Windup, snap, pop. Windup, snap, pop.
These were the sounds of freshman Cierra Harrison retiring batter after batter in Missouri softball’s midweek matchup against Drake on Wednesday.
It also helped that the MU lineup added some noise of its own at the plate.
Missouri scored seven runs on nine hits in the 7-1 victory at Mizzou Softball Stadium.
After the comfort of a home-field advantage, the Tigers (20-11) will be on the road again for a series against Auburn (22-9) starting at 6 p.m. Saturday. Game 2 is at 5 p.m. Sunday, and the series will wrap at 6 p.m. Monday.
Sophomore Kara Daly paced the Tigers at the plate, going 2-for-3 with four RBI in the contest. In the third inning, she notched her seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field.
“Offense is kind of coming along,” Daly said. “There’s still work to be done, of course, but I think we’re kind of slowly getting back into our groove.”
Alex Honnold continued her offensive dominance, going 3-for-4 with two runs. Honnold’s season batting average is now .493.
Harrison struck out eight and allowed only two hits and one run in five innings. After a standout high school career, the young pitcher said the biggest difference between prep and Power Five softball: great hitters.
“She just needs more experience,” Tigers coach Larissa Anderson said of Harrison. “We haven’t really given her the ball a lot and in some pressure situations, and she started to get tired around 75 pitches today. And that’s expected, because she is young ... . But she is such a competitor. She’s one that I’m real excited for her career.”
Offensively, Missouri’s lineup cycled through four Drake pitchers in the game.
Tolton grad Paige Bedsworth was the starting pitcher for the Bulldogs (6-17), but her homecoming came to an abrupt end after Payton Jackson stepped up to the plate. Jackson doubled to right field to score Missouri’s first run of the game in the second inning, and that launched a series of Tigers hits and runs as Drake went through its bullpen.
Missouri scored three in the fifth to cinch its six-run lead. Two singles and an RBI double by Daly scored two, and Chantice Phillips contributed the final run with an RBI single.
The Tigers followed the three-run momentum by loading the bases but failed to extend their lead. Anderson said her team will need to better capitalize on offensive opportunities against Auburn.
“We just have to be more competitive in our bats,” Anderson said. “I’ve seen it in practice. And that’s probably the most frustrating thing as a coach, is when they’re doing it in practice and I’m not seeing the same translate to on the field in games ... . The disconnect is the fear of failure.”
She said she wants them to understand that it’s “OK to give 100% and fail,” but that they need to build the confidence to lay it all on the line.
Junior Laurin Krings relieved Harrison in the circle, allowing two hits and collecting two strikeouts in two innings. A double play started by Maddie Gallagher ended the game in the seventh.
“In the (Southeastern Conference), you might only have one opportunity to capitalize and take advantage of it,” Anderson said. “And we have to be ready for those moments. And that’s where our inexperience shows.”