The Tulsa softball team dropped its nonconference in-state showdown against No. 7 Oklahoma, 4-1, in front of a Collins Family Softball Complex record crowd of 1,200 Wednesday evening.
The Golden Hurricane (29-18) scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 4-1, but came up short against the Sooners (42-7). OU had scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and two runs in the top of the sixth to take a 4-0 lead.
Sophomore shortstop Shelby Estocado went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and a walk, and scored Tulsa's run. Junior left fielder Maddie Withee singled to right center in the sixth, sending Estocado from first to third base, but the throw from center to third went into the dugout, allowing Estocado to score and make it a 4-1 game.
TU senior Caitlin Sill (16-10) started and allowed two runs in 5.0 innings of work to take the loss. Oklahoma's Paige Parker (24-3) tallied nine strikeouts and two walks in the win. Tulsa totaled three hits and no errors, while OU totaled 11 hits and one error.
"We did a lot of things better today. I see improvement," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "I thought we competed well, but it was a huge momentum change for them to get out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam. Against a good pitcher like that, you have to make the pitcher pay for doing that. When it comes down to it, how do you beat a team that's in the top-10 in the country? You have to take advantage of what they're giving you, and we didn't do it tonight. Give them credit, they did come through with clutch hits. I thought we timed up a good pitcher several times. Sometimes the ball was right at people. Hopefully we can build on that and play even better this weekend."
Tulsa threatened to score first with the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning after a pair of walks to Estocado and second baseman Morgan Neal, and a safe fielder's choice grounder by Withee. Two straight infield groundouts, however, cut the runners off at the plate, and then a groundout to third ended the inning.
Oklahoma scored in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single by pinch hitter Macey Hatfield. In the fifth, center fielder Nicole Pendley tripled down the right field line, scoring first baseman Shay Knighten to make the score 2-0. In the top of the sixth shortstop Kelsey Arnold hit a one-out single and second baseman Caleigh Clifton beat out a grounder to first with two outs, and then three straight walks plated two runs to make the score 4-0.
Estocado also singled in the fourth, when she led off the inning with a hard liner to third for Tulsa's first hit of the game, but was stranded at second base.
Sophomore Lexi Blevins relieved Sill to begin the sixth inning and allowed two runs, two hits and had two strikeouts in 0.2 innings. Sophomore Emily Watson tossed the final 1.1 innings, striking out two batters and allowing one hit.
The Golden Hurricane plays host to UConn this weekend in the final conference series of the regular season. Game times are 5 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday at the Collins Family Softball Complex.