LSU rightfielder Taryn Antoine had just come into the game Friday night. Her team had made a host of defensive changes after Missouri loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning in attempt to prevent any more runs.
Missouri outfielder Brooke Wilmes made sure her stay in the field was short, putting a fly ball just over Antoine’s head and driving in the winning runs to cap off a dominant day for the Tigers. For the second straight SEC series, Missouri softball had a run-rule win in the opener, kicking off its three-game series against LSU 9-1.
MU was hoping to keep up that momentum in Game 2 on Saturday, but the weather had other plans. Rain in the area for much of the day forced Saturday’s game to be moved to 9:30 a.m. Sunday on SEC Network+. That set up a doubleheader to decide the series with Game 3 at 1 p.m on ESPNU.
A week after falling behind 4-0 in its series opener against South Carolina, Missouri trailed again early, but the deficit wasn’t as disastrous. LSU jumped ahead 1-0 on a first-inning homer from Taylor Pleasants.
The homer and two walks that followed, though, were enough to get starter Jordan Weber pulled after the first inning in favor of Emma Nichols.
“In the second batter, I turned to Sara Marino and I was like, ‘Jordan doesn’t look good,’” Missouri coach Larissa Anderson said. “I went immediately and said we need to get Emma throwing.”
Nichols specializes against lefty hitters, making the LSU lineup that has six lefties in its order an ideal opponent. After giving up a two-out double in the second, Nichols held LSU hitless the rest of the game. She finished with four shutout innings.
Missouri’s offense, on the other hand, had no difficulties generating runs. It got at least one hit off each of the three LSU pitchers it faced.
The scoring started in the bottom of the second, when Cayla Kessinger put a two-run homer just over the wall in center after Casidy Chaumont had been hit by a pitch to get on base.
Kessinger got her first multi-hit game in SEC play, going 2 for 2 on the day and drawing a walk. She now has a four-game hitting streak, looking much more confident at the plate during it.
“Just focusing on doing my thing,” Kessinger said. “Focusing on the things I need to focus on instead of trying to do too much.”
Kessinger also said Anderson’s decision to move her further down the lineup has helped with removing some of the pressure she was feeling. Along with Kessinger, Wilmes, Jenna Laird and Hatti Moore all had two hits apiece.
Chaumont added a homer of her own in the fifth, while Riley Frizell got a two-out RBI single in the third to drive LSU starter Shelbi Sunseri from the game.