Julie Kernen and Brittany Walker each recorded five RBI to lead the 25th-ranked Tulsa softball team to two wins at the Baylor Invitational on Saturday, as it defeated North Texas, 6-3, and Abilene Christian, 10-0, at Getterman Stadium.
The senior first baseman Kernen went 4-for-8 with a home run and five RBI on the day, while the sophomore right fielder Walker was 3-for-7 with five RBI and her first career home run. Junior center fielder Jodi Edmiston tallied three hits, three RBI and scored three runs for the Golden Hurricane, which improved to 9-5 with the victories.
Tulsa scored six runs on six hits to come from behind in its win over North Texas. After the Hurricane got on the board with a run in the top of the first, the Mean Green scored twice in the third inning and took a 3-1 lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth. TU then went ahead, 4-3, with three runs in the sixth and added two more runs in the seventh inning.
Kernen was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, and Walker hit a two-run triple and scored in the game. Junior center fielder Jodi Edmiston went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored, and sophomore third baseman Maggie Withee scored twice. Senior Bailey Erwin improved her record in the circle to 5-1 with six strikeouts and two earned runs allowed on six hits in 5.1 innings. Junior Caitlin Sill threw a perfect final 1.2 innings to pick up her second save of the season.
Freshman Emily Watson (2-1) tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout and struck out seven to lead the Hurricane against Abilene Christian. After scoring a run in the third inning, Tulsa plated five runs in the fourth and added four runs in the top of the seventh frame. Kernen and Walker each drove in three runs in the game, while Edmiston had two RBI and scored twice. Walker and junior catcher Catherine Horner also scored two runs apiece.
“We're pleased with how the hitters finally broke out. Most of all, I'm proud of the team for bouncing back from a couple of tough losses yesterday.” Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. “Even falling behind in that first game, not quitting, not giving up. Down 3-1 and you've got your last two at bats coming up, the team never quit.
“Our pitchers did great again today. I think what's important is that we're not giving up many freebies. We only walked two hitters all day. All weekend, they kept us in a situation where we were competitive. They kept us close in all the games, and finally we did break through.”
Edmiston singled home Withee in the top of the first inning to give Tulsa a 1-0 lead over North Texas. Trailing 3-1 after five innings, Walker came up with a big two-out two-run triple to tie the game, and scored on an infield single by freshman shortstop Shelby Estocado. Walker's triple scored Edmiston and freshman Kate Myers, who drew a walk. Kernen gave the Hurricane some cushion with a two-run blast in the top of the seventh.
North Texas scored two runs in the third inning on an RBI triple by shortstop Kelli Schkade and an RBI single by left fielder Taylor Schoblocher. UNT then added an unearned run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Schoblocher. Mean Green starter Monique Garcia (1-4) took the loss after allowing five runs on five hits and six walks in 6.0 innings.
Tulsa started the scoring in its second game with an RBI base hit by Estocado that scored Myers, who played second base in the game. The Hurricane extended its lead to 6-0 on Abilene Christian with five runs in the fourth inning, fueled by Edmiston's two-run homer and a two-run single by Kernen. Walker followed Edmiston's blast with a single to center, and scored after a sacrifice bunt and RBI single to left by sophomore designated player Maddie Withee. Estocado walked, and Kernen lined the ball into left just past the extended glove of the shortstop to drive home Withee and Estocado.
Senior left fielder Erica Sampson led off the top of the seventh with a double and scored on a single to right by Kernen. Horner and Edmiston drew walks, setting up Walker's homer over the wall in left center field that made the score 10-0.
Watson retired the first seven Wildcats she faced, and then scattered four hits over the next four innings, before sitting down the final four batters of the game to preserve her first career complete-game shutout. Abilene Christian starter Julia Montoya (1-3) took the loss after allowing five runs in 3.1 innings.
The Golden Hurricane returns to action next weekend, Feb. 27-March 1, with its first home games of the 2015 season. TU plays host to the Tulsa Invitational, welcoming Creighton, Nebraska, North Texas and Northern Iowa to the Collins Family Softball Complex. Tulsa plays its home opener on Friday against Northern Iowa at 2:30 p.m., and Creighton at 4:45 p.m. The Hurricane then plays Nebraska Saturday at 12:15 p.m., and North Texas on Sunday at 1 p.m.