Missouri Softball

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COLUMBIA - The Tigers close out their regular season with a stretch of six straight home games, beginning on Wednesday, May 4 with a doubleheader against the Western Illinois Leathernecks to finish off the non-conference portion of their schedule. Game one starts at 3 p.m. CT, with the second game beginning at approximately 5 p.m.

Wednesday is Military Appreciation Day at University Field. Military personnel with a military ID will get free admission to University Field. The Tiger squad will also be wearing camouflage jerseys. Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch will be Master Sergeant Julie Hixson, while the National Anthem will be sung by Lieutenant Albers. The colors will be presented by the University of Missouri Air Force ROTC.

In the rankings this week, Missouri jumped back in the top-10 of the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll, moving up from 12th to ninth. It's the first time since the Feb. 15 poll that the Tigers have been in the top-10. Missouri still sits in fifth in the latest RPI poll, released last Wednesday. The Tigers are 17-5 this year against team's in the top-50 in RPI.

The Tigers took game one against No. 16 Oklahoma State on Saturday, while Sunday's contest was rained out. Chelsea Thomas completely shut down the Cowgirls on Saturday, facing just one batter over the minimum in her 10th complete game shutout of the year, improving to 23-4 on the season. She allowed just one hit - an infield single - while striking out 13. Nicole Hudson and Jenna Marston collected two hits each, while Princess Krebs hit her third home run of the season. Sunday's game was postponed due to rain with no makeup date announced at this time.

The Tigers have 17 shutouts on the year, 12 of which came the month of March. They are walking just 1.60 batters per seven innings, the best in the conference. The staff's .168 opponent batting average is best amongst Big 12 teams. The team is second in the league in strikeouts per seven innings, as they average 9.45, and is second in the conference with a 1.30 earned run average. The team's 1.04 ERA during conference play is the best in the league.

Western Illinois comes into the doubleheader with 19-23 overall record, but stand in fifth in the Summit League with a 14-10 record. They have won six of their last eight games and just took two out of three from South Dakota State last weekend.

The Leathernecks are strong at the plate, boasting a team batting average of .307. Erin Schlotfeldt leads the team in batting average (.419), home runs (seven), on base percentage (.479) and slugging percentage (.752). Five other regulars in the lineup are hitting over .300, including Jamie Goss, who is hitting .338 with six home runs and a team-high 46 RBI.

Missouri holds the series edge with a 23-4 record all-time against WIU. The Tigers have won five straight, which includes a sweep last season in Macomb, Ill. Mizzou won 5-1 in game one and 7-1 in the nightcap.