March 20, 2012
No. 10 Mizzou vs. Iowa
The No. 10 Missouri Tigers get set for a midweek doubleheader against the Iowa Hawkeyes this Wednesday, March 21. The Tigers and Hawkeyes will begin play at 3 p.m. CT, with game two expected to start around 5 p.m. CT. Mizzou is in the midst of a 20-game stretch that will have them playing 16 games at University Field. Overall, the Tigers have won 15 consecutive games and are a perfect 9-0 at home on the year
Iowa currently has a record of 10-13 this season and comes into the doubleheader with three wins in their last 10 contests. Last week, the fell 1-0 to Long Beach State before doing 1-3 at the Judi Garman Classic in California. They pulled out a 2-0 win over Virginia but fell to Notre Dame (2-0), Washington (4-3) and Arizona (6-1). Two weekends ago, the Hawkeyes went 1-3 in Oklahoma, splitting with Oklahoma State (lost 6-5 in eight, won 5-3) and getting swept by the Oklahoma Sooners (6-3, 4-2).
The Hawkeyes are currently hitting .257 overall and have a team ERA of 2.22. Megan Blank leads the offense with a .415 batting average, a .500 on base percentage and a .615 slugigng percentage. She has eight doubles, a triple and a homer on the year, along with 10 stolen bases. Katie Keim is the only other Hawkeye batting over .300, coming in with a .351 average with a team-high in home runs (three) and RBI (18). In the circle, Kayla Massey and Chelsea Lyon split time, with Massey appearing 13 times to Lyon's 12. Massey is 5-6 on the year with a 1.80 ERA, 49 strikeouts and 33 walks in 77.2 innings pitched. Lyon is 5-7 with an ERA of 2.69, 46 strikeouts and 39 walks in 70.1 innings of work.
This will be the first meeting between Missouri and Iowa since the 2008 season, when the Tigers defeated the Hawkeyes twice at the Iowa City Regional. Mizzou would go on to win the regional to move on to their first NCAA Super Regional. The Tigers lead the all-time series by a 12-6 margin.
Live stats will be available at mutigers.com, as will live video at mizzounetwork.com, which will be available for subscribers. Updates will also be tweeted from the official Mizzou Softball Twitter account (@MizzouSoftball).
Missouri will travel to College Station, Texas, for their first conference road series of the year. The Tigers will take on Texas A&M in a three-game set, beginning Friday, March 23 at 7 p.m. The two squads will face off on Saturday at 3 p.m. before wrapping up with a noon game on Sunday.
FOLLOW MIZZOU SOFTBALL ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK
Tiger softball fans can follow along with the season through many of the program's social media options. On Twitter, Mizzou fans can follow the official account, @MizzouSoftball. Assistant Coach Pete D'Amour is also on Twitter (@MizzouSBcoach). On Facebook, fans can go to facebook.com/MizzouSoftball to track down the team's official page.
THE FRIENDLY CONFINES OF UNIVERSITY FIELD
Just as it was last year, University Field has been an extremely friendly place to play for the Tigers in 2012. Missouri is a perfect 9-0 on the season and has won 14 in a row on their home turf dating back to last year. This season, Mizzou has won eight of their nine home games by run-rule, and have only allowed two runs (one earned) in those contests. They are hitting .397 at home with 11 homers and 65 RBI, while the pitching staff has an incredible 0.14 ERA in home games.
CAN'T SCORE ON CHELSEA
After giving up five earned runs on Feb. 26 against UCLA (the only earned runs she's allowed all year), Chelsea Thomas has shut the door on opposing offenses, as she hasn't allowed a single run (earned or unearned) in her last 40.1 innings pitched. After the UCLA game, her ERA stood at 1.54 for the season. As of now, it's down to 0.59 this season. Last year, Thomas had a stretch of 43.0 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
OR ANYONE ELSE, FOR THAT MATTER
Thomas isn't the only one dominating in the circle for the Tigers. Both Kristin Nottelmann and Bailey Erwin have been on top of their game as well. The Tiger pitching staff hasn't allowed a run in their last 42.1 innings. On top of that, they've only surrendered three runs since March 3rd. In that time frame, they've thrown shutouts in 11 of their 14 games and haven't given up more than one run in any game.
SHORT AND SWEET
The Tigers have made a habit this season of quickly taking care of business. Of their 20 wins on the year, 11 have coming by run-rule, ending the game in the fifth or sixth inning. At the DeMarini Invitational in early March, the Tigers won all six of their games by run-rule. Last weekend, two of their wins over Kansas were by run-rule as well.
Against Arkansas on March 14, Chelsea Thomas became just the fifth Tiger in program history to record 700 strikeouts in a career. The last person to reach the milestone was Erin Kalka in 2005. Thomas is currently 5th all-time on the career strikeouts leaderboard.
MIZZOU OPENS CONFERENCE WITH SWEEP OVER JAYHAWKS
Opening the 2012 Big 12 Conference season, Mizzou got off on the right foot with a three-game sweep over Border Showdown rival Kansas. They kicked things off with a 10-0 win in six innings on Friday night, ending the Jayhawks' program-record 20-game winning streak. Chelsea Thomas took a perfect game into the fifth and finished the game allowing just one hit. Mizzou put up five runs in the second inning and Kelsi Jones ended the game with a three-run walk off in the bottom of the sixth.
After Saturday's game was rained out, the Tigers and Jayhawks played two on Sunday to finish the series. In game one, Missouri pushed across three runs in the first on their way to a 5-0 win. Thomas surrendered juts two hits and struck out nine, while Jenna Marston added two hits and Lindsey Muller drove in two runs. In game two, the teams were scoreless until Mizzou scored six times in the third inning, highlighted by Jones' second three run homer of the weekend. With two outs in the sixth, Marston doubled and scored on a bloop single by Angela Randazzo, and Ashley Fleming followed with a game winning two-run homer to right. Kristin Nottelmann threw her best game of the year, giving up just two hits and issuing no walks with seven strikeouts in the complete game effort.