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Thomas leads Missouri softball to Big 12 title

Sunday, May 10, 2009 | 3:20 p.m. CDT; updated 5:14 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 10, 2009
Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas, center, celebrates with teammates at the end of the the Big 12 softball tournament championship game against Oklahoma in Oklahoma City on Sunday. Thomas pitched a two-hit shutout as Missouri defeated top-seeded Oklahoma 5-0 to win its first Big 12 softball title in 12 years.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri softball team defeated Oklahoma 5-0 to win the Big 12 tournament title on Sunday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Chelsea Thomas pitched two-hit shutout for the Tigers and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Thomas (13-4) earned two of Missouri's three wins in the tournament.

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“It was a great honor," Thomas said of being named Most Outstanding Player, according to a release. "I did not expect it at all.  It’s the greatest honor that I have had in my life, so I’m really proud.”

Missouri earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, though they were certain to receive an at-large bid had they lost.

The NCAA selection show will air at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU. Missouri could be chosen to host its four-team NCAA Regional.

The No. 2-seeded Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning inning but scored just one run when Micaela Minner earned an RBI-walk.

The Tigers scored again in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings on their way to the program's second Big 12 tournament title. Missouri also avenged two losses to top-seeded Oklahoma earlier this season that saw the Sooners overtake the Tigers for the Big 12 regular-season championship.

“I’m just really happy for our team," Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said in a release. "We let the Big 12 regular season title kind if slip through our fingers. This doesn’t totally make up for that, but it’s a good feeling because we wanted to compete against Oklahoma because they came into our home place and beat us twice. Trophy or no trophy we just wanted a chance to play them again." 

Andee Allen, who fueled Missouri's semifinal win over Baylor on Saturday, was 3-for-3 against the Sooners with an RBI.

Rhea Taylor also had multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Allen and catcher Megan Christopher joined Thomas on the All-Tournament team.


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