COLUMBIA — On a Nicole Hudson line drive in Sunday's Missouri softball game against Arkansas, Kayla Kinglsey quickly turned back to third base so she wouldn't be doubled-off. She didn't make it back to the base, instantly falling to the ground with an injured right knee.
Tigers coach Ehren Earleywine in a statement released Monday evening said Kinglsey will be out for the rest of the season with a "significant knee injury."
"Our coaches and training staff are ready to support her through to a speedy recovery,” Earleywine said in the statement.
The outfielder was batting .327 with three RBIs in 27 games this season. She recently became a regular in the bottom of the lineup, starting seven of the past eight Missouri games. As a slap hitter, Kinglsey was one of Missouri's fastest players and is tied for the most stolen bases on the team this season with nine.
Going forward, Earleywine will possibly start both Carlie Rose and Sarah Moore in the outfield. He had been splitting playing time between the two in right field for the past 10 games, but now he has the option of starting them both. Mackenzie Sykes will most likely remain in left field, or, as the most experienced outfielder, possibly move to center where Kingsley had been playing for seven of the past eight games.
Outfield will be another position Earleywine will have to figure out quickly, along with starting pitching, before Southeastern Conference series against No. 13 LSU, No. 18 Kentucky and No. 5 Tennessee.
No. 8/9 Missouri (24-6, 9-5 SEC) is away this week with a doubleheader against Iowa (24-16) on Wednesday and then a weekend series against LSU (35-9, 11-4 SEC).