Mizzou softball keeps WCWS hopes alive, forces Super Regional Game 3 against Duke

Mizzou softball kept its season alive thanks to a three-run fourth inning against Duke on Saturday. The Tigers bounced back from a Game 1 Super Regional loss in Columbia with a 3-1 win to keep their Oklahoma City hopes alive.

Back-to-back one-out singles in the fourth set up freshman first baseman Abby Hay for an RBI single in front of her hometown crowd at Mizzou Softball Stadium. Senior infielder Maddie Gallagher also scored on a throwing error.

Hay scored the next at-bat on an RBI groundout from junior catcher Julia Crenshaw for a 3-0 lead.

Senior pitcher Laurin Krings, who allowed five runs in Friday’s start, bounced back with the rest of her squad. Krings went 4 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on just two hits with three strikeouts.

Freshman Marissa McCann entered in relief for Krings, but it was the sophomore from Lee’s Summit Taylor Pannell who locked down the Blue Devils. She tied the NCAA single-season saves record with her 15th of the season. Pannell threw two no-hit innings, striking out two.

Senior Jala Wright started for the Blue Devils again. She allowed all three MU runs in 3 1/3 innings before sophomore Cassidy Curd entered in relief.

Senior Francesca Frelick put the Blue Devils on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a solo shot off Krings, but there was no further damage. Duke loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth with one out, but Pannell struck out a batter, then forced catcher Kelly Torres to pop up to senior shortstop Jenna Laird to end the inning.

The win forces a Super Regional Game 3 on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the Women’s College World Series against powerhouse Oklahoma. The Sooners are searching for their fourth consecutive title.