Erica Sampson went 4-for-5 with four RBI to lead an offensive onslaught as No. 18 Tulsa staved off elimination with a 10-6 win over Houston Saturday evening in the NCAA Waco Regional at Getterman Stadium.
The Golden Hurricane (52-8) advances to the final round of the regional, where it will face Baylor at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Sampson got the scoring started with a two-run home run over the 220 sign in straightaway center field in the top of the first inning. From there, the Hurricane plated a run in every inning, including two runs in the fourth and seventh frames.
Nine of Tulsa's 14 hits went for extra bases. Sampson and Catherine Horner each homered and doubled, while Shelby Blanton, who was 3-for-5 with two runs, doubled and tripled. Leadoff hitter Jill Barrett went 2-for-4 and scored twice, as the top four hitters in the TU lineup combined to go 11-for-19 with seven RBI and scored eight runs, including seven extra base hits.
The Cougars (33-23) attempted to keep the pace, scoring in every inning except the fifth and seventh frames. The score was tied at four through three innings before the Hurricane scored twice in the top of the fourth and again in the fifth to pull out to a 7-5 lead.
Caitlin Sill (11-3) allowed one hit in 4.0 innings of relief to earn the win for Tulsa. Deidre Outon (15-11) pitched 3.2 innings in relief for Houston and took the loss.
Tulsa is playing in the final round of the regional for the third time in program history. The Hurricane will have to defeat Baylor twice to advance to the Super Regional. TU also played in the regional finals in 2009 and 2011.
Hurricane Falls To Baylor
Tulsa fell short against 13th-seeded Baylor 2-1 Saturday afternoon in the winner's bracket game of the NCAA Softball Waco Regional at Getterman Stadium.
As a result, the Golden Hurricane (51-8) played the evening elimination game against Houston.
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Tulsa threatened after a leadoff double, but left runners at second and third to end the game. The Hurricane scored a run in the second inning, and Baylor took the lead with two runs in the fourth inning.
Senior Aimee Creger (28-2) struck out six and allowed two unearned runs on six hits to take just her second loss of the season. Whitney Canion (28-9) allowed a run on five hits with five strikeouts to earn the win for Baylor (44-13).
Tulsa struck first with a run in the top of the second inning when senior center fielder Cierra Hughes drove a one-out triple over the head of the center fielder. The hit scored junior first baseman Julie Kernen, who reached with a single to left field.
Baylor responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Left fielder Linsey Hays reached on an error with two out, and third baseman Sarah Smith lined a single to second base to put runners at first and second. Shortstop Jordan Strickland and designated player Liz Paul then hit back-to-back RBI bloop singles into left center to plate two runs.
The Bears threatened again in the fifth inning when it had runners at second and third with one out. TU, however, got out of the inning when Creger got a punch out and induced a fly out to right.
In the seventh, the Hurricane tried to erase a one-run deficit in its last at bat for the second straight game. Sophomore designated player Jodi Edmiston led off the frame with a double to right center, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Senior shortstop Jill Barrett, who singled to center in her previous at bat, was intentionally walked with two outs following a hard line out to first. Barrett stole second to place runners at second and third, but Canion got a strikeout on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.