The University of Tulsa softball team opens American Athletic Conference play this week with a three-game series at Houston, Thursday through Saturday, at Cougar Softball Stadium in Houston, Texas.
The Golden Hurricane (21-5, 0-0 American) and Cougars (14-13, 0-0 American) play at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and at noon Saturday. The Hurricane has won six games in a row, and 10 of its last 11 games, while UH has won five of their last eight games. TU is receiving votes in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 polls.
Live stats and live video for all three games will be available through Houston's website. The live video stream requires a subscription.
Tulsa and Houston have played 31 times. Houston leads the series, 16-15. The Cougars won two of three regular-season meetings in Tulsa last season, and the Hurricane won in the semifinals of the American Conference Championship. TU won twice at the NCAA Waco Regional in 2014, and the Cougars won three of four meetings in 2013 while Tulsa won three of four meetings in 2012. The last series in Houston was played in 2013 when UH won two of three games. Tulsa is 2-9 all-time at Houston.
The Hurricane is led by junior left fielder Maddie Withee, who hits .316 and had a team-high 28 RBI with five doubles and three home runs. Freshman designated player Julia Hollingsworth leads TU with a .400 batting average and has tallied 13 RBI and 15 runs. Junior third baseman Maggie Withee hits .370 with 25 runs, six doubles, 15 walks and a .469 on-base percentage. Freshman second baseman Morgan Neal hits .343 with 11 RBI and 16 runs. Sophomore shortstop Shelby Estocado hits .333 with six home runs, four doubles, 18 RBI and 24 runs, and leads TU with a .158 slugging percentage. Senior first baseman Jocelyn Sheffield has put up 23 RBI, four home runs and four doubles, and hits .313, as TU has six players in its lineup hitting .300 or better.
The reigning American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week senior Caitlin Sill leads Tulsa in the circle with a 0.96 ERA and an 11-1 record. She has allowed a .195 opponent batting average, 11 earned runs and 57 hits in 80.0 innings. Sophomore Emily Watson is 7-4 with a 1.69 ERA, has 84 strikeouts and has allowed 14 earned runs on 44 hits and a .202 opponent batting average in 58.0 innings.
Tulsa is hitting .305 with 161 runs, 141 RBI, 35 doubles, 15 home runs, seven triples, a .442 slugging percentage and a .393 on-base percentage. The Hurricane pitchers have posted a combined 1.78 ERA with 146 strikeouts in 169.0 innings and allowed a .220 opponent batting average, 142 hits and 43 earned runs.
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