March 8, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Redshirt sophomore Chelsea Thomas has been named the Division I National Player of the Week by both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and USA Softball, as announced Tuesday. Thomas was also tabbed as the Big 12’s Pitcher of the Week, announced by the league office.
"It's such an honor to be named National Player of the Week," said Thomas. "We had an outstanding week on the diamond, both at the plate and in the field. With a team like mine, my job is easy."
Thomas had a phenomenal week for the Tigers in the circle, winning all three of her starts to improve her record to 3-2 on the season. On Wednesday, she threw the first perfect game for Missouri since 2002 and the first seven inning perfect game since 1991, as she set down 21 straight Drake batters, setting down 11 via strikeout, in Mizzou’s 5-0 win.
On Friday, Thomas threw a three hit, complete game shutout against SEMO as she walked only one batter and struck out 10 in the victory. She took a no hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a leadoff single.
She threw her second perfect game of the week on Sunday against Missouri State, tossing all six innings in Missouri’s 11-0 run-rule victory over the Bears. She set a new seven inning school record with 15 strikeouts. Over the course of the week, Thomas struck out 36 batters and walked only one while opponents hit just .048 against her.
“I’m so happy for Chelsea,” said head coach Ehren Earleywine. “She’s been through a lot with her injury and has worked very hard to get be back in the circle. This is a nice way for her to be rewarded for her perseverance.”
She now has six no hitters in her career (four no hitters, two perfect games), the most by any lone Tiger player in school history. On the season, Thomas has a miniscule earned run average of 0.60, as she’s tossed three complete game shutouts this year. In 35.0 innings pitched she’s allowed just 12 hits, three earned runs, and has limited opposing hitters to a .103 batting average. She has 57 strikeouts to just five walks and is averaging 11.40 strikeouts per seven innings.
Thomas is the second Missouri Tiger to be named NFCA National Player of the Week. Mary Babb won the award on May 4, 1997. She is the third USA Softball Player of the Week from Mizzou, as Janessa Roening won it on May 3, 2005 while Ashley Fleming took home the honors last season. Her Big 12 honor is the third of her career, as she was named Pitcher of the Week in both 2009 and 2010.
The Tigers return to action tomorrow afternoon, when they host Arkansas at 3 p.m. CT at University Field.