Wilmes, Missouri walk-off series opener against LSU

Pitcher Emma Nichols winds up during the fourth inning of the game against LSU on Friday at the Mizzou Softball Stadium in Columbia. This home game starts the longest homestead of the season, with the next eight games being played at the Mizzou Softball Stadium.

Ben Miglore

Brooke Wilmes’ fly ball in the bottom of the fifth looked like it was going to be caught at first.

LSU right fielder Taryn Antoine had just come into the game for Wilmes’ at-bat and seemed to have the ball read for an easy out. That was until she realized it was traveling further than she had anticipated, and by then it was too late. The ball dropped just over her head, allowing the winning runs to score.

For the second straight SEC series, Missouri softball began with a run-rule win on Wilmes’ walk-off RBI double. The opener of Missouri’s three-game series against LSU wrapped up in five innings with Missouri taking it 9-1.

Just like in the first game of MU’s series against South Carolina, Missouri fell behind early. The opener against the Gamecocks saw the Tigers in a 4-0 hole before exploding for a six-inning win. The start against LSU was not as disastrous, only falling behind 1-0 on a first inning homer from Taylor Pleasants.

The homer and two walks that followed, though, were enough to get starter Jordan Weber pulled after the first inning in favor of Emma Nichols.

“In the second batter, I turned to Sara Marino and I was like, ‘Jordan doesn’t look good,’” Missouri coach Larissa Anderson said. “I went immediately and said we need to get Emma throwing.”

Nichols specializes against lefty hitters, making the LSU lineup that has six lefties in its order an ideal opponent. After giving up a two-out double in the second, Nichols held LSU hitless the rest of the game. She finished with four shutout innings.

Missouri’s offense, on the other hand, had no difficulties generating runs. It got at least a hit off of each of the three LSU pitchers they faced.

The scoring started in the bottom of the second, when Cayla Kessinger put a two-run homer just over the wall in center after Casidy Chaumont had been hit by a pitch to get on base.

Kessinger got her first multi-hit game in SEC play, going 2 for 2 on the day and drawing a walk. She now has a four-game hitting streak, looking much more confident at the plate during it.

“Just focusing on doing my thing,” Kessinger said on what brought about the improved performance at the plate. “Focusing on the things I need to focus on instead of trying to do too much.”

Kessinger also said Anderson’s decision to move her further down the lineup has helped with removing some of the pressure she was feeling. Along with Kessinger, Wilmes, Jenna Laird and Hatti Moore all had two hits apiece.

Chaumont also added a homer of her own in the fifth, while Riley Frizell got a two-out RBI single in the third to drive LSU starter Shelbi Sunseri from the game.