May 8, 2013
TIGERS AT SEC TOURNAMENT
Quarterfinal (UM vs. UA): Thurs., May 9 - 3 p.m.
Semifinal (TBD): Friday, May 10 - 4:30 p.m.
Championship (TBD): Saturday, May 11 - 7 p.m.
Live Twitter: @MizzouSoftball
Live Radio: Mizzou Network
Live Stats: SECDigitalNetwork.com
MIZZOU Media Notes
No. 8/7 Mizzou (33-10, 15-8 SEC) heads to its first Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament, hosted by Kentucky at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky., from Wednesday, May 8-Saturday, May 11. With the bracket's No. 3 seed, the Tigers face No. 25/22 Arkansas (34-17, in the event's quarterfinal round on ESPNU on Thursday at 3 p.m. CT. The game will have live radio coverage from the Mizzou Network, free of charge.
Head coach Ehren Earleywine leads his Tiger team into the program's first SEC postseason action, holding a 6-4 all-time record against Arkansas. Mizzou took a stout, five-inning 9-0 win over the Razorbacks on April 12 before yielding two results to Arkansas in extra innings (4-1 , 11-10 ).
With a win, the Tigers would advance to the tournament's semifinal round and face the winner of No. 2 Tennessee and No. 7 Kentucky/No. 10 South Carolina. The matchup is set for 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
The Tigers used an offensive flurry, led by senior Nicole Hudson at the plate and in the circle, to win 12-8 over No. 2 Tennessee on Sunday, May 5 on Mizzou's Senior Day. The victory delivered the series win to the Tigers after the 2-0 win on Saturday, May 4, on ESPN that saw senior Chelsea Thomas pitch the 11th no-hitter of her career.
Mizzou's run-scoring efforts in the series finale were orchestrated by Hudson, who hit a two-run home run and grand slam to finish with six RBI on 2-for-3 hitting, a career-high in RBI for the senior. Hudson pitched for the complete game win (6.0 IP), striking out three Lady Vols. Freshman 2B Emily Crane also came up big for Mizzou, batting 2-for-2 with two walks, while senior catcher Rachel Hay hit her fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning.
The story of Saturday, May 4, was Thomas, who no-hit the SEC's top batting team entering the contest (.344). Including combined no-hitters, the effort against the big swinging Lady Vols was Thomas' 14th career no-hit pitching performance. Her strong outing was her first complete game no-hitter since blanking Oklahoma State last season (May 11, 2012) with 12 strikeouts in a 4-0 win.
The effort earned Thomas her fifth SEC Pitcher of the Week award, the 17th conference honor of her career. With the recognition, Thomas became just the second conference pitcher to earn five weekly awards in a single season. The Tiger standout joins former Tennessee ace Monica Abbott, who earned five honors in 2005. Thomas finished the regular season leading all SEC players in weekly awards, as well as cementing her lead over the rest of the conference's pitchers. Three league pitchers finished with two honors apiece.
2013 SEC PITCHER OF THE YEAR - Chelsea Thomas
Thomas took home the 2013 SEC Pitcher of the Year on Tuesday, May 7. A two-time All-American, Thomas also earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Year awards in 2011 and 2012. She was the winningest pitcher in league games in 2013, claiming 13 SEC regular season wins. Thomas finished the conference season with top marks in conference strikeouts (117) and conference opposing batting average (.176). Thomas additionally received a First Team All-SEC nod to add to her two First Team All-Big 12 honors (2011, 2012). She was also recognized to the All-SEC Defensive Team.
2013 SEC SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Jenna Marston
Marston has compiled a 3.99 cumulative GPA as an industrial engineering major in her time at the University of Missouri. She earned Capital One First Team Academic All-America recognition as a junior in 2012 and has been an academic all-district pick three times in her career. She posted a team-best .371 batting average in SEC action that ranked ninth in the conference. Her .489 on-base percentage was good for third-best in the league, and her eight conference doubles tied for No. 2 in the SEC. At catcher, Marston recorded an astute .985 fielding percentage with four runners caught stealing.
Thomas became Mizzou's all-time winningest pitcher with her performance in the 6-1 win at LSU (April 19), her 103rd career victory. She surpassed the 30-year old record of 102 set by Teresa Wilson from 1980-83. She earned win No. 107 with her no-hitter in the 2-0 win vs. No. 2 Tennessee (May 4).
