Mizzou Softball Wins Pitcher, Defensive Player of the Year Awards
COLUMBIA -- The Missouri softball program captured a pair of the major Big 12 yearly awards while also putting six on the 2012 All-Big 12 teams, as announced Tuesday afternoon by the conference office. Mizzou has now had six All-Big 12 selections in three of the last four years, as it matched that total in both 2009 and 2011. The awards and all-conference selections are voted on by all nine Big 12 softball coaches.
Redshirt junior Chelsea Thomas was named the conference's Pitcher of the Year for a second straight season, becoming just the second player in Big 12 history to win this award more than once. She led the Big 12 with a 1.08 earned run average in 20 conference appearances and posted an 11-6 record while leading the league with 160 strikeouts. She allowed only two home runs in conference play and recorded a league low .168 batting average allowed while leading the conference with three saves in Big 12 games.
Corrin Genovese earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in her first year of collegiate softball, marking the second straight season and second time overall that a Mizzou player has won this award. Genovese spent time at second and third base before settling in as the team's shortstop later in the season. She made just two errors in 90 chances during conference play for a .978 fielding percentage. Megan Christopher was co-Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Thomas and five other Tigers earned All-Big 12 honors, with three being placed on both the First and Second Teams. Joining Thomas on the First Team were Ashley Fleming and Mackenzie Sykes, while Nicole Hudson, Jenna Marston and Kelsea Roth were Second Team honorees.
Fleming was selected to the All-Big 12 team for the third consecutive year and earned First Team recognition for the second time in her career. In conference this season, Fleming is hitting .333 (23-for-69) with three doubles, seven home runs, 18 runs and 24 runs batted in. Sykes has emerged as the team's starting center fielder this year and broke out in conference play on her way to her first All-Big 12 award, hitting .333 (16-for-48) with nine runs scored, a pair of homers and eight driven in.
Hudson and Marston each earned All-Big 12 honors for the third time in their respective careers, while Roth, a freshman, was picked for the first time. Hudson (16-for-63) and Marston (17-for-67) each hit .254 in conference this season. Hudson scored 10 runs, hit four homers and drove in 12, while Marston scored 24 runs, doubled three times and drew 20 walks while posting a .990 fielding percentage behind the plate. Roth hit .270 in the Big 12, adding three home runs, four doubles and 15 RBI.
Since Ehren Earleywine took over as head coach of the Tigers in 2007, Mizzou has had 33 All-Big 12 selections. The Tigers open postseason play this Friday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. CT against the Illinois State Redbirds at University Field.