FAYETTEVILLE -- Missouri manufactured all its runs with two outs, and a pair of Mississippi State errors proved costly as the Tigers opened the SEC Softball Tournament with a 3-1 victory Tuesday night at Bogle Park.
The 13th-seeded Tigers carry a three-game winning streak and momentum into a matchup scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. today against fifth-seeded Alabama.
"The game doesn't care what seed we are," Missouri Coach Larissa Anderson said. "We're just here to play ball, compete, fight like crazy and play as long as we possibly can play."
Missouri (34-23) right-hander Laurin Krings pitched a complete game with 1 run allowed on 2 hits and 102 pitches thrown in route to her 12th win.
"I thought Laurin Krings had an unbelievable outing," Anderson said. "[She] only gave up two hits and one of them I think was the only pitch that really got away from her. Other than that, she really dominated both sides of the plate and kept them off balance."
Both teams entered the game on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The victory bolstered Missouri's chances of making the field of 64, while 12th-seeded Mississippi State (28-25) will now sweat things out until the selection show Sunday night.
A fielding error on Mississippi State second baseman Shea Moreno with two outs in the second inning spelled trouble for the Bulldogs. In the next at-bat, Missouri scored on an RBI triple by Maddie Snider to take a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs tied the game 1-1 in the fourth inning when third baseman Nadia Barbary snuck a lead-off home run, her fourth of the year, inside the foul pole in left field.
Another two-out defensive miscue came back to bite Mississippi State in the fifth inning. Missouri shortstop Jenna Laird singled to right-center field, but an error on Saleyna Daniel allowed her to advance to second base.
Alex Honnold, who entered with the SEC's fifth-highest batting average (.417), scored Laird on a double in the next at-bat to put the Tigers ahead 2-1.
"We have to make sure we're making plays behind [starting pitcher Reis Beuerlein]," Misssissippi State coach Samantha Ricketts said. "I think it's kind of been an Achilles heel for us all year. And [you can't make those mistakes] against a team like Missouri that you know that they've got the bats up and down their lineup that can get hot at any time."
The Bulldogs had a prime opportunity to tie the game in the sixth inning when it had a runner at second base with one out. The heart of the Mississippi State's lineup was up to bat, but Krings and Missouri manufactured two consecutive outs.
"It was obviously huge that we can keep the momentum on our side," Krings said of stopping the threat. "And I tried everything I could to make sure that we kept the momentum on side. I know [my defense will] back me up in any way."
Mizzou tacked on its third two-out run in the seventh when Kara Daly doubled down the left-field line to score Jenna Laird.
"I think the most impressive thing is all three runs we scored was with two outs," Anderson said.
Krings then shut down Mississippi State to preserve a 3-1 lead and end the game.
The game had an announced attendance of 2,215, which counts tickets sold.
"They've done an unbelievable job and I think it's such a great atmosphere and environment," Anderson said. "I'm really excited and look forward to tomorrow -- I know that there's going to be bigger crowds and the atmosphere is goanna be real exciting. But it's just tremendous that these athletes can experience a tournament put on as well as this one is."
At a glance
SEC SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
At Bogle Park, Fayetteville
Missouri 3, Mississippi State 1
All times Central
LSU vs. Mississippi, 10 a.m.
Texas A&M vs. South Carolina, 1 p.m.
Alabama vs. Missouri, 4 p.m.
Florida vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m.