Marston and Hudson have paved their way solidly into the all-time hits chart at Mizzou. Marston currently has 221 hits, good for No. 5 in Mizzou's record book. Hudson has moved into the No. 9 all-time spot with 203 base knocks. Marston additionally moved into the school's top 10 for career at-bats, where she currently ranks ninth all-time with 666.
Hudson and Marston are in a tight race to be Mizzou's all-time walks leader by season's end. Hudson is currently Mizzou's all-time leader with 140 walks after recording 41 so far in 2013, while Marston follows at 132 with 23 this season. Marston originally surpassed former standout Jen Bruck's former No. 1 mark of 115 (2005-08) with her 116th walk in the fifth inning of Mizzou's 12-0 (5) win at Ole Miss on March 17.
Hudson's season total of 41 walks, a career best, currently ranks tied for third all-time. The program record of 46 was set by Marston last season.
FOLLOW THE ACTION IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT
Mizzou's Thursday, May 9, matchup with Arkansas will be broadcast nationally on ESPN at 3 p.m. CT. Live radio coverage from the Mizzou Network will be available free of charge for Mizzou's SEC Tournament run. The tournament's Tiger games will have continual updates to the official Twitter of Mizzou Softball, @MizzouSoftball. Live statistics will be available at SECDigitalNetwork.com.
Arkansas enters the SEC Tournament with a No. 6 seed, the highest seed received by a Razorback team since 2002. The Razorbacks have compiled a 34-17 overall season record and 12-10 SEC mark. UA is led offensively by sophomore Devon Wallace's .381 overall batting average. Freshman Stephanie Canfield holds the team's second-best batting average at .358. Wallace continues into the postseason as Arkansas' second-leading base-stealer, going 11-for-13.
The Razorbacks' feature two often used pitchers in senior Chelsea Cohen (128.1 IP) and sophomore Kimmy Beasley (110.0 IP). Cohen has built a 12-8 record in her final UA season, while Beasley pitched to a 10-7 mark and earned Second Team All-SEC.
Mizzou currently holds a No. 10 RPI (ratings percentage index) from the NCAA (May 6). The squad received a No. 5 ranking in the initial NCAA RPI of the 2013 season, released March 25. Last season, the Tigers began with a No. 15 RPI ranking.
SENSATIONAL SENIOR DAY
It was a big day for senior Nicole Hudson, who hit two home runs for a career-high six RBI and pitched the complete game (6.0) in the six-inning, 12-8 win on Sunday at University Field. The senior's second long ball of the day was a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning, the second hit of a 2-for-3 batting performance. Senior catcher Rachel Hay got into the home run-hitting action, as well, launching a two-run shot in the bottom of third inning.
Following the game, seniors Hay, Hudson, Princess Krebs, Lindsey Muller, Jenna Marston and Chelsea Thomas were honored in the team's Senior Day ceremony. Senior student managers Nikki D'Aurelio, Matt Guemmer and Lance McMahon were also recognized for their contributions to the Mizzou softball program.
CLEAR THE BASES
Senior Nicole Hudson's grand slam in the win over No. 2 Tennessee on May 5 was the second of her career. Her first came for all of Mizzou's RBI on March 31, 2012, vs. Baylor, a 4-2 win. Hudson's grand slam against the Lady Vols contributed to a career-high six RBI day at the ballpark.
Sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth hit her second grand slam of the season in the first inning of Mizzou's six-inning, 10-2 win over South Carolina (March 29). The blast, her ninth home run of the season, opened the scoring for the game.
In back-to-back games of the Georgia Tech doubleheader (March 23), a Tiger hit a grand slam. In the five-inning, 8-0 win to start the day, sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo hit her grand slam during the six-run second inning. The blast was her third home run of the season. Senior Rachel Hay's grand slam, her second home run of the season, came in Mizzou's six-run second inning of the five-inning, 16-0 victory in the second game.
Roth hit Mizzou's first grand slam of the 2013 season came in the five-inning, 13-1 victory over Maryland (Feb. 21). The four-run shot helped power a nine-run second inning that distanced the Tigers from the Terrapins. Coincidentally, Roth was previously the last Mizzou player to hit a grand slam in 2012. Her second-to-last long ball of her seven-home run freshman campaign cleared the bases at Iowa State on April 28.
Three of the biggest bats in the SEC belong to Tigers (as of Sunday, May 5). Sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth ranked sixth in the SEC in slugging percentage (.667), with senior 3B Nicole Hudson coming in at 12th with her .597 slugging percentage. Sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo and Roth rank tied for second in the league with 24 RBI in conference games.
