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Third baseman Kimberly Wert charged on a slow dribbler and darted the ball to first. The play should've ended the inning, but Kolby Romaine missed the catch. Alyssa DiCarlo, coming off a double and running the whole way, scored as a result. 

The single error was the difference-maker as Missouri (11-11, 0-4 Southeastern Conference) fell to Georgia (25-4, 1-0 SEC) 1-0 Friday afternoon at Mizzou Softball Stadium.

Second baseman Kendyll Bailey bobbled a textbook grounder in the second inning that also would've been the third out. That error gave Georgia a chance with the bases loaded, but Missouri escaped that jam. 

Defense has consistently been a problem for the Tigers this season. Missouri entered the game with a .954 fielding percentage, ranking 185th in the country. 

Coach Larissa Anderson thinks part of the struggles can be attributed to limited practice time on the dirt to begin the season. 

"We've had three times that we've been out (on the field)," Anderson said. "It's tough, my analogy is a hockey team never getting to practice on ice ... You have three first year players out there in the infield right now between Wert, Jazmyn, and Kendyll at second base."  

The offense was unable to battle a Georgia pitching staff entering with a 1.50 ERA. After two hits in the first inning, Missouri went hitless the remainder of the game, and took its first shutout loss of the season. 

"That's what the players need to understand that the game could be on the line in the first inning." Anderson said. "Yeah, you have seven innings to play but the game seriously could've come down to that first inning and we need to be better in those opportunities."

While the defense and offense struggled, pitching did not. 

Madi Norman (6-5) pitched all seven innings and gave up the one unearned run, four hits, four walks, and had five strikeouts. 

The performance comes after surrendering two earned runs and three unearned runs in one inning to Alabama Sunday. 

"I put in a lot of extra time with Coach," Norman said. "Making sure I was coming out to the field before practice, hitting my drills, and just correcting what I needed to correct. Going from Alabama, it was a pretty simple fix and I knew what I needed to do, so it was just putting in the time and effort."

Missouri is still searching for its first SEC win in the Larissa Anderson era and will get its next shot against Georgia at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Supervising editor is Seth Bodine. 

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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