Laurin Krings gets the nod and stars as Mizzou opens Regional with win over Missouri State
Larissa Anderson knew the battle with Missouri State was the perfect spot for sophomore pitcher Laurin Krings.
The first game of the NCAA Regional in Columbia would have normally been a spot for Jordan Weber, who led the Tiger rotation in the SEC Tournament, throwing shutouts against Auburn and Tennessee.
Instead, the Missouri head coach went with Krings, who suffered a loss to Arkansas in the SEC championship game after throwing a shutout of her own against Alabama.
“She has such a dynamic change-up and she has a big speed differential between her hard stuff and her change-up, I knew it was a good matchup with Missouri State based on their swings,” Anderson said after the game.
The bet on Krings paid off for Anderson and the Tigers, who beat Missouri State 3-1 on Friday. She finished the complete seven-inning performance with 12 strikeouts.
Krings allowed six hits in the effort, only one of them for extra bases. She also showed the ability to work out of tight jams in key situations.
With the game still knotted at zero in the top of the third, she found herself facing loaded bases.
Given the offensive shakiness that has plagued the Tigers at times through the 2022 campaign, the moment could have had a major impact on the regional bracket. Instead, Krings hung in and worked Bears catcher Ashley Boze for two strikes. Then, Krings went with her change-up.
When it hit the leather of catcher Hatti Moore’s glove, the inning was over and disaster was averted.
“I just completely trust that pitch,” Krings said. “If I have it that day, it’ll be there.”
Krings entered the tournament with more experience with some sophomores, having pitched in last year’s super regional run with the Tigers. In the 2021 regionals, she tossed another gem, working Northern Iowa for 10 strikeouts in a one-hit shutout effort.
Returning for the 2022 edition of the regionals, Krings was even more ready. In front of a large crowd in her home stadium, she felt the support of her teammates.
“I felt way more prepared than last year, that’s for sure,” Krings said. “...They were there for me.”
The team also gave Krings enough support on the scoreboard, with timely offense helping push Missouri to victory. The win set the tone in a positive manor for the Tigers, something Anderson noted would be a key to success before the series.
Saturday, the Tigers will play either Illinois or Arizona, with a chance to win the bracket playing one game a day if they win out.
Krings would be scheduled to start again in the Sunday game, though Anderson said if she was needed Saturday, she would be available. The coach praised her pitcher’s competitiveness.
“If you were to ask Laurin, she would want to throw every single game, every single outing on every single day,” Anderson said as Krings nodded affirmatively on the postgame podium. “The great thing is that she does have the ability to be able to. She’s a very, very strong, well-conditioned athlete.”
The win moved Krings’ season record to 15-9. The Tigers moved on to 37-20.
Saturday’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+. Should Missouri lose, it would play again at 6:30.
Anderson said she thought Friday’s effort against Missouri State would help calm down the Tigers going forward.
“Nobody’s putting more pressure on themselves than we are,” Anderson said. “I mean, I felt it. There were certain times that I had to take a deep breath and relax because you just want to be so successful. But you get that one underneath your belt and then you can relax a little bit.”
Matt Stahl is the Missouri athletics beat reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @mattstahl97.