After losing its second-round game to DePaul on Saturday in the softball regional Missouri was hosting at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, coach Ehren Earlywine’s Big 12 champions found themselves with their backs to the wall facing elimination.
To advance to next weekend’s Super Regional round, the Tigers, seeded fifth overall in this year’s NCAA Softball Championship, had to get by DePaul, the team that defeated MU on Saturday. One win wasn’t going to do it, however. The Tigers had to sweep a pair of games from the Blue Demons on Sunday to survive and play on.
Missouri escaped elimination in its second regional matchup with DePaul with a 7-3 victory, which set up a winner-take-all championship final.
Led by All-America candidate Chelsea Thomas’ no-hit pitching performance, the Tigers made sure there was no doubt in the second game with DePaul on Sunday, posting an 8-0 shutout in a six-inning run-rule contest. It marked Thomas’ fourth no-hitter of the season, giving her a 29-6 record on the year.
By winning, Missouri gets to host one of the eight Super Regionals, where the fifth-ranked Tigers will take on the 12th-ranked Washington Huskies. The winner advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Four other Big 12 teams also earned berths in the NCAA Softball Super Regionals: Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma all won regional titles over the weekend. O-State is the only team among the four that will be hosting a Super Regional. The three other conference schools will go on the road, with Texas A&M drawing the most difficult assignment paired against No. 1-seeded Arizona State in Tempe.