No. 9 Tigers Open Regional with Illinois State

Junior Lindsey Muller

Junior Lindsey Muller

May 17, 2012

No. 9 Mizzou hosts Columbia Regional

Game One: Massachusetts vs. DePaul - 4 p.m.
Game Two: Missouri vs. Illinois State - 6:30 p.m.

Game Three: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2 - 3 p.m.
Game Four: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 - 5:30 p.m. (loser eliminated)
Game Five: Winner G4 vs. Loser G3 - 8 p.m. (loser eliminated)

Game Six: Winner G3 vs. Winner G5 - 2 p.m.
Game Seven: Winner G6 vs. Loser G6 - 4 p.m. (if necessary)


-The Missouri Tigers finished off the regular season with a three game sweep over the Oklahoma State Cowgirls last weekend, as they head in to postseason with a 43-12 overall record.
-The Tigers picked up the No. 9 seed and were selected to host the Regionals for the fourth straight season. Joining Mizzou in Columbia will be Massachusetts, DePaul and Illinois State. Action gets underway on Friday, May 18 between Massachusetts and DePaul at 4 p.m. CT, with Mizzou taking on Illinois State at 6:30 p.m.
-This is the sixth time in school history that the Tigers have been the host of the NCAA Regional round. In the previous five Regionals at Mizzou, the Tigers are 14-4 and have advanced on four separate occasions. The only time the Tigers didn't advance out of a home Regional was 2007, when they fell to Stanford in the Regional Finals. Mizzou is 10-1 in the last three NCAA Regional rounds.
-It's the 16th time in program histor, ninth time in the last 10 years and sixth consecutive year that the Missouri softball team has been selected to participate in the 64-team NCAA Tournament.
-Missouri finished alone in second place in the Big 12 this season, posting a 17-7 record in conference play.
-Missouri is 5-0 all-time against Massachusetts, with their last meeting coming back in 2010 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Tigers pulled out a 2-1 win over their ace, Sara Plourde, highlighted by what proved to be the game-winning single by Nicole Hudson in the fifth.
-Mizzou holds a 10-7 advantage over DePaul in their 17 previous meetings. The Blue Demons sent the Tigers to the loser's bracket last year at Regionals with a 2-1 win in 11 innings, but Mizzou toppled DePaul twice in the championship round to move on to the Super Regionals.
-The Tigers are 18-7 all-time against Illinois State. The two teams played five times last season and Mizzou won all five meetings. The Tigers have won the last nine meetings overall with the Redbirds.

Massachusetts comes into the Regional having won both the Atlantic 10 regular season and postseason championships, as they finished 19-0 in conference play this season. The Minutewomen have won their last 22 games and pulled off wins over then-No. 12 Michigan (1-0), then-No. 17 Georgia Tech (1-0) earlier this season.

The Minutewomen are hitting .278 as a team this year, led by Cyndil Matthew who has a team-best batting average of .414, while also stealing 34 bases in 36 attempts. Quianna Diaz-Patterson is hitting .341 on the season with 14 doubles, three triples and four homers, and leads the squad with 41 RBI. Pitcher Sara Plourde has posted a .315 average this season and leads the team with 11 home runs.

Plourde is one of the most impressive pitchers in the entire country, entering the postseason with the most wins (36) and strikeouts (520) in all of Division I Softball, along with the lowest hits allowed per seven innings total (2.59) and highest strikeouts per seven innings total (12.34). She is 36-9 on the season with a 1.73 earned run average and has started 44 of the team's 49 games. Opponents are batting .111 off her this season.

DePaul enters the postseason with a 35-20 overall record and finished in fifth place in the Big East with a 14-8 record. They have won seven of their last 10 games and went 1-1 on the Big East Championship, knocking off South Florida, 6-0, before being knocked out in the semifinals by Louisville by a 2-0 score. This is the fourth consecutive year that DePaul will be playing in the Columbia Regional.

Kirsten Verdun and her .373 batting average leads a Blue Demon offense that's hitting .274 as a squad this season. Verdun also leads the team in doubles (12), home runs (11), runs batted in (4) and walks (29). Samantha Dodd is batting .337 this year with seven doubles, a home run and 19 RBI. Verdun also serves as the team's ace, appearing in 40 of the team's 55 games, starting 39 of those with 32 complete games. She's 26-13 on the season with 247 strikeouts in 250.0 innings pitched. She's surrendered 28 doubles, a pair of triples and 12 home runs and opponents are batting .204 off her. Bree Brown (5-4, 2.80 ERA) and Hannah Penna (4-2, 3.04 ERA) also see some action, appearing in 12 and 15 games, respectively.

Illinois State punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament by capturing the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament crown, knocking off Drake (3-0) and Southern Illinois (13-3) to claim the title. The Redbirds have been victorious in 10 of their last 11 contests, with their lone loss coming by a 3-0 score at Northern Iowa two weeks ago.

ISU is batting .262 as a team, led by Lizzie Andrews who has a .340 average this season with 11 doubles, two triples and six homers. Three other Redbirds are hitting over .300 in Laura Canopy (.318), Lauren Kellar (.311) and Jhavon Hamilton (.309). Hamilton leads the team with 12 home runs and 36 batted in, and is perfect (10-for-10) in stolen bases.

