Missouri hosting Washington in softball Super Regional

Nicole Hudson celebrates with her teammates after hitting a two-run home run during regional action against Hofstra last Sunday in Columbia.

Nicole Hudson celebrates with her teammates after hitting a two-run home run during regional action against Hofstra last Sunday in Columbia. Photo by The Associated Press.

Another year, another Super Regional.

The Missouri softball team will look to advance to the College World Series for the fourth time in five years when it opens up Super Regional play against Washington today (8 p.m. ESPN-TV) at University Field in the first game of a best-of-three series.

It’s the fourth straight season Missouri has hosted a Super Regional and the sixth straight season the Tigers have made it this far. That includes a victory against Washington two years ago.

Just as it has been all season, the Tigers will likely ride the arm of senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas. Thomas went 2-0 in Missouri’s regional last week, picking up a pair of wins against Hofstra.

The SEC Pitcher of the Year finished the year with a 1.14 ERA and a 24-4 record. She allowed just 30 earned runs and five home runs.

Missouri, the No. 6 overall seed, tried to rest Thomas as much as possible in the regional, but Hofstra defeated Missouri 10-0 in what was an elimination game for Hofstra. That forced Thomas to return for a winner-take-all game Missouri won 5-0.

The Tigers have a balanced attack on offense this season as nine players are hitting above .300. Nicole Hudson and Kelsea Roth have 16 home runs each. Angela Randazzo leads the team with 47 RBI.

The Huskies, who have been to Super Regional in eight of the last nine seasons, defeated Portland State and Hawaii (twice) to make it to Columbia. They counter with the third-best offense in the Pac 12. Washington, seeded No. 11, hit .315 this season as a team and features six batters with an average higher than .300. They are led by outfielder Victoria Hayward’s .371 average.

Washington pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby was fourth in the Pac 12 this year with a 1.92 ERA. She tossed a two-hitter in a 2-0 victory against Hawaii in regionals.

Game 2 is set for 5 p.m. Friday (ESPNU-TV) and if necessary Game 3 would be at 8 p.m. Friday (ESPN-TV).

The College World Series begins May 30 in Oklahoma City.

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