COLUMBIA — Chelsea Thomas, the Missouri softball team's ace pitcher, started all three games of Missouri's series at Texas, and it's safe to say that she saved her best performance for last.
After giving up five earned runs in the first game Thursday and three in the next game on Friday, Thomas struck out nine Longhorn hitters Saturday afternoon in Austin, Texas, to lead the No. 12 Tigers to a 2-0 victory against No. 3 Texas and 2-1 series win.
Thomas limited the Longhorns to five hits and notched nine strikeouts on Saturday, giving her 161 on the season, good for third in the Big 12.
Senior outfielder Ashley Fleming launched her team-leading eighth home run of the season in the third inning of Saturday's game, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Thomas (16-4, 0.97 ERA) has become accustomed to making multiple appearances in a series, but this was the first time this season she was asked to start three games in a row.
In total against Texas, Thomas threw 352 pitches in 19 innings, tallying an entire baseball game’s worth of strikeouts with 27.
The win, along with Texas A&M's loss to Iowa State, pushes Missouri (30-6, 9-3) into a second place tie with Texas behind Big 12-leading Oklahoma with 15 games left to go in the Tigers’ conference schedule.
The Tigers will return to Columbia for their next contest against Northern Iowa (27-9) on Wednesday. Northern Iowa is undefeated in the Missouri Valley Conference.