Jordan Birch is the team's top pitcher, coming in with a 23-12 record and a 1.55 ERA. She has 221 strikeouts in 212.0 innings to just 40 walks. Opponents are hitting .214 off her. As a staff, Illinois State has a 2.66 ERA with a .254 batting average against.

Live stats for all of the NCAA Columbia Regional games will be provided at Postgame notes, quotes and recaps will be posted to the NCAA Tournament Central page at the Mizzou athletics website. Each game will feature live streaming video on the Mizzou Network at for free. Fans can also follow @MizzouSoftball on Twitter for updates on each game.

Missouri has the opportunity to have several games on KTGR this weekend. Should the Tigers win Friday night, Saturday's game at 3 p.m. will be aired on KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM or will be joined in progress at the conclusion of the Mizzou baseball game. If Mizzou plays in the 5:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. game on Saturday, the game will be aired on KTGR 1580 AM only. Sunday's championship games will be aired on both 1580 AM and 100.5 FM. Will Palaszczuk will have the call for all of Mizzou's games.

The winner of the Columbia Regional will go on to face the winner of the College Station Regional, which features No. 8 Texas A&M, LSU, Bethune-Cookman and Texas State. If Texas A&M wins their Regional, the winner of the Columbia Regional will play in College Station, Texas. If Mizzou wins their Regional and the Aggies do not win theirs, the College Station Regional champion will come to Columbia next weekend with the winner advancing to the Women's College World Series.

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.

Several Tigers are making their way into Mizzou's history, climbing into the top-10 of numerous career and season categories. Here's a rundown:
Chelsea Thomas is eighth all-time with 118 career appearances. Kristin Nottelmann is one appearance shy of joining the top-10 with 112 in her career.
• Nottelmann broke in to the top-10 in career shutouts with her complete game shutout over Iowa State on Saturday, April 28. She's in a four-way tie with Kacey Marshall, Barb Wright and Erin Kalka for 10th all-time with 17.
• Thomas stands alone in third all-time with 83 career wins. Stephanie Falk had 89 wins from 1998-2001, while Wilson holds the program record with 102 victories. Nottelmann has 64 career wins, ninth-most in school history and three shy of seventh.
• Thomas has also moved her way up the top-10 all-time in complete games (fifth, 76), innings pitched (seventh, 686.1) and shutouts (third, 37).
• Thomas is in the top-10 for most strikeouts in a season for the second consecutive year. She broke the school record last season with 397 strikeouts. This year, she has 262, currently sixth-most in a season.
• As her unbelievable senior season has progressed, Ashley Fleming has made a charge up the leaderboards on the offensive side. Her career batting average of .340 is currently eighth-best in MU history.
• This season, Fleming has broken into the top-10 for career hits with 194, putting her in ninth all-time. If she can get six more hits this season, she'll become the seventh Tiger to record 200 or more hits in a career.
• A trio of Tigers are in the top-10 for career doubles, led by Fleming with 41, tied for fifth-most all-time. Nicole Hudson is tied with Amanda Renth for eighth with 38, while Jenna Marston is tied with Nikki Herman for eighth all-time with 37.
• Fleming is now for third all-time in home runs with 42, the fourth Tiger in program history to record 40 or more home runs in a career. Jen Bruck is the program's record holder with 47. Hudson hit her 30th homer of her career a few weeks back, making her the sixth Tiger to hit 30 or more career home runs.
• Marston (156) and Fleming (153) are also in the top-10 in runs scored, coming in at fourth and fifth, respectively.
• Fleming is fourth all-time with 170 RBI, while Hudson has climbed her way up to seventh with 128.
• Marston is nine walks shy from becoming the program's all-time record holder in the category. Fleming and Hudson have both drawn 96 and 95 career walks respectively, the third and fifth most in school history. The Tigers entered the season with just one player who drew over 100 walks in her career (Jen Bruck), but have a chance of finishing this year with four players crossing the century mark.
• Marston scored her 52nd run of the season last weekend, putting her in a three-way tie for eighth most runs in a single season at Mizzou. She scored 57 runs last year, the fourth-most in a season.
• Fleming became just the eighth player in Mizzou history to hit 15 home runs in a single season last week. Home run No. 16 will put her in a six-way tie for third-most in a single season.
• The 2012 team is currently ninth all-time in runs (298) and runs batted in (258), 10th all-time in doubles (68), sixth in home runs (49), tied for fifth in walks (206) and fourt hin strikeouts (410).

The Missouri softball program captured a pair of the major Big 12 yearly awards, as announced Tuesday afternoon by the conference office. Redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas was named the conference's Pitcher of the Year for a second straight season, becoming just the second player in Big 12 history to win this award more than once. She led the Big 12 with a 1.08 earned run average in 20 conference appearances and posted an 11-6 record while leading the league with 160 strikeouts. Corrin Genovese earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in her first year of collegiate softball, marking the second straight season and second time overall that a Mizzou player has won this award. Genovese spent time at second and third base before settling in as the team's shortstop later in the season. She made just two errors in 90 chances during conference play for a .978 fielding percentage.

