Top-seeded and 19th-ranked Tulsa advanced to the finals of the 2014 Conference USA Championship with a 7-1 win over fifth-seeded North Texas Friday evening at FAU Softball Stadium.
Senior Aimee Creger struck out eight batters and allowed three hits in 6.0 innings to improve to 26-1. Junior left fielder Erica Sampson went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to lead the Golden Hurricane (49-7). Six TU players scored a run and five players scored in the ballgame. Ashley Kirk (22-10) allowed four earned runs on five hits in 4.1 innings and took the loss for the Mean Green (31-22).
Tulsa will face Marshall in the championship game at 11 a.m. CT Saturday. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
TU is in the C-USA Championship finals for the fifth time in the last nine years. The Hurricane will play Marshall in the championship game for the third time. TU defeated the Thundering Herd 3-0 in 2006 and 3-2 in 2012.
Tulsa got on the board in the first inning when Barrett led off with a walk, was bunted to second and scored on Sampson's double down the left field line.
The Hurricane added three runs in the second to make the score 4-0. Hughes tripled to right field to start the frame and Edmiston walked. Withee popped a single to left center to plate Hughes, and Henshaw reached on a fielding error at first, allowing Edmiston to score. Withee crossed the plate on Barrett's sacrifice fly to right.
North Texas scored its run in the top of the third when catcher Bryana Wade walked, moved around on a bunt and wild pitch, and scored on a single through the left side by shortstop Brooke Foster.
Tulsa added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 6-1. Sampson ran all the way to third on a pop that was dropped in right field by the second baseman. Kernen was hit by a pitch and replaced on the bases by Emma Horton. Hughes and Edmiston then hit consecutive RBI singles to score Sampson and Horton.
Sampson homered to left center in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 7-1. It was her 11th home run of the season.