Mizzou softball drops Game 1 of NCAA Super Regional to Duke. Here’s what comes next

Just as it was in last weekend’s NCAA softball regionals, Missouri again has its back against the wall after a 6-3 loss to Duke in Game 1 of the Columbia Super Regional on Friday.

The Blue Devils broke a 3-3 deadlock and jumped ahead in the top of the fifth with an RBI double from sophomore infielder Aminah Vega and RBI single from graduate infielder Gisele Tapia. The Tigers never recovered from those runs, while the Blue Devils added an insurance run in the sixth.

Senior Jala Wright took the circle for the Blue Devils and allowed all three Mizzou runs on three hits across 1 2/3 innings, but sophomore Cassidy Curd’s relief efforts shut down the Tigers’ offense. Curd didn’t allow a hit while striking out eight Tigers with one walk in 5 1/3 innings.

Missouri senior Laurin Krings, the hero from last weekend’s regional, got the start for the Tigers but couldn’t fully replicate her prior performance. Krings lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing five runs from seven hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

The Tigers struck first in the bottom of the first at Mizzou Softball Stadium. Senior outfielder Alex Honnold hit a single and advanced on a throwing error. Senior infielder Maddie Gallagher drove her in for a 1-0 lead.

The Blue Devils answered with three runs in the top of the second, but the Tigers evened the score. Senior shortstop Jenna Laird hit an RBI double and eventually came around to score after a groundout from Gallagher.

From there, the scoring came to a standstill until the Blue Devils took over in the fifth.

Mizzou now turns to Game 2 to keep its Oklahoma City hopes alive. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. in Columbia on Saturday.

If the Tigers win, they force a Game 3 that will be played on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the Women’s College World Series.