Senior Haley Henshaw's solo home run and sophomore Catherine Horner's walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave No. 18 Tulsa a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Houston the opening game of the NCAA Waco Regional Friday at Getterman Stadium.
The Golden Hurricane (51-7) trailed 1-0 entering the seventh inning when Henshaw hit a one-out shot over the right field fence to tie the game. Three batters later, Horner drilled a single over the left fielder's head, scoring senior Jill Barrett for the winning run. Senior Aimee Creger struck out 13 batters and allowed just two hits in the complete-game victory to improve to 28-1 on the season. Deidre Outon (15-10) pitched 6.1 innings and took the loss for the Cougars (32-22).
Tulsa will play regional host and No. 13 national seed Baylor at noon Saturday.
"I thought we played a great game. Aimee was outstanding," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "I'm just really proud of the team and how they stepped up in that last inning. We were down to two outs, and we've been there before in that situation. Throughout this year, I feel like this team has had that attitude that they aren't giving up. They concentrate and get great at-bats. Obviously that was the key here."
The left-handed Henshaw pulled her eighth homer of the season and cut it through a wind that was blowing in from left all day to leave park over the right field fence.
Barrett, who finished the game 3-for-3, followed the homer with an infield base hit to short. Senior second baseman Shelby Blanton singled to right, and junior left fielder Erica Sampson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Horner then drove a 3-2 pitch into deep left field, allowing Barrett to trot home.
"I just knew that all we needed was a base hit," said Horner. "I relaxed and wasn't afraid to swing. I put a good swing on it, and that was the key."
Through 4.1 innings, Creger had allowed no hits and struck out seven batters. Houston third baseman Jordan Rains squibbed a single off the end of the bat for the first UH hit of the game. Following a hit batter, shortstop Selena Hernandez hit a hard single to left center, scoring Rains to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
Tulsa put a runner on base in every inning, and moved a runner to third base in the first and sixth frames, but could not cross the plate until the seventh.
The Hurricane won its regional opener for the fourth time in seven tries. TU will attempt to go 2-0 in an NCAA regional for the first time when it faces Baylor on Saturday.
"When you get that first win momentum can build like it did last week (at the Conference USA Championship)," Bargfeldt said. "It can keep you going. The first game of any tournament has that little bit of nervous energy. Just keeping that momentum is important."