Tigers Travel to First Place Sooners

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Mizzou Softball

April 19, 2012

No. 10 Mizzou at No. 5 Oklahoma

The No. 10 Tigers hit the road for a crucial conference series this weekend, as they head to Norman, Okla. for a matchup with the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners. Mizzou and the first place Sooners will begin on Friday from Marita Hynes Field at 7 p.m. CT. Game two of the series takes place at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, with Sunday's finale beginning at 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday's games will be broadcast on the Mizzou Network, with Sunday's contest airing live on ESPN and ESPN3.com.

Oklahoma enters the weekend atop the Big 12 standings with an 11-3 record in conference play and a 36-6 record overall. They are coming off a 9-4 win against North Texas on Wednesday night and have won eight of their last 10. Their conference losses this year came at the hands of Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, though the Sooners won all three series. Their other three losses this season were against Georgia Tech, Stanford and Georgia.

Offensively, Oklahoma is third in the nation in home runs per game (0.92) and fourth in slugging percentage (.562). They're batting .329 as a team and have six players hitting better than .300, led by Jessica Schults. Three players have double digit home runs, with Lauren Chamberlain leading the team with 19, the third-most in the nation. They get on base at a .415 clip as a team and are slugging .562 on the season.

In the circle, the Sooners have a 0.97 team ERA and are limiting opponents to a .155 batting average. Keilani Ricketts is 21-5 on the season with a 0.98 earned run average. Her ERA is third-best in the nation, while she's second in strikeouts per seven innings (11.0), third in hits allowed per seven innings (3.74) and third in strikeouts (253). Michelle Gascoigne also sees significant time in the circle, as she's 14-1 with a 1.03 ERA with 129 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 21 appearances.

Live stats will be provided via GameTracker at mutigers.com for all three games. Mizzou Network subscribers will be able to watch the first two games of the series online at mizzounetwork.com. Sunday's contest will be aired live on ESPN and ESPN3.com. The official Mizzou Softball Twitter account, @MizzouSoftball, will provide updates throughout the series.

Mizzou will next be in action next weekend, as they travel to Iowa State for a three game series. The first game begins at 4 p.m. CT on Friday.

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.

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. Junior Jenna Marston is now second all-time with 98 career walks after walking once against Western Illinois. Fellow junior Nicole Hudson is fourth all-time with 89. Senior Ashley Fleming has walked 88 times in her career, the fifth-most at Mizzou. Jen Bruck is the program's all-time record holder, walking 115 times between 2005-08, while Micaela Minner drew the second-most walks ever with 96 from 2004-09.

With 22 strikeouts against Texas Tech, Chelsea Thomas became the third pitcher in Mizzou history to strike out 800 batters in her career. She now stands at 819 strikeouts in her career and is well on her way to breaking the school record this season. Teresa Wilson is the program's record-holder with 893 strikeouts from 1980-83, while Stephanie Falk is second all-time with 865 career K's.

In the latest RPI, released on Monday, April 16, the Tigers found themselves in 16th in the most recent rankings. The Tigers are 12-5 against the RPI's top-40 on the season.

Mizzou's top-two starting pitchers are finding themselves climbing up the career wins list. Redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas currently has 77 wins in her career is tied for fifth with Jen Bruck. She is just two victories away from moving up to third all-time. Senior Kristin Nottelmann has won 63 games over the last four seasons, the ninth-most ever. Immediately in front of her are Erin Kalka, who won 65 career games, and Kacey Marshall, who won 67 times in her career. Teresa Wilson is the program's record-holder at 102 wins.

The No. 10 Missouri softball team closed out their quick five-game homestand with an 8-0 run-rule win over the Western Illinois Leathernecks on Wednesday, April 18. Mizzou scored eight runs despite recording just five hits as they moved to 33-8 on the season. The Tigers drew five walks in the first two innings but didn't push any runs across until the third, when they scored four unearned runs. Jenna Marston took a walk to start the inning and Ashley Fleming was hit by pitch to put two aboard. After a fielder's choice and error, Kelsea Roth broke the scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly. A double steal made it 2-0, and a dropped fly ball brought in two more runs to extend the lead to 4-0.

The first hit of the game for the Tigers didn't come until the fifth inning, with Nicole Hudson doubling to right-center field to start the inning. Pinch hitter Kayla Kingsley then came in and hit a high chopper through the infield, bringing in Hudson. Hudson hit a walk off three run homer in the sixth to win the game. Kristin Nottelmann moved to 11-3 with four shutout innings, strking out three.



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