By Karl Roskamp
With 1,540 people packed into University Field and many more watching the nationally-televised game, Chelsea Thomas pitched a no-hitter to lead No. 11 Missouri to a 2-0 victory in game one against No. 4 Tennessee.
“It’s pretty crazy. It was a really fun night. I’ll remember this night for a while,” Thomas said.
The game was her first solo no-hitter of the season and the eleventh of her career. The caliber of competition makes the performance even more special according to coach Ehren Earleywine.
“It’s as good as I can remember because Tennessee lights it up offensively,” he said. “It was in front of a nice crowd, and it was an important game. I thought it was extraordinary.”
Thomas shutout a Tennessee offense that averages 7.3 runs per game and has scored has 10 or more runs in 13 games this season. Thomas finished the complete game with three walks and seven strikeouts.
The Tigers took the lead in the second inning after left fielder Sarah Moore reached on an error. First basemen Kelsea Roth started the inning with a single to center and Brianna Corwin pinch run for her. After a stolen base and two outs, Moore hit the ball to shallow left field. Tennessee’s left fielder Melissa Brown botched the catch, allowing Corwin to score from second to give Missouri a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with an RBI single by Angela Randazzo.
“Adrenaline definitely takes over for the whole team,” shortstop Corrin Genovese said of playing the fourth-ranked team team in the country. “We came out fighting”
The second game could not have been more different. With Nicole Hudson and Lindsey Muller pitching, Missouri lost 10-1 in five innings as the run rule was enforced.
“Unfortunately, that game kind of served as a sacrificial lamb,” Earleywine said.
The second game was a makeup game for yesterday’s that was postponed due to rain. The announcement came that it would be played came midway through the first gamethough coaches were made aware of it an hour prior to the game.
After the Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, Tennessee’s offense took over. Third basemen Raven Chavanne had four hits including a two-run home run in the fifth inning to activate the run rule.
Hudson, who pitched a scoreless first two innings, ended up allowing six runs with nine hits and no strikeouts in four innings. Lindsey Muller pitched an inning in relief and gave up four runs on three hits.
For Tennessee, the Renfroe sisters, Ivy and Ellen, combined for six innings pitched, six hits, one run and two strikeouts.
The Tigers will face the Volunteers again in their final home game on Sunday at noon at University Field.
- Missouri’s Chelsea Thomas did not allow a single ball to reach the outfield during her start. She also had a five-pitch sixth inning where all three Tennessee hitters grounded out to her.
- Thomas’ most recent no-hitter prior to Saturday’s game was May 11, 2012.
- Tennessee’s Lauren Gibson hit a three-run home run in the third inning of Game 2. It was her 16th home run of the season, which ties her with Tonya Callahan for the single-season record
- Missouri’s Jenna Marston was the only Tiger not to strike out in the doubleheader. She finished 3-6 with three singles and a run.
- There is a third Renfroe sister named Anna who plays for Tennessee. She is a utility player.