The Tulsa softball team dropped both games of Saturday's American Athletic Conference doubleheader to Houston, 5-4 and 7-3, after the Cougars took the lead in the seventh inning of each game at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
The Golden Hurricane fell to 29-17 overall and 8-6 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Cougars improved to 24-23 overall and 9-4 in league play. The series finale is at noon Sunday.
Tulsa led 4-2 after five innings of Game 1, before Houston scored three runs in the final two innings, including two runs in the seventh, to take a 5-4 lead. The Cougars scored six runs in the seventh inning of Game 2 to move ahead, 7-2.
"I told the team: that was a team I didn't recognize," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "We went into the last inning of both games with a chance to close it out in the seventh inning, and for some reason, I saw some tentative play out of infielders, and in some cases with pitchers, that I hadn't seen in quite a while. I didn't think there was any reason to be nervous in that situation. I told them when you don't know why, you just have to flush it out, get rid of it, and come back tomorrow. You can't do anything about it. But, we've had adversity before, and we'll see how they bounce back. That's the only thing you can do at this point."
Tulsa's Game 1 starter Caitlin Sill (8-10) struck out four batters and allowed four earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings, while Houston pitcher Shelby Miller (6-7) went the distance, allowing four unearned runs on five hits. Tulsa Game 2 starter Emily Watson (7-4) pitched 6.0 innings, allowing four earned runs on nine hits, and UH's Julana Shrum (10-9) allowed three runs on nine hits in a complete game. TU senior Bailey Erwin relieved in both games, getting the final two outs in the opener, and allowing two unearned runs after entering in the seventh inning of Game 2.
Tulsa took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 1 when sophomore third baseman Maggie Withee reached on a bunt single, and ran all the way around the bases when the throw from the catcher sailed into the right field corner. Senior catcher Erica Sampson, who led off the inning with a single through the left side, also scored on the play.
Houston made the score 2-1 in the top of the second inning on a solo home run by Miller. The Cougars tied the score in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by shortstop Selena Hernandez.
The Hurricane re-took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, when junior designated player Catherine Horner and senior first baseman Julie Kernen walked and both moved around to score on a dropped pop up by the right fielder.
Houston first baseman Courtney Klingler doubled in the sixth inning, and pinch runner Jaylin Baldridge scored on a wild pitch to make the score, 4-3, TU. In the seventh inning, an RBI single by Miller, and an RBI fielder's choice by Shrum gave UH the 5-4 lead.
Tulsa threatened in the home half of the seventh, but was unable to produce the tying run. Horner drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a pair of passed balls, but two pop outs and a fly out to right ended the game.
The Golden Hurricane got on the board first in Game 2 with an RBI double by Kernen in the third inning, plating junior left fielder Jodi Edmiston, who led off the inning with a bunt single. Houston tied the score in the top of the fifth when left fielder Kaylin Crumpton was hit by a pitch and moved around to score on a groundout by Miller.
Tulsa regained the advantage in the bottom of the sixth on freshman second baseman Kate Myers' solo home run to left field. Her second homer of the season made the score 2-1.
Houston's six-run seventh gave the Cougars a 7-2 lead. Center fielder Katie St. Pierre reached on an error and scored on Crumpton's RBI single, and Hernandez homered to right center. Miller singled, and pinch runner Courtney Mica scored on a bases-loaded walk. Shrum and Klingler then scored on a grounder to short when the throw home sailed to the backstop.
Tulsa got a run back in the bottom of the seventh when Kernen drew a one-out walk, moved to third on pinch hitter Jocelyn Sheffield's double to right center, and scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore center fielder Maddie Withee.