May 10, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The second seeded and 14th-ranked Missouri softball team (45-9) earned the program's second ever Big 12 Championship trophy Sunday with its 5-0 upset win over No. 1 seed, and ninth-ranked, Oklahoma (40-14) at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla. Only the fifth No. 2 seed in the 14 years of the Big 12 Tournament to claim the league title, Missouri captured the schools' seventh crown since the formation of the conference in 1996. Missouri's first Big 12 softball title came in 1997 over Oklahoma State.
2009 Big 12 Championship
|Amanda Bradbery||IF||Iowa State|
|Most Outstanding Player:
Chelsea Thomas, MIZZOU
With the victory, Missouri Head Coach Ehren Earleywine joins basketball coach Mike Anderson as the only coaches in Tiger history to win Big 12 titles within the first three years of their career.
The first Missouri freshman to earn the start in a Big 12 Championship game, right-handed ace Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) kept Oklahoma hitless through three innings, and held the Sooners to two hits en route to her 13th win of the year. Throwing consistently in the high 60's and even touching the 70's, Thomas struck out four batters in her ninth solo shutout of the year.
In Missouri's fourth Big 12 title game appearance since 1997 and first since 2005, the afternoon game was the third of the year to pit Missouri against Oklahoma. Today's win was Missouri's first over the Sooners this season.
The Tigers hung one run on one hit in the top of the first, but stranded three runners at the close of the inning. Sophomore leadoff hitter Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga.) reached base on a single to third base. Averaging .594 on the season from the leadoff position, Taylor provided the Tigers their only hit of the inning off of Oklahoma freshman Kirsten Allen. Taylor stole second, her third swipe of the Big 12 Championships. OU's Allen gave up back-to-back walks loading the bases for first baseman Marla Schweisberger (Raytown, Mo.), yet she and catcher Megan Christopher (Wright City, Mo.) struck out. Senior and six-hole hitter Micaela Minner (Sanger, Texas) was next to the plate and took four balls sending Taylor home from third for the first run of the day.
Minner was next to score for Missouri, crossing home safely on an Oklahoma fielding error that left pinch hitter Kathryn Poet (Tujunga, Calif.) safe at first. Minner roped a single to right field to open the fourth frame, advancing to second on a passed ball. A sacrifice bunt by third baseman Gina Schneider (Liberty, Mo.) sent Minner running for third, while Poet's knock to shortstop, which resulted in a throwing error to first, drove in the second Tiger run of the game.
Five of Missouri's eight hits were leadoff knocks, the third a standup triple by Taylor in the top of the fifth. Taylor scored on second baseman Andee Allen's (Barnhart, Mo.) single to right field, forcing OU Head Coach Patty Gasso to make a switch in the circle.
Missouri's final run of the game came in the form of a solo home run by Schneider in the sixth. The one out blast was Schneider's sixth of the campaign and first since Missouri's April 19 win over Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Missouri will learn of its NCAA Regional fate during the ESPNU selection show airing live at 9 p.m. (CT) tonight. As the automatic qualifier from the Big 12 Conference, Missouri will make its 13th appearance in program history and fourth trip in five years.
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