COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri offense put up four runs on five hits while Chelsea Thomas was virtually untouchable, as the Tigers opened the NCAA Super Regional with a 4-0 victory against 12th-seeded Washington.
Mizzou, the No. 5 seed, is now one victory away from its third consecutive Women’s College World Series appearance.
In front of a University Field-record 2,595 fans, Thomas struck out 13 batters while giving up just two hits and walking a pair. Improving to 30-6 on the season, Thomas became just the third Tiger in program history with 30 victories in a season, and is now just two shy of tying Teresa Wilson’s record, set 30 years ago in 1981.
As a team, Missouri now stands at 51-8 overall, tying last season’s school-record wins mark. It is the third consecutive year the Tigers have won at least 50 games, and they have 152 total victories during that span.
After Thomas set down the first three Huskies in order to start the game, Missouri came up in the first inning and pushed across the first run of the evening. After Jenna Marston reached first on a fielding error with one out, Nicole Hudson doubled to the wall in left-center, sending Marston around to third. Ashley Fleming then hit a grounder to second, allowing Marston to score the first run of the game.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Hudson blasted her 13th home run of the season off the scoreboard in center field to put the Tigers up by a 2-0 edge. The solo shot pushed Hudson to the 50 RBI mark for the season.
Washington got its first hit in the top half of the fourth and put together their first rally of the day.
Kimi Pohlman started the inning with a seeing-eye single back up the middle, giving the Huskies their first base runner of the game. Thomas got the first out of the frame with a strikeout, and Abby Vock recovered nicely after bobbling a grounder to get the second out, but a two out walk issued by Thomas put a pair of Huskies on base. However, a fielder’s choice ground out to third ended the Washington threat to keep them off the scoreboard.
A patient approach at the plate in the bottom of the fifth helped the Tigers score twice in the inning to expand their lead to 4-0. Rhea Taylor, Marston and Hudson all drew one out walks to load the bases. Fleming then hit a grounder to short, who double-clutched on the attempt home and went to first instead for the out, allowing Taylor score. A wild pitch then allowed Marston to touch home plate, as a rise ball sailed to the backstop with Mackenzie Sykes up.
The Huskies put together another threat in the top of the sixth following a one out double by Pohlman, her second hit of the game. Thomas issued her second walk of the night to put a pair on, but her 12th strikeout of the game followed by a groundout to second base kept the shutout intact.
Thomas worked a flawless seventh inning, getting two groundouts before registering her 13th strikeout of the game to end it.
Hudson finished the game going 2 for 2 at the plate with a home run and an RBI. Marston scored twice, while Fleming also drove in a pair of RBIs.