No. 9 Tigers Eye Fourth Straight WCWS Bid

Mizzou Softball

Mizzou Softball

May 24, 2012

NCAA Super Regional - No. 9 Mizzou vs. LSU

• For the third consecutive season, the Missouri softball program will play host the NCAA Regional round, as the No. 9 Tigers of Missouri are set to take on future SEC foe LSU this weekend in a best-of-three series. Game one will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 26, with game two started at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. A decisive third game, if necessary, will begin at 5 p.m. on Sunday. All games will be aired on ESPNU and, with Cara Capuano and Garland Cooper on the call.
• This marks the third time in program history that the Tigers have hosted an NCAA Super Regional at University Field. In 2010, the Tigers swept the Oregon Ducks in two games to advance to their second straight WCWS. Last season, Mizzou won both games against the Washington Huskies to make it three straight trips to the World Series.
• Missouri is 17-1 under head coach Ehren Earleywine in postseason games at University Field.
• Last season, the top two attendances in University Field saw the Tigers punch their ticket to the WCWS for the sixth time in program history. In game one against Washington, 2,595 packed University Field to see Mizzou pull out a 4-0 victory. In game two, a facility record 2,604 were in attendance.
• In Mizzou's last seven Super Regional contests, the Tigers have outscored their opponents by a 31-12 margin and are 6-1 in those games.
• This is the fifth straight year - and fifth time in program history - that Missouri has competed in the NCAA Super Regional round. It's the 16th time in program history, sixth year in a row, and ninth time in the last 10 years that the Mizzou softball team has been selected to participate in the 64-team NCAA Tournament.
• The Tigers won the Columbia Regional for the fourth straight season, winning all three games they played over the weekend. The opened the tournament with a 6-0 shutout of the Illinois State Redbirds, and moved in to the championship on a 1-0 win in nine innings over DePaul. Senior Ashley Fleming hit a walk off home run on the first pitch in the bottom of the ninth to advance the team to Sunday's finals. The Tigers matched up again with the Redbirds and held on to win by a 2-1 score for the team's fifth straight Regional Championship.

LSU enters the Columbia Super Regional after winning all three games at the College Station Regional last weekend. They opened with a 1-0 win over Texas State before defeating host Texas A&M twice. The Tigers took Saturday's contest by a 2-0 final and eliminated the Aggies with a 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon. LSU is currently 37-22 on the year and went 15-13 in SEC play. Mizzou and LSU have met five times previously. Missouri won the first game back in 1981 by a 4-0 score, but LSU has taken the last four, including a 7-1 win in their last meeting (2007).

The Tigers are hitting .222 as a team, led by Ashley Langoni's .270 batting average. She also leads the team in doubles (11), home runs (six), runs batted in (29) and walks (42). LSU has stolen 69 bases in 85 attempts as a squad this year. A.J. Andrews leads the team with 13 stolen bases in 16 chances, while Alex Boulet is 12-for-15 on stolen base attempts.

In the circle, Rachele Fico has emerged as one of the nation's top pitchers this season. She's currently 18-11 on the year with a 0.92 earned run average in 33 appearances and 29 starts. She has 204 strikeouts in 206.1 innings pitched and has issued 75 walks. Her ERA is the second lowest in the country, while her 13 shutouts are the fourth-most nationally. She's allowing 4.41 hits per seven innings, 14th-best mark in all of Division I softball. Their No. 2 pitcher, Brittany Mack, has strated 26 games this season and is 15-11 with a 2.38 earned run average. Opponents hit .233 off her and she has 176 strikeouts to 51 walks in 156.0 innings of work.

Each game this weekend will be aired live on ESPNU and simulcast on Cara Capuano and Garland Cooper will be on the call. Live stats for all of the NCAA Columbia Super 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. Fans can also follow @MizzouSoftball on Twitter for updates on each game.

All three games will air on KTGR 1580 AM, with game three, if necessary, being broadcast on KTGR 100.5 FM as well. Will Palaszczuk will have the call.

