By Shane Gravlin
The Missouri Tigers softball team came into Friday night riding high, having won two of three games in Fayetteville against an elite, top ten squad in the Arkansas Razorbacks. Missouri rode that wave all the way into the sixth inning at home against the Florida Gators, but the wave crashed in a major way.
Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Weber was absolutely dominant, throwing 5 and 2/3 shutout innings and only allowing two base runners until that point. She threw a career high 110 pitches, as she continues to go later and later into games. When Coach Anderson opted to remove Weber, however, after two walks and the bases had become loaded, Florida struck quickly and aggressively. There was a two-run base hit from Emily Wilkie, followed by a crushing three run bomb from Jaimie Hoover which put them on top 5-2, which is what the final score ended as.
Missouri’s two runs came off of a Cayla Kessinger home run in the bottom of the second, but after that the offense was effectively shut down by Gators starting pitcher Elizabeth Hightower.
There was a diving catch by outfielder Casidy Chaumont, but other than that and the two run homer, the most notable aspect of the game was Weber’s stellar outing. If only she attacked batters a little more directly, instead of falling into full counts, then her pitch count might’ve been lower and she might’ve been able to go the distance.
All in all, it was a competitive game, and Missouri held a narrow lead for most of it, and did so against the third best team in the country. Florida has been a national champion level team for most of the season, so to see Missouri battle pretty closely with it is encouraging.
After the Florida series, Missouri will travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers, but first the Tigers have the three-game set with Florida.
The Gators improved to 36-7 overall and 15-4 in conference play. The Tigers fell to 34-12 overall and 12-7 within the SEC.
Edited by Emma Moloney