May 4, 2013
TULSA, Okla. - In chilly and windy Oklahoma conditions, No. 24 Tulsa took a pair of games from Southern Miss on Saturday in the final regular season series of the year at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
Aimee Creger struck out 13 and Tulsa (40-13-1, 18-5 C-USA) scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings to defeat Southern Miss 8-0 in the series opener. Freshman Sarah Evans continued her hot-hitting streak for the Golden Eagles (14-39, 4-17 C-USA) and got her third double in the last four at bats, but the team went hitless the rest of the way.
The loss snapped a three-game C-USA winning streak for the Golden Eagles, their longest as a program since 2011 when the team swept UTEP. It was the first time the team had won three games over two C-USA series matchups since 2010.
The Golden Eagles opened up the nightcap with a solo homer from Mackenzie Sher in the first inning which snapped a 23 inning shutout streak for the Golden Hurricane, but Tulsa rallied with three runs in the second and six runs in the fourth to pull away 9-1. However, the Golden Eagles rallied back to make it 9-4 in the fourth but couldn't managed to close the gap any further. The four runs were the most Tulsa had allowed since falling 4-3 to Houston nine game ago on April 20.
Southern Miss is back on the diamond tomorrow for the final game of the series with a Noon first pitch.
To get the most up-to-date information on Southern Miss Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @USMSoftball, get live stats via the Gametracker platform from SouthernMiss.com, or like Southern Miss Softball on Facebook.
After going scoreless through the first inning, Tulsa took advantage of two walks and a fielder's choice in the second to put runners on the corners for Cierra Hughes. A ground out from Hughes to the shortstop Morgan McKeever put the Golden Hurricane on the board before a solo homer from Julie Kernen in the third made it 2-0.
Southern Miss broke Tulsa starter Aimee Creger's hitless bid in their side of the third as freshman Sarah Evans, who reached on two of her three at-bats for the day, got her third double in her last four at bats but was stranded in the inning.
Tulsa built their lead by way of a three-hit, three-run fourth inning including a two-out, two RBI triple from Caitlin Everett to make it 5-0.
The Golden Hurricane created a run-rule situation in the fifth as Kernen belted her second homer of the game before three singles and a double made it 8-0.
Creger ended the game retiring nine of the final 10 batters by way of strikeout and ended the game with 13 total. In the process, she bested her own single-season school-record mark for strikeouts and finished the opener with 262 on the year.
Kaitlin Wilson (4-12) suffered the loss on 4.2 innings of work, surrendering 11 hits and four walks while striking out one. Creger (23-5) allowed just one hit in the shutout and walked a pair of Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss got the scoring going in the nightcap as Mackenzie Sher squared up Lacey Middlebrooks two-out offering and lined it over the left field fence for her ninth homer of the year.
Tulsa responded in the second with a homer of their own, this one a two-run shot from Cassidy Bowen. The two-out roundtripper was a liner into left field after Shelby Blanton reached one batter earlier on a fielder's choice. Everett reached via a walk on the next at bat before stealing second and coming in on a Jill Barrett infield single to make it 3-1.
After a scoreless third, the Hurricane exploded for six runs in the fourth highlighted by a two-out two-run double from Catherine Horner to make it 9-1.
With just three outs remaining before another run-rule situation, the Golden Eagles rallied for a three-run fifth to continue the game at 9-4. Evans began the inning with a lead-off walk and advanced on a McKeever fielder's choice. With two on, Sher picked up her second RBI of the game on a double to the right center gap put runners at second and third.
After Tulsa elected to pull starter Lacey Middlebrooks in favor of freshman Caitlin Sill, Sill's first pitch was in the dirt to allow for a runner to score on the wild pitch to make it 9-3 before a Taylor Beck ground out plated the third and final run of the inning.
Southern Miss managed a single the rest of the way but Tulsa was able to hold on to get Sill her second save of the year.
Kimberly Wagner (6-8) suffered the loss while Middlebrooks moved to 13-4 on the year.
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