Mizzou bows out of NCAA softball tourney with losses to OU, Cal at Norman Regional
The Missouri Tigers ran into a crimson buzzsaw at the Norman Regional of the NCAA softball tournament.
The two-time defending champion and regional-host Oklahoma Sooners lived up to their billing as juggernauts, shutting out Mizzou 11-0 on Saturday afternoon. Later Saturday, MU lost an elimination game against California to bow out of the tourney.
In Mizzou’s opening game Friday, the Tigers had beaten Cal 5-1.
End of the party for Mizzou
The Tigers finished the season 35-25 with a 7-17 SEC record.
This was Larissa Anderson’s fifth season as head coach, and MU has made the postseason in all of them, save the 2020 campaign that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cal and No. 1 Oklahoma will meet Sunday for a chance to advance to the super regionals.
Missouri vs. Cal
In Friday’s game against Cal, which beat Hofstra in the day’s earlier elimination game, the Tigers got off to an electric start: Alex Honnold homered in the first inning.
On Saturday, Missouri wasn’t able to repeat the early attack.
It wasn’t that the Tigers weren’t getting the bat on the ball. Missouri was hitting but Cal’s defense was strong.
On the other side, the Bears chased pitcher Jordan Weber after three innings on the way to taking a 5-0 early lead. The Cal dugout was animated and the Bears seemed to have all the momentum.
Then, the bottom half of MU’s lineup came to bat in the bottom of the fourth. Maddie Gallagher belted a home run. Then Megan Moll did the same.
After a Cal pitching change, Payton Jackson sent one into the bleachers, bringing the Tigers within two runs. But it wasn’t enough. Cal added a run in the fifth, then another in the top of the seventh.
Missouri had one last chance in the bottom of. the seventh, but couldn’t make up the ground. MU loaded the bases and scored two runs on a Kara Daly single, but Julia Crenshaw grounded out to short.
The Tigers fell 7-5, with Weber taking the loss for MU and Anna Reimers earning the win for the Bears.
Missouri vs. Oklahoma
Missouri was clearly overmatched against Oklahoma. The Sooners rode in on a 44-game winning streak and prevailed 11-0 in six innings thanks to the run-rule.
Anderson went with Laurin Kring in the circle for the second day in a row, looking to take advantage of a light outing by her best pitcher on Friday. It didn’t matter.
Oklahoma put on an offensive show that included two home runs. On the other side, the Tigers’ offense went completely stagnant.
Even the top of the Missouri lineup, which has carried MU throughout the season, fizzled. The Tigers managed just one hit in the game.
Oklahoma pitcher Jordy Bahl earned the win, iproving to 16-1. Krings dropped to 13-12 with the loss.
The Sooners will be back in action Sunday against Cal in the final game of the Norman Regional. That game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and will be aired on one of ESPN’s networks or streaming services.
The Star has partnered with the Columbia Daily Tribune for coverage of Missouri Tigers athletics.