COLUMBIA – It took a a few extra innings, but the Missouri softball team closed out its regular season Sunday afternoon at University Field with a 1-0 walkoff victory over Oklahoma State.
Catcher Jenna Marston ended the mini-marathon with a sharp single up the middle in the 10th inning, plating sophomore Mackenzie Sykes, who scored the only run of the game from second base.
First baseman Kelsea Roth led the way for Missouri offensively. She tallied three of the Tigers' six hits raising her average to .284.
Chelsea Thomas' 10-inning complete game shutout notched her 23rd win of the season. The junior now sits at 23-7 (29 starts) with a team-leading 1.07 ERA and 262 strikeouts.
The bottom of Missouri's order, which has been inconsistently productive this season, went a combined 0-12 with three strikeouts in Sunday's win.
As if concluding the season with a three-game sweep in its last Big 12 series wasn't enough, Missouri decorated the victory with more accomplishments.
The victory for the Tigers (43-12, 17-7 Big 12) officially clinches sole possession of second place in the conference, pushing them ahead of Texas A&M. The finish was especially pleasing for Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine, who on numerous occasions has stated his disdain for the Aggies, though he declines to go into detail.
The victory also all but assures the Tigers will host a regional tournament for the fourth consecutive season, something Tiger ace Chelsea Thomas said she looks forward to.
"I love playing here," Thomas said. "We always get so many fans, and it really does make a difference, seeing all the black and gold around the softball field. It's really indescribable how it feels to be in the circle with all that black and gold around."
With Sunday's complete game, 13-strikeout performance, the redshirt junior became the Tigers' all-time leader in strikeouts with 898.
The Missouri faithful showed their appreciation for one of Missouri's all-time greats with a thunderous standing ovation right after the feat was announced over the loud speaker in the eighth inning.
The old record of 893 was set back in 1983 by Teresa Wilson.
The always-modest Thomas had little to say about the record after the game. She said she didn't even know she had broken the record until it was announced after she struck Oklahoma State's Ari Morrison.
"I did not know," Thomas said. "I usually can't count. I can't do that. I'm too focused on other things ... But I didn't really know until the announcement came up."
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder