The Tulsa softball team will play host to American Athletic Conference rival Houston for a key three-game series this weekend, with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday and single game at noon Sunday at the Collins Family Softball Complex. The series opener on Saturday at 1 p.m. will be televised on ESPNU.
The second-place Golden Hurricane (29-15, 8-4 American) has won six games in a row, including a three-game sweep at East Carolina two weeks ago in its last conference series, and wins over Big 12 foes Oklahoma State and Kansas last week. The third-place Cougars (22-23, 7-4 American) won all three games in its series at UConn last weekend.
Live audio and live stats for all three games, as well as live video for the final two games, will be available on TU's website.
Tulsa hits .303 (364-for-1200) with 235 RBI, 259 runs, 63 doubles, 14 triples and 41 home runs, and has a .482 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage with 163 walks. The Hurricane has a 2.65 team ERA with 235 strikeouts, 99 walks, 281 hits, 132 runs and 111 earned runs allowed, and has a .253 opponent batting average.
Houston is hitting .281 with 225 runs, 199 RBI, 54 doubles, nine triples and 36 home runs, a .437 slugging percentage and a .383 on-base percentage. The Cougars have a 4.02 team ERA with 117 strikeouts, 115 walks, 362 hits, 209 runs and 170 earned runs allowed, with a .299 opponent batting average in 296.0 innings.
Six Tulsa players hit better than .300, led by senior Julie Kernen, who hits .353 with 53 RBI, 10 home runs, 14 doubles and 31 runs scored. Sophomore Brittany Walker is hitting .360 with 25 RBI, 21 runs, a .640 slugging percentage and 13 extra base hits. Senior Erica Sampson hits .358 with 50 runs, 27 RBI and 19 extra base hits. Sophomore Maddie Withee hits .319 with 17 RBI and 15 runs, sophomore Maggie Withee hits .317 and has scored 35 runs, and junior Kaitlin Allen hits .306 with 11 RBI and 11 runs.
In the circle, freshman Emily Watson leads the Hurricane with a 2.37 ERA. She is 7-3 with three shutouts, 70 strikeouts to 30 walks, and has allowed 69 hits and 26 earned runs in 76.2 innings. Junior Caitlin Sill is 8-9 with a 2.50 ERA, and has thrown 103.2 innings in 22 appearances with 15 starts. She has allowed 43 runs, 37 earned runs on 93 hits, with 67 strikeouts and 41 walks. Senior Bailey Erwin is 14-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 25 appearances and 15 starts. She has 97 strikeouts to 25 walks, and has allowed 114 hits and 42 earned runs in 110.0 innings.
Tulsa and Houston have met 27 times. Houston leads the series, 14-13. The Golden Hurricane won both meetings last year, in the NCAA Waco Regional, 2-1 and 10-6. The teams last met as conference foes in 2013, when the Cougars won two of three games in Houston, and one in the Conference USA Tournament in Tulsa. The Hurricane won two three games at home in 2012, and one in the C-USA Tournament in Birmingham. All 27 meetings have come since 2006. TU is 8-5 all-time vs. Houston in Tulsa.