Softball Prepares For Big Series at No. 3 Texas

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Mizzou Softball

April 4, 2012

No. 11 Mizzou at No. 3 Texas

  • Date: April 5-7
  • Game One: Thursday, April 5 - 7 p.m. CT
  • Game Two: Friday, April 6 - 7 p.m. CT
  • Game Three: Saturday, April 7 - Noon CT
  • Stadium: Red and Charline McCombs Field
  • GameTracker: Game One | Game Two | Game Three
  • Media Notes

Missouri continues their Big 12 Conference schedule this week against the league's top squad, the No. 3 Texas Longhorns. The first game will begin at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, April 5 from Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas. The second game of the series will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, with the series finale beginning at Noon CT on Saturday.

The Texas Longhorns come into the weekend as the first place team in the Big 12 Conference. They have an overall record of 31-2 and are 5-0 in league play after winning twice over Texas Tech in early March and sweeping Iowa State in three games two weeks ago. In all, the Longhorns are on a nine game winning streak and have won 18 in a row on their home field, the fifth-longest home winning streak in the country. In the latest rankings, the Longhorns were No. 3 in both the NFCA/USA Today poll and the Softball rankings.

With a .368 team batting average, the Longhorns have the second-best batting average in the country. Texas has four regulars hitting over .400 on the season, and 10 players who are batting over .300. Karina Scott leads the way with a .444 batting average with four doubles and seven homers in 54 at bats. Lexy Bennett is batting .429 with five doubles, three triples, six homers and a team-best 41 RBI. Brejae Washington is hitting .408 and Courtney Craig is batting .404, while Taylor Hoagland leads the team with nine homers.

Junior Blaire Luna is having her most impressive season yet, sitting at 12-1 on the year with a 1.29 ERA in 15 appearances. She has 134 strikeouts in 81.1 innings, good for a K/7 ratio of 11.5, the second-best in the NCAA. Rachel Fox is 9-0 on the year with a 1.23 ERA, while Kim Bruins is 6-1 with a 1.56 ERA. Gabby Smith comes in at 4-0 with a 1.62 mark. As a rotation, they have a 1.36 ERA, 10th in the country.

The Tigers are 17-15 all-time against the Longhorns after the team's split their two game series in Columbia last season. Texas won the first game 2-0, before Mizzou came back on Sunday to win by a 6-3 score.

Live stats will be provided via GameTracker at for all three games. The official Mizzou Softball Twitter account, @MizzouSoftball, will provide updates throughout each day.

Missouri will face Northern Iowa in a non-conference game on Wednesday, April 11. Action from University Field will begin at 4 p.m. CT.

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 to track down the team's official page.

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 16-0 on the season and has won 21 in a row on their home turf dating back to last year. This season, Mizzou has won nine of their home games by run-rule, and have only allowed seven runs (four earned) in home contests. They are hitting .348 at home with 20 homers and 100 RBI, while the pitching staff has an incredible 0.29 ERA in home games.  Chelsea Thomas is 8-0 in home games this year and hasn't allowed a single run. Opponents have an 8.53 ERA at University Field against the Tigers.

In the history of Missouri softball, only seven players have drawn 80 or more walks in their career. Three of those are on this year's squad. Senior Ashley Fleming is third all-time with 84 walks, while junior Jenna Marston is currently tied for fifth with 82. Fellow junior Nicole Hudson has drawn 80 walks so far in her career. The all-time record holder is Jen Bruck, who drew 115 from 2005 to 2008.

Over the weekend of March 30 against Baylor, the Missouri Tigers hit grand slams in back-to-back games. On Friday, with a 2-1 lead, Lindsey Muller hit a grand slam to give the Tigers a bigger cushion. Down 2-0 in the sixth inning on Saturday, Nicole Hudson hit what turned out to be a game winning slam of her own. It's just the second time in the last decade that Missouri has hit grand slams in consecutive games. The last time came in 2011, when Maddison Ruggeberg hit one on March 5 against Saint Louis and Marla Schweisberger hit one on March 6 against Missouri State. The Tigers have three grand slams in total tihs season.

During the week of March 25-April 1, junior Jenna Marston only had six official at bats, as she took an incredible nine walks in five games against Evansville and Baylor. During a stretch of two games, Marston had walked in five consecutive plate appearances. She walked all three times she came to the plate during Saturday's game and took walks in her first two appearances on Sunday. Marston now has 26 walks in the season and is third all-time at Mizzou with 89 career base on balls.

Mizzou's 18 straight victories at University Field is one of the best home winning streaks in all of Division I softball. Below are the top-seven active streaks through games on March 28.

Through March 28
1. Louisiana (Lafayette) - 33
2. BYU - 29
3. Boise State - 23
4. Missouri - 21
5. Texas - 19

With her 10 strikeout performance against Baylor on April 1, Chelsea Thomas is just four strikeouts shy of overtaking third place on Missouri's career strikeouts list. Thomas currently has 770 strikeouts for her career, while Karen Snelgrove, currently in third, struck out 773 hitters from 1989-92. Stephanie Kalk recorded 865 strikeouts from 1998-2001, and the school record holder, Teresa Wilson, had 893 strikeouts from 1980-83.

Senior Kristin Nottelmann recorded her 400th career strikeout in the third inning strikeout of Baylor's Megan Turk on March 31, making her the ninth pitcher in program history to have at least 400 strikeouts. Nottelmann is currently ninth on the all-time strikeout list at Missouri with 401 career K's.

Redshirt junior pitcher Chelsea Thomas is the nation's leader in hits allowed per seven innings, giving up just 2.70 hits per game according to the latest NCAA Division I statistics report, released on April 2. The second place pitcher is Sara Plourde of Massachusetts, who has allowed 2.94 hits per game.

In the latest RPI, released on Monday, April 2, the Tigers found themselves in 18th in the most recent rankings. The Tigers are 6-2 against the RPI's top-30 on the season.

Redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas has been selected as the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 26-April 1, as announced by the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday. The award is the 10th of Thomas' career, making her the second pitcher in league history to win the award 10 or more times. Thomas appeared in four of Missouri's five games last week, factoring into the decision in all four contests. She pitched game two of the doubleheader with Evansville on Wednesday, throwing the first 4.1 innings while allowing just two base runners and recording 11 strikeouts.

Against Baylor, Thomas got the start in game one on Friday and threw five scoreless innings, scattering three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts to pick up the victory. After Nicole Hudson's go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning of Saturday's contest, Thomas came in to record her second save of the year, working a strikeout for the third out. She was most impressive on Sunday, tossing a complete game shutout, giving up only two hits and striking out 10.

The No. 12 Missouri softball team closed out March with a three game sweep over the No. 18/20 Baylor Bears at University Field. On Friday, the team hit three home runs - solo shots by Nicole Hudson and Corrin Genovese and a grand slam by Lindsey Muller - while the Tiger pitchers gave up only an unearned run on their way to a 6-1 victory. On Saturday, Hudson hit a sixth inning grand slam to overcome the team's 2-0 deficit and rally past the Bears to take control of the series. In the finale, Missouri pounced on Baylor with seven runs in the first two innings, as Chelsea Thomas coasted to a complete game shutout with 10 strikeouts.