COLUMBIA, Mo. - Senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas out-dueled Hofstraâ??s Olivia Galati, the nationâ??s wins and strikeouts leader, to advance the sixth-seeded Mizzou softball team to the NCAA Columbia Regional championship game with a 1-0 victory over the Pride on Saturday at University Field. The Tigers (37-11) play again Sunday at 1 p.m. against a team to be determined. Hofstra (44-12) will take on Oregon at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Thomas scattered eight hits and walked two, but struck out seven to improve to 23-4 on the year. The win was also her sixth complete game shutout of the season.
Hofstra threatened to take an early lead in top of the first inning. Designated player Chloe Fitzgerald and center fielder Tessa Ziemba singled and second baseman Tori Rocha earned a walk to load the bases with no outs. Hofstra catcher Erin Trippi hit into a fielderâ??s choice where senior Princess Krebs nailed the runner at the plate to keep Hofstra off the board. Thomas then responded with consecutive strikeouts to close out the inning.
Timely hitting got the Tigers on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. Krebs reached on an error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Carlie Rose. With two outs, freshman Emily Crane smoked a single to center. The throw to the plate sailed high and Krebs easily scored the eventual game-winning run.
The Pride had scoring chances in the top of the fifth and the sixth, but Thomas came away unscathed, including a strikeout of Trippi with runners on the corners to end the top of the fifth. In the sixth, Galati lined a single to left with a runner on second but senior Nicole Hudson gunned Hofstraâ??s Caryn Bailey at the plate to end the inning.
Thomas worked around a leadoff single and an error in the top of the seventh to close out the Pride.