For the third time in four seasons, Mizzou had six players named to the All-Big 12 team, tying a program record. Chelsea Thomas and five other Tigers earned All-Big 12 honors, with three being placed on both the First and Second Teams. Joining Thomas on the First Team were Ashley Fleming and Mackenzie Sykes, while Nicole Hudson, Jenna Marston and Kelsea Roth were Second Team honorees.

Missouri ace pitcher Chelsea Thomas has claimed the final Big 12 Pitcher of the Week award of the 2012 season, as announced by the league office on Monday, May 14. The award is Thomas' fourth this season and is the 12th honor of her career.  The Pleasantville, Iowa native appeared in all three games vs. Oklahoma State, going 2-0 on the weekend with her third save of the season. She opened the series with a no hitter on Friday night, dominating the Oklahoma State offense for seven innings with 12 strikeouts.

On Saturday, Thomas came out of the pen to pick up her third save of the season, striking out five batters while allowing two walks in 2.1 innings of work. She pitched all 10 innings of Mizzou's 1-0 win on Sunday, striking out 13 while scattering five hits and walking a pair. She finished the weekend with a 0.00 ERA in 19.1 innings of work, striking out 30 batters to just six walks and five hits. With her ninth strikeout on Sunday, she became Mizzou's all-time leader for strikeouts in a career, breaking Teresa Wilson's 29-year-old record.

A total of 55 student-athletes have been named to the 2012 Academic All-Big 12 Softball Team, the Conference announced Thursday afternoon. Of those 55, eight are members of the Missouri softball team, giving the Tigers the second-most selections in the league. All eight of Missouri's honorees were first team selections.

Junior Jenna Marston was recognized with a 4.0 grade point average for the second straight year, and is one of just six in the Big 12 to post a perfect GPA. Joining Marston were seniors Kristin Nottelmann and Ashley Fleming, redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas, juniors Nicole Hudson and Lindsey Muller and sophomores Brianna Corwin and Mackenzie Sykes. Fleming, Nottelmann and Thomas were recognized for the third straight year, while Hudson and Marston pick up their second career Academic All-Big 12 award. Muller, Corwin and Sykes were honored for the first time.

Missouri's 2012 senior class - pitcher Kristin Nottelmann and outfielder Ashley Fleming - have put together one of the best careers in the entire country. The two Tigers have a career record 197-47 in their time at Mizzou, giving them the fourth-best winning percentage (.807) amongst 2012 senior classes in all of Division I Softball. Here are the top-10 senior classes in the country:

1.    Florida 214-39 = .846
2.    Alabama 209-39 = .843
3.    Arizona State 197-46 = .811
4.    Missouri 197-47 = .807
5.    Louisiana Lafayette 190-46 = .805
6.    Georgia 189-54 = .778
7.    Tennessee 184-55-1 = .769
8.    Washington 174-53 = .767
9.    Notre Dame 173-54 = .762
10.    Oklahoma 176-55 = .762

With her ninth strikeout in Sunday's regular season finale against Oklahoma State, Chelsea Thomas became the program's all-time strikeout leader, surpassing Teresa Wilson's record of 893. The record was set in 1983, making it nearly three decades old. Thomas went on to finish the game with 13 strikeouts, giving her 898 in her career.

With two walks on Friday night, Jenna Marston became the school record holder for most walks in a season with 44. She broke Jen Bruck's record, who took 43 walks in 2008. Last season, Marston drew 41 walks. She is nine walks shy of breaking Bruck's career record of 115.

The Missouri Tigers maintained their spot at 14th in the latest RPI poll, released on Monday, May 14. All four of the participants at the Columbia Regional have an RPI of 52 or higher. Mizzou is 19-8 against top-50 teams in the RPI this season.

Mizzou finished up their last Big 12 series ever with a three game sweep over the Oklahoma State Cowgirls.  Chelsea Thomas and the Tigers kicked off the series with a 4-0 win on Friday night, backed by Thomas' 11th career no hitter. Lindsey Muller hit a two run homer and the Tigers scored two more in the sixth, while Jenna Marston broke the single season record for walks after drawing her 43rd and 44th of the season.

On Saturday, Mizzou held off the Cowgirls by a 5-3 score. Corrin Genovese doubled in two runs in the second and Ashley Fleming belted her 15th home run of the season in the third to put Mizzou up 4-0. The Cowgirls cut the lead to 4-3 with three runs in the fifth, forcing Mizzou to go to the bullpen and bring in Thomas. Muller gave the Tigers some insurance with a solo home run in the sixth and Thomas set the final six OSU hitters down in order for her third save of the year.

Mizzou completed the sweep on Sunday with a 10 inning marathon victory, pulling out the 1-0 win. In the 10th, Mackenzie Sykes doubled to the wall in right-center and came in to score on a base hit by Jenna Marston. Thomas threw all 10 innings, giving up five hits and striking out 13 to break the career strikeouts record at Mizzou.



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