Hudson and Roth, with 15 and 12 home runs, respectively in 2013, ranked tied for fifth and 12th in the SEC in home runs.
Senior catcher Jenna Marston ranked second in the SEC in doubles, with eight in conference play. Crane was tied for seventh in overall games with 13 doubles.
As a team, Mizzou ranks tied for second in in runs scored in SEC games with 135. The Tigers were second in the SEC in conference games with a .297 batting average. Missouri's on-base percentage of .414 ranked second.
HUDSON JOINS MARSTON IN `THE 200 CLUB'
With her two hits in Mizzou's six-inning, 12-4 win in game two of the Western Illinois doubleheader (May 1), senior Nicole Hudson became just the ninth player in Tiger softball history reach 200 career hits. She joined fellow senior Jenna Marston in group, with Marston ranking fifth all-time with her 217 hits. Hudson stands in ninth currently with 200.
WAIT - HOW MANY?
Mizzou recorded 19 hits in its six-inning, 12-4 win at Western Illinois in the second game of the May 1 doubleheader. The total stands as the Tigers' top hitting output of the 2013 season and also ranked third all-time in the Mizzou record books.
WE'LL HAVE WHAT MARSTON IS HAVING
Senior catcher Jenna Marston put on a hitting clinic in Mizzou's doubleheader sweep at Western Illinois (10-5, 12-4 ) on May 1, batting 6-for-9 (.667) overall. The extremely impressive portion of her day came in the second game, in which Marston set a career-high with a 4-for-5 performance at the plate. Her four hits in the six-inning, 12-4 win over the Leathernecks included two doubles. Marston became just the second Tiger to record a four-hit game this season, with the first belong to senior Lindsey Muller's 4-for-4 outing at UCSB (W, 12-1) on Feb. 17.
Sophomore SS Corrin Genovese led an impressive showing of the Tigers' bats in the two wins over Western Illinois, hitting 5-for-7 (.714) at the plate in the doubleheader. Sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo and junior OF Mackenzie Sykes both put on 4-for-7 (.571) showings, with Sykes batting a perfect 3-for-3 in the second game.
HUDSON DOES IT AGAIN
Mizzou faced a 1-0 deficit heading into the seventh inning of its April 26 game at No. 19 Kentucky, but senior Nicole Hudson helped the Tigers take care of that, poking an RBI single out to left field to bring in the tying run. After a fruitless eighth, Hudson launched her 13th home run of the season in the ninth inning to give Mizzou the go-ahead run that resulted in the final score of 2-1.
THE TWO-HIT TWO-STEP
Mizzou's two victories in the series win at No. 19 Kentucky were each powered by trios of two-hit performances. The initial nine-inning, 2-1 win on April 26, saw senior catcher Jenna Marston (2-for-3), senior Nicole Hudson (2-for-4) and junior OF Mackenzie Sykes (2-for-4) get multi-hit games. The series finale win (7-0) on April 28 had Marston (2-for-5), sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo (2-for-3) and sophomore SS Corrin Genovese (2-for-4) doing the work for the Tigers.
WELCOME TO TIGER PARK, Nicole Hudson!
Senior 3B Nicole Hudson did the heavy lifting in Mizzou's 3-2 win to clinch the series at LSU on April 21, hitting two home runs in a game for the third time in her career. Her two-run shot in the third inning and the following solo long ball in the fifth pushed her season total to 12 and her career amount to 42. The second home run hit the top of Tiger Park's scoreboard beyond the right field wall. Hudson batted 6-for-9 in the two wins at LSU.
SKY IS THE LIMIT
As previously mentioned, senior 3B Nicole Hudson and sophomore 1B Kelsea Roth both have smacked 15 and 12 home runs, respectively thus far in 2013. The two big swingers have already surpassed their 2012 (61 games) totals in long balls, during which both recorded seven apiece. Hudson has blasted 43 four-baggers in her career, while Roth has hit 19. Joining them in the home run spree are sophomore 3B Angela Randazzo with eight and junior OF Mackenzie Sykes with seven. The previous season-best for both Randazzo and Sykes was two.
THOMAS IN FINAL 25 FOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Thomas, a two-time All-American, was named a Top 25 finalist for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the ASA and USA Softball announced April 10. Thomas' inclusion in the 2013 Top 25 marks her third career USA Softball Top 25 recognition. Thomas was one of three overall finalists for the award in 2011 and also advanced to the final 25 finalists last season.