By Harrison Vapnek
COLUMBIA—In their first ever NCAA Regional game at Missouri Softball Stadium, Jordan Weber and the Missouri Tigers took down the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames 8-0 by run rule in six innings. Weber tossed 99 pitches across the six innings, throwing seven strikeouts, her most since March 26th, and allowing just one hit. Weber carried her no-hit bid into the top of the sixth when Flames pinch-hitter Isabella Garcia had a bloop single into center field to put the Flames in the hit column.
“They [the fans] put a lot into it,” Weber said postgame. “They came out and gave us a ton of confidence seeing everyone at full capacity was really exciting, but I also have to give it out to my defense because they make amazing plays for me and I couldn’t do it without them.”
The Tigers offense got going from their very first batter, as Brooke Wilmes hit a lead-off home run into deep right field to put the Tigers up 1-0. Cayla Kessinger added another run in the first, bringing home Casidy Chaumont to take the 2-0 advantage.
Missouri blew it open in the third inning on a Kimberly Wert RBI single to drive home Jenna Laird and one batter later it was Kessinger again delivering with a single turned home-run after multiple Flames errors, as her and Wert scored to push the lead to 5-0.
Senior Hatti Moore finished the game in the sixth with a single to right to bring home Laird and Wilmes to close the game by run rule, as the Tigers held an eight-run advantage after the fifth inning ended. Friday was also the first time in 2021 that Missouri Softball Stadium was held at full capacity and Coach Larissa Anderson felt the crowd was a big help.
“The crowd was amazing, Anderson said”. “They had so much energy, so much life, and it was great to play in front of a crowd of that size. I’m real excited for tomorrow so I really appreciate they all came in and especially with the weather delay that we had but it was fabulous to play in front of a crowd like that and our team really responded to that.”
Missouri will face off against Northern Iowa, who defeated Iowa State 8-0 earlier tonight, at 1:00 pm CT on Saturday. The winner will advance to Sunday’s game, as the loser will face the winner of Iowa State and UCI’s game Saturday at 3:30 pm CT with a trip to the Sunday game on the line.