COLUMBIA — For two years in a row, Missouri's Chelsea Thomas was acknowledged to be the best pitcher in the Big 12 Conference. Move her to a new conference, and the result is no different for the fifth-year senior.
Tuesday, Thomas was named the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year.
Thomas has had a strong final season, posting a 1.25 ERA and a 20-4 record in 28 starts. What perhaps sealed the deal for Thomas was her performance Saturday when she pitched a no-hitter against the then-No. 2 Tennessee. Thomas has thrown a total of 14 no-hitters in her career as a Tiger, including four perfect games.
"I was just so proud of just the way she pitched,” Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said after Saturday's game.
Thomas' battery mate, catcher Jenna Marston, also received SEC honors Tuesday, being named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Marston, an industrial engineer major, has a cumulative 3.99 GPA while also being a starter for most of her time as a Tigers player.
“You’re not going to meet a nicer human being than J.J., a 4.0 student and a baseball IQ that’s really off the charts," Earleywine said of his catcher earlier in the season. "She's a dream player."
Thomas and Marston both were named to the First Team All-SEC and Thomas was also named to SEC All-Defensive team.
Tuesday, Marston, Thomas and the rest of the Tigers head to Lexington, Ky., for the SEC Tournament, which begins Wednesday. Missouri's first game of the tournament will be against Arkansas at 3 p.m. Thursday on ESPNU.
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.