No. 20 USF scored two runs in the first inning, and the score held as the Tulsa softball team fell, 2-0, Friday evening in Game 1 of its American Athletic Conference series at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
The Golden Hurricane fell to 28-12 overall and 5-5 in conference play, and the Bulls improved to 40-11 overall and 12-1 in league play.
The Withee twins each had a single, the only two hits in the game for TU. Third baseman Maggie Withee singled through the right side of the infield in the fifth inning and left fielder Maddie Withee lined a base hit to center field to lead off the seventh inning.
Caitlin Sill (15-5) took the complete-game loss for the Hurricane, allowing two runs on six hits. USF starter Erica Nunn (23-7) went 6.1 innings in the win, allowing two hits. Susan Wysocki got two outs in the seventh inning before Nunn re-entered for the final out.
Both teams had two runners on base and no outs in the first inning. USF scored two runs in the frame on an infield single and a double steal.
“I think we got better in our at bats as the game went on,” Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. “We had the exact same situation they had in the first inning, and they put a ball in play where we couldn’t throw the runner out at the plate. It just came down to executing little things. (Nunn) is one of the top pitchers in the conference, and when you get a chance to execute on her, you just have to. The trend was that we had better at bats as the game went on, and we hope the trend continues tomorrow, and we get a little better offensively. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a lot of live pitching, so hopefully we get better.”
USF second baseman Kristen Wyckoff led off the game with a short base hit down the third base line, and center fielder Juli Weber followed with a walk. With two outs, Nunn singled into the hole between shortstop and third base to score Wyckoff. With runners on first and third, Weber beat the throw back to home plate on a double steal play, before TU retired the batter for the final out in the inning.
Maggie Withee led off the bottom of the first with a walk, and second baseman Morgan Neal followed with a bunt, reaching first safely when the throw to second was not on time. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third, a pop out to second and a strikeout ended the threat.
Tulsa had another scoring opportunity in the fifth inning. Designated player Kaitlin Allen drew a one-out walk and first baseman Jocelyn Sheffield reached on a fielder’s choice. Following a wild pitch, Maggie Withee singled for Tulsa’s first hit, placing runners at first and third with two out. A pop out to second, however, ended the inning.
Maddie Withee led off the seventh with a line drive into center field, and Allen drew a one-out walk, before a foul out and a strikeout ended the game.
Sill scattered four hits and held the Bulls scoreless through the final six frames while battling out of two bases-loaded situations. USF had bases loaded with two out on two walks and a single in the fourth inning, and three walks in the seventh inning, but a fly out ended the threat each time.
The Hurricane and Bulls will be back at it for Game 2 on Saturday. First pitch is 2 p.m. at the Collins Family Softball Complex.