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May 19, 2012
The Missouri Tigers entered Friday night in a position that they've become accustomed to: hosting a Regional and being the favorites. Once again, Mizzou delivered with a 6-0 win over Illinois State in the NCAA Tournament opener for both teams.
Two-time Big 12 pitcher of the year Chelsea Thomas once again put the team on her back, throwing six shutout innings and striking out six Illinois State batters. Despite all of that, Thomas said in the postgame press conference that it, "certainly wasn't her best outing."
ISU designated player Jhavon Hamilton earned a leadoff walk to start the game off and was eventually was able to reach third base after some crafty base running. However, Hamilton was left stranded and the Redbirds never really had another scoring threat for the rest of the game.
Ashley Fleming hit a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning and Mizzou was in control for the rest of the night. The Tigers added an insurance run in the fifth inning and, if the game wasn't already over, they put it away in the sixth with three runs, including a two-run home run by freshman first baseman Kelsea Roth.
Thomas was given some relief as Bailey Erwin came in the seventh inning to close out the game. Despite the fact that Erwin has pitched well of late, including a big victory over Oklahoma State last Saturday, don't expect to see her or senior pitcher Kristin Nottelmann this weekend unless Mizzou gets out to a big lead.
With victory, Mizzou will play tomorrow at 3:30 PM Central Time against the DePaul Blue Demons. DePaul beat UMASS 3-0 in the opener at University Field on Friday.
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