March 07, 2011
It doesn't garner a lot of headlines, but Missouri's best team doesn't play on a football field or a basketball court. No, the Tiger softball program is the best Mizzou has to offer right now.
Coming into this year, Ehren Earleywine's squad has been in back-to-back Women's College World Series. But this team might be his best yet.
The Tigers have won four straight games over Missouri State and UMKC by a combined score of 31-0. They are now 11-3 on the year. And, yes, you read that right, Mizzou's pitchers haven't given up a run in their last four games.
In fact, they haven't given up much of anything. Chelsea Thomas, who missed most of last season with an injury, has thrown two perfect games in a week. The last Tiger to throw a seven-inning perfect game before Thomas was Karen Snelgrove back in 1991. Thomas has an earned run average of 0.60 and has 57 strikeouts and five walks in 35 innings this season.
Not to be outdone, Kristin Nottelmann, who made a name for herself as the Tigers' ace after Thomas' injury last season, moved her record to 6-and-0 this season with four one-hit innings against UMKC. Oh, by the way, Nottelmann threw a no-hitter earlier this week as well.
Over the last six games, Thomas and Nottelmann have given up eight hits, three walks and one run. Total. That's an ERA of 0.19.
The Tigers were No. 17 in the country in the most recent rankings. Look for that to go up. And look for Missouri softball to continue to carry the banner for Mizzou in relative obscurity.