The winner of the Columbia Super Regional will advance to the 2012 Women's College World Series, which begins on May 31 and runs through June 6 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

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 121 career appearances, one shy of seventh. 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 86 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, 78), innings pitched (seventh, 708.1) and shutouts (third, 38).
• With three wins at Regionals, Thomas jumped in to a tie for sixth for most wins in a season with 26.
• 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. She has 290 this season, second-most in a year at Mizzou.
• Thomas' 1-0 shutout win over DePaul on Saturday, May 19, was her 12th solo shutout of the season, tied for ninth-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 .343 is currently tied for sixth-best in MU history.
• This season, Fleming has broken into the top-10 for career hits with 199, tying her for seventh all-time. Her next hit will make her the seventh Tiger in program history to record 200 career hits.
• A trio of Tigers are in the top-10 for career doubles, led by Fleming with 42, tied for third-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 tied for second all-time in home runs with 43, 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 (157) and Fleming (155) are also in the top-10 in runs scored, coming in at fourth and fifth, respectively.
• Fleming is fourth all-time with 173 RBI, while Hudson has climbed her way up to seventh with 128.
• Marston is eight walks shy from becoming the program's all-time record holder in the category. Fleming and Hudson have both drawn 96 career walks, tied for third 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 53rd run of the season last weekend, giving her the eighth most runs in a single season at Mizzou. She scored 57 runs last year, the fourth-most in a season.
• Fleming hit home run No. 16 last weekend at Regionals, putting her in a six-way tie for third-most in a single season.
• The 2012 team is currently tied for seventh all-time in wins (46),  ninth in runs (307), runs batted in (267) and in doubles (71), sixth in home runs (52), 10th in total bases (641), fifth in walks (211) and second in strikeouts by Tiger pitchers (440).

• Mizzou has won five straight, and six of its last seven games in Super Regional play, dating back to the 2009 season.
• Tiger pitching has been dominant over the last two years of Super Regionals, as MU pitchers have a combined ERA of 0.75 in a pair of two-game sweeps in Columbia versus Oregon (2010) and Washington (2011).  Chelsea Thomas pitched all 14 innings in 2011 and allowed just two earned runs, and struck out 22 batters while walking four.  Nottelman had a pair of complete-game wins in 2010, and allowed just one earned run in her 14 innings of work.
• Mizzou (46-12) advances to its fifth consecutive NCAA Super Regional, the fourth-longest active Super Regional streak in the country (Alabama and Arizona - 8, Arizona State - 7).

• In the last two Super Regionals (2010 vs. Oregon/2011 vs. Washington), Ashley Fleming is batting .455 (5-of-11), while Nicole Hudson is hitting at a .385 clip (5-of-13).  In that stretch, Hudson has two HRs and a double, while Fleming has a pair of doubles.  Hudson's slugging percentage in those four games is a solid .923, and the duo has struck out just one time combined in their 24 at-bats.
Jenna Marston's average is at only .167 in four career Super Regional games, but she still has been a big part of MU's four wins.  Her keen batting eye has led to three walks in those four games (on-base percentage of .333), and her five runs scored was most by any Tiger in those two Super Regionals.
Chelsea Thomas is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in four career Super Regional appearances, with wins at UCLA (2-1 in 2009), and in Columbia against Washington in 2011 (4-0 & 6-3).  The loss came at UCLA in 2009 (5-2).  Opposing batters are hitting just .208 against her in those 26.0 combined innings, and she's got a solid strikeout-to-walks ratio of 25-to-9 in those games.
• Thomas' top Super Regional outing was a brilliant two-hit, 13-strikeout performance in a 4-0 shutout win over Washington last season in the Super Regional opener in Columbia.  She threw 106 pitches on the night, and allowed only four base runners all night (two hits, two walks).
• Kristin Nottelman is 2-0 with a 0.88 ERA in three career Super Regional appearances, getting both wins in complete-game efforts against Oregon in 2010, winning 1-0 and 7-2 decisions.

