Missouri softball beats Kansas with walk-off home run

Friday, March 16, 2012 | 10:04 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – The Tiger softball team ended its first conference game of the season Friday night against Kansas on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The final score of the game was 10-0.

No, freshman pinch hitter Kelsi Jones didn't hit a 10-run home run. The Tigers scored enough to eclipse the NCAA's "eight-run rule," which ends the game if a team is winning by more than eight runs after the bottom of the fifth inning.

For Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine, Jones' home run was the cherry on top of a game that was "the best of our season so far."

"Fundamentally speaking, I was really proud," Earleywine said. "Three things: we threw strikes, we fielded ground balls and we swung at strikes. It's a pretty simple game."

It's even more simple when your starting pitcher is an all-American like Chelsea Thomas.

Thomas (9-1, 0.62 ERA) was unhittable for the first 4 1/3 innings of the game. She finally surrendered a single in the fifth, but quickly retired the next two batters to get out the inning. She threw 5 2/3 innings of the six-inning game not allowing a runner to reach second base.

Thomas was able to get comfortable early because her team gave her a big lead. The Tigers notched one run in the first and tallied five in the second, jumping out to a 6-0 lead. From that point on, Thomas cruised and delivered Missouri (18-3, 1-0 Big 12) its first conference victory of the season.

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