Jodi Edmiston, Shelby Estocado and Catherine Horner each drove in two runs and Emily Watson pitched a six-hit shutout to lead the Tulsa softball team to a 9-0 (6 inn.) win at American Athletic Conference foe UConn Sunday afternoon at Burrill Family Field.
The Golden Hurricane completed the weekend sweep, after winning, 5-2 and 8-0 on Saturday. TU concludes the regular season with a 34-17 record overall and a 12-6 mark in American Conference play, while the Huskies fell to 18-34 overall and 4-13 in league play. Tulsa is on a five-game winning streak, and will meet UConn again Thursday in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Championship at the UCF Softball Complex in Orlando, Fla.
Watson (8-4) struck out four batters to pick up her eighth win and her fourth shutout of the season, while UConn starter Lauren Duggan (10-15) allowed four runs on six hits in 4.0 innings to take the loss.
Horner was 3-for-3 with the two RBI and scored a run, completing a weekend in which she went 8-for-10 at the plate with four extra base hits, six RBI and four runs scored. Estocado was 2-for-3 with a two-run home run and three runs on Sunday. The homer was her sixth of the season.
“We played a really clean game, in all phases,” Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. “We got a shutout from our pitcher, and put a lot of runs on the board. Cat Horner had a great weekend all the way around. The defense was solid – we played a game with no errors. It's just what you like to see out of a team as a coach.”
Tulsa broke a scoreless tie with a run in the third inning, and then scored three runs each in the fourth and fifth innings, and added two more runs in the sixth. Horner hit a one-out double down the right field line in the third, and put the Hurricane on the scoreboard when Julie Kernen reached on an error at first base.
Estocado led off the fourth inning with a single through the left side, and scored on a two-out base hit by Maggie Withee. Erica Sampson drew a walk, and Horner doubled home the two baserunners with a shot down the left field line, making the score 4-0.
In the fifth, Maddie Withee, Estocado and Kate Myers drew consecutive one-out walks to load the bases, and Edmiston drove home two runs with a double down the left field line. Sampson then plated Myers with an RBI fielder's choice.
Kaitlin Allen pinch hit to lead off the sixth inning and reached on an error at short, and Estocado's two-run homer to left field made the score 9-0.
Tulsa and UConn will play at 12:30 p.m. CT Thursday in the second game of the quarterfinals. The contest will be broadcast on the American Digital Network.
“We have some momentum going in (to the conference tournament),” Bargfeldt said. “You know you still have to play like you've been playing the last few games, with that focus and determination and playing together as a team. It's good to see that we're doing that and not have to correct something. We just have to work on keeping it going.”
Tulsa Softball Earns No. 2 Seed in American Conference Championship
The Tulsa softball team will be the No. 2 seed in the American Athletic Conference Championship, set to take place May 7-9 at the UCF Softball Complex in Orlando, Fla.
The Golden Hurricane (34-17, 12-6 American) will open the tournament against No. 7-seed UConn (18-34, 4-13 American) at 12:30 p.m. CT Thursday in the quarterfinal round. The game will be broadcast on the American Digital Network, which can be found at TheAmerican.org. Tulsa swept UConn in the final regular season series this weekend in Storrs, Conn.
The winner of the Tulsa-UConn contest will meet the winner of No. 3-seed Houston (27-26, 10-7 American) and No. 6-seed Memphis (19-33, 6-12 American) in the semifinal round at 2 p.m. CT Friday. Houston and Memphis open the tournament at 10 a.m. CT Thursday.
Host UCF (46-7, 16-2 American) is the top seed in the tournament, and receives a first round bye. The Knights will play in the second semifinal at 4:30 p.m. CT Friday against the winner of No. 4-seed East Carolina (16-36, 7-11 American) and No. 5-seed USF (35-19, 6-10 American). ECU and USF play the final game of the first round at 3 p.m. CT Thursday.
The championship game will be played at noon CT Saturday, and will be televised by ESPN2. All three Thursday games, and the two semifinals on Friday will be broadcast on the American Digital Network.