and later that inning Brooke Wilmes’ RBI single made it a three-run game.
“It was just like a great feeling we really came out today and had our best from the very beginning and we really came out with a lot of energy and focus within this game today,” said Wilmes who went 3-4 with 2 RBI’s.
LSU finally got on the board with an RBI triple by Ali Newland to make it a 3-1 game in the top of fifth inning, but Wilmes would extend the lead back to three runs with a single down the left field line bringing in Kendyll Bailey, making it 4-1.
Jordan Weber (10-5) pitched a complete seven-inning game for Mizzou. She struggled early in the second inning but proceeded to shut down LSU, allowing only two hits on 121 pitches while striking out four batters.
“It’s really exciting especially against LSU,” Weber said. “I felt like I had something to prove considering what happened last time I played them I didn’t do to well so it’s really exciting to get that win.”
Mizzou (38-14) will face the top-seeded Florida Gators tomorrow at 3:00 p.m on ESPN2. The Tigers lost two of three against Florida but the whole series was competitive.
“We can’t wait. We truly can’t wait,” said Kessinger, “I think that having those losses against them taught us a lot and you know we were able to self reflect and I think that our mindset going into that game has changed.”
Coach Larrissa Anderson has also noticed a big increase in confidence in her team.
“They have very high expectations which is so awesome that they’re talking about it because when we first got here and you know last year and two years ago it wasn’t in their conversations,” Anderson said. “They didn’t talk about winning in the SEC tournament. It wasn’t a reality and now it’s a reality for these girls.”
That reality is two wins away.