Missouri softball has racked up some major air mileage so far this season.
After beginning its season with two tournaments in Clearwater, Florida, in as many weeks, Missouri (9-2) travels to Cathedral City, California to compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic this weekend ahead of its home opener Feb. 29.
This past week, the Tigers went 4-2 in the ESPN St. Pete/Clearwater Invite, with a notable 3-2 win over No. 16 Oklahoma State on Feb. 14th.
Missouri remains in the top-20 in all four major national polls. The Tigers are 19th in the ESPN/USA Softball poll and 18th in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll. They rank 15th in Softball America’s Division 1 Top 25 and 20th in the College Sports Madness ranking.
Including its win against Oklahoma State, Missouri was 1-2 against ranked teams on the week. The Tigers lost to No. 20 James Madison 8-7 in extra innings and No. 14 Minnesota 10-1.
During the tournament, the Tigers faced their closest games of the year. Four of Missouri’s six games during the week were one-run games, with the Tigers winning three of them. Prior to last week, Missouri had not played a game decided by one run.
Cayla Kessinger drove in a team-high seven RBI during last week’s tournament, adding to her team-high 14 RBI on the season.
The Tigers pitching staff started off last week’s tournament strong, only allowing six runs in the first three games. However, they struggled toward the end of the tournament, giving up 23 runs in the final three games.
Missouri’s toughest matchup this weekend will be its first matchup against No. 5 Arizona on Thursday. The Wildcats are ranked in the top-5 in multiple polls coming off a 2019 College World Series appearance.
Arizona’s ace, Alyssa Denham, is coming off a no-hitter against Long Beach State and is 3-0 this year. Prior to this season, Denham was 24-9 with a 1.89 ERA in 46 career appearances.
Missouri’s most recent matchup against Arizona came Feb. 22, 2018 with the Wildcats defeating the Tigers 9-4 in Palm Springs, California.
Missouri will also face Oregon State, UC Davis, New Mexico, California and Seattle U in the tournament.
The Tigers will begin action in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic against Arizona at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Cathedral City, California before playing five games over the next three days.