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SPORTS: University of Tulsa

No. 18 Golden Hurricane Softball Sweeps UCF

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TULSA -

Aimee Creger pitched a one-hit gem and Tulsa scored seven runs in the fifth inning to complete its Conference USA series sweep of UCF with a 7-0 victory Saturday afternoon at the Collins Family Softball Complex.

Creger (15-2) struck out 11 batters for the second straight outing against the Knights, and allowed just two walks in the game. Shortstop Samantha Cobb knocked in the first two runs with a single and left fielder Cierra Hughes added a three-run double to lead the 18th-ranked Golden Hurricane (29-7-1, 9-0 C-USA).

Tulsa and UCF were locked in a scoreless tie through four innings before the Hurricane broke it open in the fifth. TU sent 13 batters to the plate and scored five of the seven runs with two out.

Cobb lined a 3-2 pitch into right center field for a base hit, scoring center fielder Caitlin Everett and third baseman Jill Barrett, who singled and doubled, respectively, to start the inning. Designated player Lacey Middlebrooks and right fielder Haley Henshaw walked to load the bases, but an infield fly and strikeout threatened to end the rally early. Catcher Cassidy Bowen, however, reached on a fielding error at short, allowing Cobb to score, and Hughes flew a double off the centerfielder's extended glove in left center, clearing the bases.

Everett kept the inning going with a walk and Barrett sent Hughes home with a single through the hole between first and second base to make the score 7-0.

Creger struck out the first six batters of the game, and retired the first nine batters she faced. The Knights (18-20, 1-11 C-USA) got their first baserunner in the fourth inning on a walk by centerfielder Maddy Schroeder, and two batters later third baseman Farrah Sullivan lined the first hit into right field. Schroeder reached third on the single and a fielder's choice groundout, but Creger got a strikeout to the next batter to end the frame.

A walk in the sixth inning, and a hit batter in the seventh provided the only other baserunners of the game for UCF.

Knights starter Mackenzie Audas (7-12) took the loss for UCF after pitching 5.0 innings and allowing seven runs on seven hits. Only two of the runs were earned, and she walked six.

Tulsa threatened to score in three of the first four innings, putting runners in scoring position in each frame.

Barrett, who ended the day 3-for-3, singled to right and Middlebrooks drew a walk in the first inning. In the third, TU loaded the bases when Everett was hit by a pitch, Barrett reached on a sacrifice bunt with a throwing error, and Middlebrooks walked for the second of three times in the game. In the fourth, second baseman Shelby Blanton lined a double off the top of the fence in left and moved to third on a ground out.

The Golden Hurricane returns to action Tuesday when it plays host to Wichita State at 6 p.m. at the Collins Family Softball Complex. TU also plays host to Louisiana-Lafayette at 6 p.m. Thursday before embarking on a trip to East Carolina for a three-game C-USA set next weekend on April 6-7.

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