Thomas, Earleywine Head Mizzou Big 12 Honors
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Big 12 champion Missouri softball team toook home a host of Big 12 honors on Tuesday. Head coach Ehren Earleywine was named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the second time, while sophomore standout pitcher Chelsea Thomas was named the conference's Pitcher of the Year.
Earleywine led the Tigers to a 46-7 regular season record and a Big 12 title. The Tigers are currently the fifth overall seed entering the NCAA softball tournament.
Thomas posted a 27-5 record on the season with a 0.81 earned run average. She threw two perfect games during the regular season and participated in a third along with fellow pitcher Kristen Nottelmann.
Catcher Megan Christopher was also named the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, four Tigers earned first team All-Big 12 honors: Thomas, third baseman Nicole Hudson, shortstop Jenna Marston and second baseman Abby Vock.
Not to be outdone, senior Lisa Simmons was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career, while Thomas was named the Pitcher of the Week for the sixth time this season. Simmons hit .667 for the week over a span of three games. Most notably, she blasted a key two-run home run to put Missouri ahead of Oklahoma State after the Tigers were down 1-0.
Mizzou opens postseason play on Friday with Illinois State at 6:30 p.m. CT in the first game of the NCAA Regionals, to be played at University Field in Columbia.