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Originally published May 28, 2011 at 8:30 PM | Page modified May 29, 2011 at 7:25 PM

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Washington blanked in softball super-regional opener

Missouri's Chelsea Thomas pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout, striking out 13 as the fifth-seeded Tigers defeated the Huskies 4-0 Saturday in the first game of an NCAA super regional before a record crowd of 2,595 at University Field.

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NCAA super regional: Washington @ Missouri, 4:10 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. if necessary, ESPN2

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Washington softball team knows just how far a dominant pitcher can carry a team.

Its task now is to quickly come up with a formula to beat one.

Missouri's Chelsea Thomas pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout, striking out 13 as the fifth-seeded Tigers defeated the Huskies 4-0 Saturday in the first game of an NCAA super regional before a record crowd of 2,595 at University Field.

Washington (37-15), seeded 12th, must win twice Sunday to reach its goal of a third straight trip to the Women's College World Series.

"I think our team gets tougher in tough situations," said Huskies shortstop Jenn Salling. "If anything, we want tomorrow to come now."

Thomas, one of three finalists for USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year — won the past two seasons by former Huskies ace Danielle Lawrie — improved to 30-6 with the victory.

"We've got to score to win, so it doesn't matter if they scored four, five or 10. We have zero. We can't win," said Huskies coach Heather Tarr.

Thomas set the tone in the first inning by striking out the side. In the bottom of the inning, Missouri took advantage of a fielding error to score an unearned run.

Jenna Marston reached base on second baseman Maggie Wagner's error. Nicole Hudson followed with a double to left-center that moved Marston to third, and Marston scored on an infield ground out by Ashley Fleming for a 1-0 lead.

That was all Thomas needed.

She struck out seven of the first nine UW hitters before Kimi Pohlman, who entered as the Huskies' best hitter with a .435 average, singled up the middle leading off the fourth. Pohlman had both of the Huskies' hits.

"She (Thomas) does a really good job of establishing her zone early in the count and throws good pitches to hit early," said Pohlman.

Kaitlin Inglesby, the Huskies' starting pitcher and cleanup hitter, had a chance in the fourth to help her own cause. She drew a two-out walk, which placed runners on first and second. But Morgan Stuart grounded into a force play.

Inglesby (25-9) gave up five hits and four runs in six innings, walking three and striking out seven.

"I didn't really see anything different than what I've seen most of the year," said Tarr when asked about Inglesby's outing.

The Tigers raised their lead to 2-0 on Hudson's solo home run in the third inning, then scored twice in the fifth without a hit. Inglesby walked three in the inning, and two came around to score. Fleming drove in her second run with an infield out, and Marston scored on a wild pitch.

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