Thomas shuts out Washington
Thomas becomes third Tigers pitcher with 30 wins in a season
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri's offense put up four runs for Chelsea Thomas, who was virtually untouchable as the Tigers opened up the NCAA Super Regionals with a 4-0 victory against 12th-seeded Washington. Mizzou, the No. 5 seed, now moves one victory closer to their 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 becomes 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.
Missouri improves to 51-8 overall, tying last season's school record for wins. It is the third year in a row the Tigers have won at least 50 games, totaling 152 victories over that span.
After Thomas set down the first three Huskies in order to start the game, Missouri came up in their half of the first inning and pushed across the first run of the evening. 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.
Missouri had an opportunity in the bottom of the second to add to their lead but came up short after Marla Schweisberger and Lisa Simmons each singled up the middle to start the frame. Washington's Kaitlin Ingelsby got out of the jam, however, working two consecutive strikeouts before getting a groundout to strand a pair of Tigers.
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 2-0. The solo shot pushed Hudson to the 50 RBI mark for the season.
Washington got their 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 extend 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 instead went to first for the out, allowing Taylor to score. Then, a wild pitch allowed Marston to touch home plate.
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.