The Walk-Off: Missouri caps weekend with upset of No. 5 Clemson

Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

The Walk-Off is Softball America’s daily recap of the biggest games of each day. We’ll focus on the biggest moments with real-time analysis throughout the day as games start and finish. Every game mentioned in the Walk-Off will be watched with our own eyes through the various streams and television platforms.

Missouri improves to 5-0 behind Laurin Krings’ gem against No. 5 Clemson

Last year, Missouri didn’t have the best first month of the season and never seemed to find its footing. Everyone could say that it was a disappointing year after hosting back-to-back regionals. However, it appears the Tigers have quickly put that behind them.

Missouri clinched the NFCA Leadoff Classic Championship with a 4-1 win over No. 5 Clemson to end a perfect weekend. Laurin Krings delivered another great outing. The righty was able to scatter six hits, leaving 10 Clemson runners on base.

Krings powered up in situations with runners in scoring position. A few of those matchups came against talented freshman Julia Knowler. At least on Sunday, it was apparent who was the senior and who was the freshman. After allowing the first two batters to reach in the first and getting Valerie Cagle to roll one over, Knowler had the opportunity to do damage early. Instead, Krings dominated the at-bat, leaving Knowler whiffing. Krings proceeded to get Alia Logoleo to pop up.

A similar chance was presented to Knowler and Logoleo in the third with runners on the corners. Neither had an answer for Krings combination of her curveball, riseball and changeup as she set them both down on strikes. Krings denied Clemson’s biggest bats again and again. McKenzie Clark bounced into a double play. Cagle went down looking in the seventh to nullify any rally.

On the offensive side, Jenna Laird and Alex Honnold continued to be stars at the top of the lineup. Laird led off by tripling against Clemson starter Brooke McCubbin and Honnold singled her in. The rest of the Missouri lineup kept it going to give Krings a comfortable three-run lead after Julia Crenshaw and Katie Chester drove in runs. Honnold drove in Laird later in the game as well.

Overall it was an incredible weekend for the Tigers, who will find their way into the Top 25 poll come Monday morning. Here’s a quick recap of everything Missouri accomplished:

  • Beat No. 13 Utah as Krings went toe-to-toe with Mariah Lopez. Laird and Honnold provided back-to-back RBI doubles in the seventh to provide the lead.
  • Sophomore Cierra Harrison tossed a five-inning one-hitter in a run-rule against NC State.
  • The Tigers run-ruled Liberty behind home runs from Honnold and Mya Dodge.
  • Kara Daly hit a pair of home runs to help lead a comeback against Olivia Lackie and South Alabama. Harrison tossed four shutout innings in relief.

Softball around America

  • Texas Tech fell just short of upsetting Florida State on Saturday. The Red Raiders found a quality win over Charlotte. The 49ers finally broke through in the sixth inning to tie the game at one, but Texas Tech answered right back. Reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Year Kailey Wyckoff doubled off Charlotte ace Sam Gress to provide the 2-1 lead that Maddy Wright sealed in the seventh.
  • Michigan found itself in yet another pitching duel, this time against Oregon State. The Wolverines had no luck against Beaver starter Sarah Haendiges for six innings. That quickly changed in Michigan’s last chance. Maddie Erickson hit a game-tying solo home run. Then Lilly Vallimont found her first collegiate hit with a walk-off double to drive in Jenissa Conway for the 2-1 win.

  • Rain, Rajin’ and Randi Roelling. Roelling was rolling against No. 23 Louisiana after coming in during the third inning to protect a one-run lead. She continued to do so using her spin from the left side to get the best of Rajin’ Cajun lineup. Until the rain started to come down in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was clear Roelling couldn’t grip the ball and two straight wild pitches allowed the game-tying run to score. Chaos ensued. Cal assistant coach Kailee Cuico jumped off the bench to let her thoughts be known and was ejected along with starting catcher Lagi Quiroga. Eventually, things got under control, Roelling pushed the game to extras. Cal manufactured a pair of runs and left Lafayette with an upset win.

  • Super Bowl Sunday or SEC Slammin’ Sunday? If you used the quad box on EPSN+ there’s a chance you saw a trio of SEC teams smash grand slams:
    • Kianna Jones put the Gamecocks on the board with a blast against Virginia in South Carolina’s 7-1 win.
    • Sydney Chambley hit her third homer in the last two days, providing the offense in Georgia’s 5-1 win over Purdue with her slam.
    • Texas A&M fell behind early to Tulsa, but that changed when Allie Enright hit her third home run of the weekend put the Aggies on top for the rest of the game in their 8-5 win.

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