By: Lauren Rosenberg
On Oct. 6, Missouri Tiger softball fans caught their first glimpse of a revamped softball squad under first-year head coach Larissa Anderson as the squared off in a double-header against the Crowder College Roughriders and the Central Methodist University Eagles.
The Tigers tied Game one of the double-header against the Roughriders by a score of 1-1 and defeated the Eagles in Game 2 with a score of 4-0.
Anderson, who accepted the head coaching job in May, was an accomplished assistant coach at Hofstra, leading the team to an overall 125-69-1 record, four winning seasons, two Colonial Athletic Association titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances in 17 seasons with the team.
After the tigers lost Right-handed pitcher Lauren Rice, who transferred to Ohio State, they were in desperate need to load their depth at a position that has been lacking since star pitchers Paige Lowary and Tori Finucane transferred to Oklahoma and Minnesota respectively after the 2015-2016 season. Mizzou was able to recruit four pitchers from the transfer market, and now has eight pitchers listed on the market. Here’s a look into them, and their respective perfromances:
Note: RHPs Danielle Baumgartner (Sr.) and Summer Shockley (So.) did not appear in either of the exhibition games.
Game 1 Pitchers
Madi Norman (RS-Sr., RHP-Tipton, Mo.)
Background: Madi Norman returns for her Redshirt-Senior season at Mizzou for the 2018-2019 season. After Norman transferred from Louisville, she was moved around between the 1-2 starting pitcher on the depth chart. In the 2017-2018 season, she recorded a 3.63 ERA with a record of 9-8.
Game Overview: Norman got the starting nod against Crowder college where she saw herself in a bases loaded situation in the 1st inning after allowing a hit and two walks. She was able to come out successful after striking out two and causing a ground out.
Norman redeemed herself in the 2nd and 3rd innings by pitching 1-2-3 innings in both and in the 4th inning where she only allowed one hit and one stolen base.
Grade: B. Norman proved that she is a top of the rotation starting pitcher for Missouri by redeeming herself in the 2nd and 3rd innings. I also give her credit for keeping calm and composed to get out of the crunch in the 1st inning but the dividing line between a B and a B+ was the overall starting performance in that inning. Otherwise, Norman had a great showing and will continue to be an exciting leader for the Tigers.
Nalani Scates (Jr., RHP-Pleasanton, Ca.)
Background: Scates transferred from Ohlone Community College (Fremont, Ca.)to Mizzou for the 2017-2018 season. At Ohlone, she boasted a superb 27-4 record with 1.21 ERA and 342Ks/265 IP. Last season for the Tigers, Scates recorded a 2-0 record with a 2.83 ERA in limited action.
Game Overview: Scates entered in the 5th inning in relief for Madi Norman. She threw two strikeouts and a ground out in the 5th inning and three flyouts in the 6th inning. Each of those innings were 1-2-3 innings.
Grade: A+. Scates did all that was asked of her by throwing two innings in relief capped by two shutout innings and not allowing a hit in either inning. Expect her to have her time in the circle expanded and to appear in many more games than last season.
Baleigh Koester (So., RHP-Carterville, IL)
Background: Koester joins this Tigers as a transfer from Missouri Baptist University (St. Louis) of the NAIA in which she led the Spartans pitchers with a 20-13 record with a 1.83 ERA.
Game Overview: Koester entered the game in the 7th inning and 8th innings as a closer. In the 7th, she pitched fairly well, allowing one walk and no hits. In the 8th, She walked the first batter, allowed two fielder’s choice hits, a hit into right field, and allowed Crowder to tie the game with a RBI-single to right. She stopped another run from coming in as the inning ended with a flyout.
Grade: C. Koster started off well, but got a bit too liberal in the 8th. She has a lot to improve and build on entering her first season in not only the SEC, but Division-1 softball. Expect her to get a good amount of opportunities in the circle and to vastly improve.
Game 2 Pitchers
Eli Daniel (Jr., RHP-Locust Grove, Ga.)
Background: Eli Daniel was a huge factor in last year’s Tiger pitching core. She served as the third pitcher in the rotation. Prior to Mizzou, she transferred from Brenau University (Gainesville, Ga.) of the NAIA where she boasted a phenomenal 43-4 record capped with an outstanding 0.56 ERA. Last season, she recorded a 5-2 record with a 4.87 ERA.
Game Overview: Daniel pitched the first 4 innings where she allowed only 1 hit in the 1st inning and 1 walk in the 2nd inning. She recorded a total of ten strikeouts and two flyouts, throwing two 1-2-3 innings and 4 shutout innings.
Grade: A+. She stepped into the circle and immediately started firing on all cylinders. She was a strike out machine and was striking out batters left and right. Expect Daniel to continue being in the top 3 in the depth chart and to improve a lot from last season.
Cassie Gasper (So., RHP-Merced, Ca.)
Background: Gasper transferred from Merced College (Merced, Ca.) of the California Community College Athletic Association where she recorded a 15-10 record with a 1.65 ERA.
Game Overview: Gasper came on to relieve and close for Eli Daniel. She never allowed a hit in her 4 innings pitched, but did allow a walk in the 6th inning. In the 5th, 7th, and 8th innings, she pitched 1-2-3 innings and recorded five strike outs.
Grade: A. Gasper had a strong outing for her first look in black and gold. Not much is known about her yet but she seems to be a valuable piece from the transfer market. Expect her to make a splash and give the tigers a huge pitching cushion.
Overall Grade: B+. This pitching group is exciting, and gives the Tigers some answers and depth at the pitching position that was their kryptonite these past two seasons. It is early and season doesn’t start for a few months but these showing bring optimism to a Tigers squad looking to improve in the SEC.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org