No. 23/23-ranked Tulsa will open up the double-elimination NCAA Norman Regional Friday against Arkansas at 11:30 a.m. at Marita Hynes Field on SEC Network. The matchup marks a rematch from earlier in the season between the Hurricane and Razorbacks as both home teams came away with wins in the two-game series.
The regional marks the ninth NCAA appearance for the Hurricane (39-15 Overall), who have played six of those nine in Norman including 2009 when Arkansas, Oklahoma and North Dakota State were all present in the regional. Tulsa owns a 9-16 record in regional play dating back to their first-ever appearance in 2006, reaching the winner-take-all final game in two appearances and most recently in
Tulsa will play their second game of the regional on Saturday with a time to be determined by Friday's results.
Game 1 - #23/23 Tulsa vs. RV/RV Arkansas - 11:30 a.m. - Live Stats/SEC Network
Game 2 - Oklahoma vs. North Dakota State
Game 3 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 - 1:30 p.m.
Game 4 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 - 4 p.m.
Game 5 - Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3 - 6:30 p.m.
Game 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 - 1:30 p.m.
Game 7 - If Necessary - 4 p.m.
The Hurricane are in a familiar position heading into the NCAA Norman Regional for the sixth time in nine tournament appearances and second consecutive season. Tulsa, Oklahoma, Arkansas and North Dakota State were all present in the 2009 Norman Regional with the Hurricane earning a walk-off win over Oklahoma to advance to the title game against NDSU.
LAST TIME OUT VS. ARKANSAS
TU split the two-game season series against the Razorbacks with both home teams walking away with victories. In game one at Tulsa, the Hurricane picked up an 8-0 five-inning win behind 4.1 innings of perfect softball from Emily Watson as she struck out eight while Rylie Spell knocked in a career-high five runs. In game two, Tulsa tossed three pitchers throughout the evening in a 3-1 loss.
Tulsa climbed back into the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll after dropping out for a week before shutting out both opponents in the conference tournament. The Hurricane rank 23rd in the Coaches Poll to go along with another 23rd ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll after jumping a spot up from 24 last week.
Emily Watson needs 26 strikeouts to pass three-time All-American Aimee Creger (354, 2014) for the most strikeouts ever by a Tulsa pitcher in a single season. Watson passed Creger in most shutouts after picking up two at the conference tournament while dropping her ERA below one at 0.96, the best by a TU hurler.