A poor SEC opener took a turn for the worse on Sunday afternoon, as Missouri lost all three games of its first conference series against Kentucky, going no runs in 21 innings.
The offensive challenges only increased the challenges on defense, as Kentucky’s combination of left-handed hitters and powerful right-handers overwhelmed the base paths and put relentless pressure on Missouri’s pitchers. The Wildcats swept Mizzou 5-0 and 6-0 on Sunday after taking the first game of the series 5-0 on Friday night.
sierra harrison Standing in the pitcher’s circle in the first inning, talking to her catcher, Julia CrenshawAs Larissa Anderson Awaited the result of his challenge. The rest of the infield joined in, waiting to see if the umpire’s review would give the Tigers a desperately needed second out of the inning.
Kentucky’s hitters worked their way up to a good count and put hit after hit into the open spaces on the Missouri defense, putting runners on bases and knocking down Harrison early in the game.
Harrison was out of the game after three innings, caught in the middle of inducing ground balls and giving the Wildcats all the strikeouts they needed to keep their system running. He threw 37 of his 54 pitches for strikes, a healthy average relative to his other outings, inducing four ground-ball outs and three fly-ball outs and walking only one batter. His two wild pitches, both coming in the first inning, were the result of missed bunt attempts that flew off Crenshaw’s glove as the runner on first attempted to steal second.
In the first game on Sunday afternoon, Jordan Weber shut out the Wildcats for five straight innings, but was grounded out in the sixth after putting a couple of runners on base and then returning on a leg. She finished with a solid stat line, recording 5.2 innings with a pair of earned runs on six hits and two walks.
However, these outings were not able to work for the Tigers, as their offense stalled throughout and could provide no support for a dodgy pitching performance.
The Tigers’ success at the plate, especially their lack of scoring, Stephanie ShunovA disappointing outing with runners in scoring position.
Schoonover pitched 15.2 innings in three games during the weekend, allowing no runs while throwing 115 pitches on Friday and 151 pitches on Sunday. He completed the shutout with two hits and two walks while striking out 15 in his first game, a complete-game victory on Friday afternoon that set the tone for the rest of the series. He threw 1.2 throws in the first game of the Sunday doubleheader, then went the distance again in the series finale to complete his second complete-game shutout.
Although Schoonover’s dominance shone through in all three of his appearances, he needed to get out of several jams in the second Sunday game.
The Tigers nearly broke through in the bottom of the second, allowing three consecutive two-out walks to load the bases, only for Alex Honnold Getting grounded for the shortstop and leaving his potential first half of the weekend stranded on third.
The Tigers left the bases loaded again in the bottom of the fourth, with Honnold and Crenshaw grounding out and striking out to end the inning, then another in the sixth.
The last bases-loaded opportunity for the Tigers to close the gap came in the bottom of the seventh, when the Wildcat grounded out to fielder Vanessa Nesby A slicing fly ball ran down the bat of Jenna Laird To keep the tigers at bay and end the game.
The Tigers left 15 base runners stranded, going just 1-12 with runners in scoring position while hitting 7-28 overall.
They are now 16-9 overall. This week brings Illinois to Columbia for a Tuesday doubleheader before a road trip to No. 4 Florida over the weekend.