Chelsea Thomas Top 25 Finalist for Player of the Year

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OKLAHOMA CITY - University of Missouri senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas has been named a Top 25 finalist for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) and USA Softball announced Wednesday. In its 12th year of recognizing outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players, the award has narrowed its field to 25 players from an original watch list of 50.

The Tigers' ace has been a force to be reckoned with in her final Mizzou season, pitching to a 14-3 record with 131 strikeouts. Her school-record total of strikeouts surpassed the 1,000-strikeout barrier against Evansville on March 13 and currently stands at 1,073. Thomas has compiled 101 wins as a Tiger, with her next pitching victory tying her for No. 1 all-time at Mizzou.

The two-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year (2011, 2012) ranks in the top five in school history in career appearances (fourth - 144), complete games (fourth - 86), innings pitched (third - 829.0), shutouts (third - 41) and winning percentage (third - .783). Additionally, Thomas was recognized as a CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American last season.

Thomas' inclusion in the 2013 Top 25 marks her third career USA Softball Top 25 recognition. Thomas was one of three overall finalists for the award in 2011 and also advanced to the final 25 finalists last season.

The Tigers next host Southeastern Conference opponent Arkansas for a three-game weekend series, Friday, April 12-Sunday, April 14. The Sunday game at 2 p.m. will be televised nationally on ESPNU. The Friday and Saturday games are scheduled for 6 p.m. and 2 p.m. starts.