MUTIGERS

A Look Into the Softball Record Book - Part Two

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Last week we began part one of this two-part series by looking at the offensive side of the softball record book, specifically focusing on who has entered the top-10 in certain categories this season, who has moved up the rankings and who to watch as the season progresses.  This week, we're going to the pitching and fielding side of things.  While pitching and fielding are a little tougher to look at this early in the season, we've still got a few Tiger players who have made their mark on Missouri softball history.

Career Win-Loss Percentage
Two Tiger pitchers are in this category currently, with one just entering this season.  This stat requires at least 20 decisions over the course of a pitcher's career.  First off, senior Jana Hainey and her 26-8 career record (.765 winning percentage) stands at third all-time.  Hainey has been a mark of consistency in her career, boasting a 2.54 ERA over her four years at Mizzou.  After going 7-5 in her freshman season, she's gone 19-3 in the last three years, including a 7-0 record last year and a 2-0 mark this season.  In fact, Hainey has lost since April 6, 2008.

Joining Hainey in this list is sophomore Chelsea Thomas.  After putting together a solid 16-7 campaign her freshman year, Thomas has come out red-hot to start her sophomore season, currently sitting at 12-1 on the year.  Combining for a 28-8 record in her first season and a half, Thomas currently ranks second all-time with a .778 winning percentage in her career.

Career Strikeouts
Believe it or not, in just one short season and a half, Chelsea Thomas is already closing in on this list.  Former Tiger Stacy Delaney holds the 10th spot in this top-10 with 312 career strikeouts, while Thomas is currently sitting at 239.  She's a little more than a stone's throw away from cracking this list, but considering she's already K'ed more hitters this year than last year (116 last year in 27 appearances vs. 123 this year in 14 appearances), who knows where she'll end up on this list when this season and her career is all said and done.

Career Fielding Percentage
Marla Schweisberger now sits all alone atop this list.  She entered the season tied for first with a .995 fielding percentage, but has now gained the extra point needed to put her in first by herself.  In her career, Schweisberger has recorded 232 putouts while committing just one error.  That's right, in the 258 chances Schweisberger has had over her three year career, she's successfully recorded outs in 257 of them.

Junior Megan Christopher sits by herself in 10th in this list as well.  With a perfect 1.000 percentage this season, Christopher has raised her career total to .988, up from .984 to start the year.

Season W-L Percentage
Requiring a 10-decision minimum, Thomas finally topped this list a week or two ago.  Starting the year 12-1, the sophomore has started the year with a .923 winning percentage.  If she can keep herself at the top of the list as the season goes on remains to be seen, but right now she holds a steady lead over Erica Peterson's 19-3 (.864) season in 2005.

Season Stats to Watch
Like the offensive stats, most season pitching/fielding stats won't come to fruition until the season draws closer to an end, but there's still a few categories we can look at now.

-Season Strikeouts: Erin Kalka's 2004 record of 286 strikeouts in a season could be in serious, serious danger if Thomas continues the pace she's currently on.  Thomas has K'ed 123 batters in her 14 appearances this season, good for an average of 8.78 a game.  There are 26 games left in the regular season, and with conference play starting up, we're going to see Thomas in the circle significantly more.  So far this year she's appeared in 14 of the team's 25 games (good for 56% of the games).  If we just assume she'll appear in 2/3rd of the remaining 26 games, she'll get 17 more appearances.  If she continues her average of 8.78 per game (which while it'll be tough going against competition, it's completely logical based on her strikeout performances against some of the top teams in the country this year, more on that in a minute), Thomas will strike out about 272 batters.  That doesn't even factor in the Big 12 Conference Tournament, the NCAA Regionals and (hopefully) beyond.  This is definitely one that could be shattered this season.

And as I was saying earlier, Thomas has dominated some of the best team's in the country.  Here's a look at her strikeout totals against the ranked teams she faced this year.  Ranking is listed as what the team was ranked when Mizzou played them.

vs. No. 2 Alabama - 11 K's in 7.0 innings
vs. No. 2 Alabama - 12 K's in 5.0 innings
vs. No. 2 Arizona - 4 K's in 1.2 innings
vs. No. 2 Arizona - 4 K's in 4.0 innings
vs. No. 4 Michigan - 11 K's in 8.0 innings
vs. No. 18 Louisiana-Lafayette -  8 K's in 7.0 innings

So in 32.2 innings against top 25 competition this year, she's struck out 50 batters.  That rounds out to 10.71 strikeouts per seven innings, on average.  Add this to the fact Thomas has struck out 49 batters in her last four outings (a K/7 average of 13.36), and you can see that Thomas has dominated some quality competition, and is peaking at the right time as we enter Big 12 play.

-Season Wins: Again, hard to predict this one, but Thomas is currently halfway to the top-10 for wins in a season with 12.  Currently there is a three-way tie for eighth with 24, with the all-time record at 32 by Teresa Wilson in 1982.  As we said earlier, just staying on the safe side, Thomas should get at least 17 more regular season starts this year, plus there's Big 12s, Regionals and beyond, so there's no telling where the righty out of Iowa will end up.

Well there you have it, the first edition of "A Look Into the Softball Record Book" is complete.  In a few weeks we'll revisit this topic to see where things stand and take a look at who else is making moves into Tiger history.

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