Missouri softball’s hot streak had to end sometime. It might as well have been against the nation’s No. 1 team.
The No. 21 Tigers lost 5-2 to No. 1 Oklahoma in the latter of two Saturday games at the Courtyard Marriott Tournament in Norman, Oklahoma, ending a 10-game winning streak that was extended by a 10-0, five-inning win over Sam Houston State earlier in the day.
Missouri briefly held a lead against the Sooners, but the sheer quality of OU was able to push it past the Tigers. Freshman starter Laurin Krings pitched admirably against the nation’s top team , giving up four runs in four innings to an Oklahoma squad that averages nearly 14 a game.
The day belonged to Sooners starter Giselle Juarez, however. She pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on three hits and getting the Tigers to strike out 11 times in the process.
For the most part, the Tigers held strong against OU’s vaunted offense. Krings and Nichols handled the majority of the lineup well, but there were three Sooners batters for which the Missouri duo had no answers: Tiare Jennings, Kinzie Hansen and Jocelyn Alo accounted for seven of Oklahoma’s 10 hits and all five of its RBI.
Alo extended a hitting streak that began last season to 28 games on a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Jennings was 4 for 4, hitting a solo homer in that fifth inning and a RBI single in the sixth. Hansen also added a homer and a RBI single, accounting for OU’s first two runs.
The other eight batters Krings and Nichols faced combined for three hits and were struck out four times. Meanwhile, the Missouri bats that normally represent a focal point of its attack were kept cool by Juarez.
Brooke Wilmes, who had extended her hit streak to 14 games in the morning against Sam Houston, was 0-3. Home run leader Kimberly Wert had the same stat line as MU as a whole collected a total of three hits.
Two were solo homers, making the final score appear fairly close, but Juarez was overall dominant. She faced just three batters over the minimum in her complete game, never really giving the Tigers a chance.
Missouri 10, Sam Houston State 0 (5 innings)
The good news for Missouri was that the Oklahoma contest was not its only one of the day.
The Tigers cruised to victory over Sam Houston State in the morning, winning the game by runs-ahead rule in five innings.
Missouri pitcher Sophie Dandola, the only senior pitcher on the team, started for the first time this season against the Bearkats. After pitching five scoreless innings of relief over the first few weeks, she doubled her inning count Saturday, pitching a three-hit shutout in the shortened game.
Cayla Kessinger, who had one of the three hits against OU, also collected a hit and scored twice against SHS as she continues to heat up. She is 7-13 in the past five games, finally starting to show some of the promise that earned her so many preseason accolades. Wert was also 3-3, adding her seventh homer of the season in the process.
Missouri will need offensive power again when it rematches Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon.