COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri softball and baseball teams picked up series wins Saturday, as both played in Southeastern Conference series opening Thursday.
In softball, the No. 18 Tigers improved to 28-7 and 6-3 in SEC play with a road sweep of the South Carolina Gamecocks, winning 13-4 in six innings Thursday, 7-3 Friday and 10-6 Saturday. It was Missouri's first road sweep in conference play since 2019, when the unranked Tigers swept No. 13 Kentucky in Lexington.
Through Saturday's action, Missouri is fourth in the SEC standings, behind Arkansas, Florida and Alabama.
On the weekend, freshman shortstop Jenna Laird hit 7-for-12 with five runs, three RBI and two doubles, senior second baseman Kendyll Bailey hit 5-for-9 with an inside-the-park home run — the program's first since 2014 — three runs, three RBI and two doubles. Senior right fielder Abby George hit 6-of-11 with two runs, an RBI and her first career extra-base hit and redshirt junior Casidy Chaumont was 5-for-13 with three runs, six RBI, a triple and two doubles.
The Tigers tied a program record in the series finale, clubbing six doubles in the top of the second inning to match the historical mark for doubles in a game. After South Carolina took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a home run, Cayla Kessinger led off the second with a solo homer, then the next eight Missouri hitters reached safely as the Tigers put up nine runs and sent 13 batters to the plate.
In conference-only play through Friday's games, the top two hitters and four of the top 10 by batting average hit for the Tigers: George at .560 and Bailey at .526 lead the pack, while Laird is fourth at .484 and Chaumont is 10th hitting .438.
Missouri's pitching staff was not in its usual groove, as the Tigers gave up 13 earned runs in 20 innings of work and walked 12 while striking out 16 during the weekend.
Missouri will be open during the midweek before hosting LSU (21-12, 6-6 SEC) starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Saturday's game begins at 2 p.m. and the finale Sunday starts at 1 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.
On the baseball diamond, Missouri responded after a 16-2 loss to Texas A&M on Thursday by taking the next two games in the series 8-2 on Friday and 7-3 on Saturday for the team's first SEC series win of the year.
The Tigers (10-17, 3-6 SEC) have dug themselves a hole at the midpoint of the season but are not alone in their conference struggles, as the Aggies, Alabama, LSU and Auburn are also 3-6 or worse through three series.
Missouri's bullpen was stellar Saturday in the finale after starter Zach Hise gave up three earned runs in four innings, including a pair of solo homers. Jacob Kush got the win with three clean innings of two-hit, two-walk ball, striking out five, and Konnor Ash closed out the final two innings to shut the door on A&M.
Ty Wilmsmeyer hit a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 Missouri lead, then with one out the Tigers had a runner thrown out at home on a double steal, though Wilmsmeyer was safe at second. Then A&M elected to intentionally walk Mark Vierling, and first baseman Torin Montgomery, a Boise State transfer, went opposite field with a 2-2 pitch, sending it over the wall in right-center for a 7-3 lead that would hold.
Missouri is off in the midweek and plays next weekend at No. 14 South Carolina (18-7, 5-3 SEC). Friday night's game starts at 6 p.m., Saturday's game begins at 3 p.m. and Sunday's first pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. on SEC Network.