• The Tigers are now 13-1 in their last four NCAA Regionals.
• The championship game was the only game in the Columbia Regional where both teams scored at least one run. The other five games were all shutout victories for the winner.
• A total of 3,922 fans attended the three Regional games featuring Mizzou for an average of 1,307 fans per game.
• Mizzou and DePaul battled to extra innings in Game Three of the Regional, marking the second year in a row that the two teams went to extra innings in Game Three of the Columbia Regional. In 2011, DePaul won 2-1 in extra innings.

• Thomas recorded 12 strikeouts in the Regional Championship game to up her season total to 290, which ranks second in single-season history.
• Illinois State's run in the bottom of the sixth inning halted Thomas' consecutive scoreless innings streak at 41 1/3. The streak started against Oregon on May 5.
• Freshman Ashtin Stephens drove in Corrin Genovese for Mizzou's first run of the game in the top of the fourth. It was Stephen's first RBI in seven games and first hit in six games.
• MU freshman Kayla Kingsley recorded her third consecutive multi-hit game of the weekend with two more hits on Sunday. She did not have any multi-hit games entering the NCAA Tournament.
• Kinglsey hit 6-of-9 in the regional after entering the weekend hitting .200 on the year.
• Mizzou junior Jenna Marston upped her single-season walks record to 45 with one against the Redbirds.
• Mizzou junior Lindsey Muller blasted her seventh home run of the season in the sixth inning. She is now one of four Tigers (Ashley Fleming, Nicole Hudson and Kelsea Roth) with seven on the year.
• Thomas struck out the side on 10 pitches in the top of the 4th against DePaul in Game Three.
• Fleming hit a walk off home run to right field on the first pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning against DePaul to give the Tigers the 1-0 win.
• The homer was Fleming's 16th of the season, tying her for third-most in a single season at Mizzou. It was also her 43rd of her career, tying her for second-most in a career at MU.

Three members of the Missouri softball team were named 2012 Capital One Academic All-Americans, as announced by the College Sport Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday, May 24. This marks the first time since 2009 (Lindsey Ubrun) that Missouri has had a member of the squad named an Academic All-American, and the three selections ties the program record that was set in 1991. Junior Jenna Marston (3.98 GPA) was selected to the First Team, the first time the Tigers have had a First Team selection since Karen Snelgrove was recognized in 1991. Senior Ashley Fleming (3.78 GPA) and redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas (3.48 GPA) were named to the Second Team.

Three Missouri softball players were named to the 2012 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Midwest Region team, as announced Thursday, May 17 by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Senior Ashley Fleming and redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas were selected to the All-Midwest First Team. Fleming will leave Mizzou as a three-time All-Region honoree, while this is the second time Thomas has been selected. Being recognized for the second straight year, junior Nicole Hudson was selected to the Second Team as an outfielder.

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 200-47 in their time at Mizzou, giving them the third-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. Alabama 212-39 = .845
2. Florida 216-41 = .840
3. Missouri 200-47 = .810
4. Louisiana Lafayette 193-46 = .808
5. Arizona State 199-48 = .806
6. Georgia 192-54 = .780
7. Washington 177-53 = .770
8. Tennessee 188-56-1 = .767
9. Oklahoma 179-55 = .765
10. California 181-56 = .764

Hosting for the fourth consecutive season, the Missouri softball team swept through the 2012 Columbia Regional to move on to their fifth straight NCAA Super Regional. On Friday night, the Tigers offense scored six runs on nine hits against Illinois, backed by a two run homer by Kelsea Roth and two RBI from Ashley Fleming. Chelsea Thomas picked up the win, throwing six innings and striking out six. On Saturday, Mizzou and DePaul traded scoreless innings all the way until the ninth, when Fleming ended the game with a walk off home run on the first pitch of the inning. Thomas threw all nine innings, not allowing a walk while striking out 10. The Tigers captured the title on Sunday with a 2-1 win over the Redbirds, holding ISU off in a late seventh inning rally. Lindsey Muller homered and Ashtin Stephens singled in a run, while Thomas struck out 12 and took a no hitter into the fifth inning.



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