Junior catcher Catherine Hornerand sophomore third baseman Maggie Withee each hit two-run home runs, but the Tulsa softball team fell to Iowa, 7-6, Wednesday at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
The Golden Hurricane (16-10), which played its first home game of the season in its 26th contest, tallied eight hits and eight walks, and was propelled by a four-run fourth inning. The Hawkeyes (9-20) scored five runs in the fifth inning, including four on consecutive home runs, and had two other single-run frames. Tulsa left nine runners on base in the game, including two innings with the bases loaded.
Tulsa opens its first season of American Athletic Conference play this weekend, when it plays host to Memphis for a three-game series Saturday and Sunday at the Collins Softball Complex. The teams play a doubleheader Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m., and a single game at noon Sunday.
"We did some things very well today. It was a situation where some balls were falling in - two hits falling just behind the pitcher's head - and I told the team there were some things that didn't fall our way. In a close game that was enough for them to get the victory," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "(The home runs were) something that has been uncharacteristic of Bailey (Erwin) so far. She's been pretty good about hitting her locations, and a couple of pitches got away from her. I thought we were swinging the bats well today. We drew eight walks. But we left too many people on base for us to come through with the victory."
Iowa got on the board first with a solo home run by center fielder Sammi Gyerman in the top of the third inning. Tulsa responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to knot the score at 1-1. Senior right fielder Erica Sampson, Horner and senior first baseman Julie Kernen hit three straight singles to load the bases. Sophomore designated player Brittany Walker then reached on an error by the shortstop, scoring Sampson from third. A fielder's choice groundout and a strikeout, however, left the bases loaded.
The Hurricane took a 5-1 lead with four runs in the fourth inning, both on homers by Withee and Horner. Junior second basemanKaitlin Allen, who singled and walked twice in the game, drew a base on balls and freshman shortstop Shelby Estocado reached on a fielder's choice to the pitcher. Withee followed with her second homer of the season, a blast off the building in right field. Sampson walked, and Horner launched her first homer of the season over the left field fence.
The Hawkeyes then took a 6-5 lead in the top of the fifth, scoring on an RBI single by second baseman Claire Fritsch, and back-to-back home runs ¬- a three-run homer by Gyerman, and a solo homer by shortstop Megan Blank.
Tulsa tied the score at 6-all in the bottom of the sixth when Horner drew a two-out walk and scored on Kernen's double into the gap in right center. Iowa scored the winning run on a bases-loaded walk in the top of the seventh. TU earned a two-out walk in the bottom of the inning, but was unable to push the tying run across the plate.
TU starter senior Bailey Erwin (8-4) recorded a career-high eight strikeouts, but took the loss for the Hurricane. She pitched to all but two batters in the game. Freshman Emily Watson entered in relief with one out and one on in the seventh and allowed a walk and a single, but was hit by a line drive on the single and left the game two pitches later, giving way to Erwin re-entering the game.
Iowa reliever Shayla Starkenburg (7-12) pitched the final 3.2 innings and allowed one run on one hit to earn the win. Starter Ashley Yoways pitched 3.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits.