Seth Pollock, 23 Sports

The Missouri softball team continued their up and down season over the weekend in Athens, Georgia, winning one of three contests and hanging in just long enough for it to hurt in the other two. After blowing a sixth inning lead on Friday, the Tigers were led by Lauren Rice’s complete game in Saturday’s 5-1 victory to even up the series. In the rubber match, Mizzou stayed even with UGA for five and a half innings before a five run Bulldog offensive explosion in the sixth paved the way for Georgia’s 7-2 victory.

Georgia got on the board first in game one, with two quick hits allowing for Alyssa DiCarlo’s groundout to plate a run in the first. Mizzou took the lead in the second with singles from Rylee Pierce and Brooke Wilmes to get things going before Callie Martin’s double to left center brought them home. The Dawgs got the lead back in similar fashion with Alysen Febrey hitting her own double to left and giving Georgia a 3-2 lead. Two straight triples in the fourth got Georgia another run, and even after a play at the plate cost the Bulldogs a chance at a 5-2 lead, they picked up that fifth run two at bats later on a Cortni Emanuel RBI single.

Going in to the sixth, it looked like Mizzou had little shot at the victory. But two two-run homers, one by Pierce and one by Martin, gave the Tigers a 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the inning. All the sudden Missouri was up on the No. 5 team in the country. Two singles followed by a Justice Milz homer, however, gave Georgia an 8-6 lead they didn’t relinquish. Mizzou went down one, two, three in the seventh to end the game.

In game two, it was Rice who shined for the Tigers. She pitched all seven innings, giving up only one run on seven hits. Mizzou’s offense was able to give her the support needed to seal the victory.

Missouri got on the board first with a Regan Nash single in the third. That was the game’s only offense until Georgia evened it up on a Jordan Doggett RBI groundout in the fourth. For the second straight game, it looked the contest would come down to the wire. But a Brooke Wilmes sacrifice fly gave Mizzou a 2-1 lead, and a Callie Martin single down the left field line made it 3-1 one batter later. A Cayla Kessinger two run shot the next inning gave Missouri a 5-1 lead. They then retired the Bulldogs in order to finish the upset.

For a while, game three looked like another possible upset. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead on Regan Nash’s RBI single in the top of the second. But Georgia responded in the bottom of the third with an active inning. Alysen Febrey hit a single with the bases loaded to plate two Bulldogs, giving UGA their first lead since game one of the series. Mizzou tied it up in the fourth with Trenity Edwards’ RBI single, but from then on it was all Bulldogs. Georgia had five hits on their way to five runs in the bottom of the sixth to break the game wide open at 7-2. Lauren Rice, who pitched the previous day’s masterpiece, was unable to replicate her performance and gave up all five runs in relief. Missouri went fairly quickly in the seventh, ending the series with the 7-2 loss.

The Tigers fell to 21-21 on the season and 4-11 in SEC play, while the Bulldogs went to 35-5 overall and 11-4 in conference. Up next for Mizzou is a home tilt against Omaha on Wednesday April 11.