After a 2-1 loss on Friday night, Missouri found itself with no more margin for error. \The Tigers would have to defeat James Madison on Saturday to play another day and keep their Women’s College World Series hopes alive.
Fortunately for the eighth seeded Tigers, they’ll be playing on Sunday. Mizzou beat James Madison by a score of 7-1 in front of another record-breaking crowd of 2,679. Mizzou moved to 42-16 and will play the Dukes in a winner-take-all game Sunday.
“Oh, we’re playing on Sunday. I mean we knew never say die and we had to come out and we had to compete,” Coach Larissa Anderson said. “You know backs up against the wall, we’re playing for tomorrow and we got ourselves there.
“We just had a better game plan going in and we stuck to the game plan, we didn’t panic and that’s what really made the difference.”
Dukes pitcher Oddici Alexander (15-1) gave up one run in Friday night’s game, but this time around the Tigers were able to take advantage early. In the top of the 2nd inning Cayla Kessigner launched her 13th home run into right field, energizing a packed house for a 1-0 lead.
“I wasn’t gonna let her beat me again. You know, she’s a great pitcher don’t get me wrong, you know she throws hard,” said Kessinger, “I think that I had a different approach going into the day and I was just trying to get ahead and stick to my game and stick to what I know and put a good piece of the barrel on the ball.”
Mizzou made it 2-0 on an error when Alexander’s throw to first base off a short hit by Abby George was muffed by Hannah Shifflet. This ended Alexander’s day and Alissa Humphrey took over.
The offensive fireworks continued in the inning. Brooke Wilmes’ three-run homer made it a 5-0 game and Hatti Moore singled another run. Kessinger homered once again, this time in the top of the third extending the lead to 7-0.
James Madison scraped across a run in the bottom of the seventh but aside from that wasn’t able to get anything going offensively thanks to Laurin Krings (11-3). Krings was stellar, pitching a complete seven innings, striking out 10 Dukes. It’s her second consecutive start with double-digit strikeouts.
“I just wanted to go out there and help keep the seniors’ season going and I just wanted to help out as much as I can and get them to the World Series,” Krings said. “Obviously I haven’t played in front of a big crowd like that before ever and it was just so amazing and just the energy from my teammates and the crowd it just lightens the load a lot.”
“Today really just showed us how tough we are,” Anderson said. “I mean they are a tough group, this is why we train so hard, this is why we lift for these moments and it just so pays off.”
The Tigers and Dukes will play game three tomorrow at 11:00 A.M CT on ESPN.