The Tulsa softball team earned three top Conference USA specialty awards, as Jill Barrett was named the Player of the Year and Aimee Creger the Pitcher of the Year, while coach John Bargfeldt was voted the C-USA Coach of the Year, the league office announced Wednesday. The all-conference teams were selected in a vote by the league's head coaches.
Barrett and Creger are joined on the All-C-USA first team by fellow senior Haley Henshaw and junior Julie Kernen. Freshman Jill Roye was selected to the All-C-USA second team, while Roye and Maggie Withee were named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team.
Creger is the top pitcher in Conference USA for the second consecutive season, while Bargfeldt was selected as the league's Coach of the Year for the third time, also picking up the honor in 2011 and 2012. Barrett and Creger are both three-time First Team All-C-USA selections, and were preseason honorees for their respective awards.
In his ninth year at Tulsa, Bargfeldt led the Golden Hurricane to its fifth C-USA regular season championship and a current No. 19 national ranking. TU posted a program-best 47-7 overall record with a 19-4 conference mark during the regular year. Bargfeldt has compiled 346 victories (346-167-1) at Tulsa, and this year led the team to its fourth straight 40-win season.
Barrett is a shortstop from Greenwood, Ark., who ranks 12th in the nation and leads C-USA with a .453 batting average. She has also recorded a nation-best 87 hits this season, along with 51 runs, 26 RBI, 14 extra base hits, a .578 slugging percentage and a .498 on-base percentage. She hit .405 with 25 runs scored and 11 RBI in 23 conference games. Barrett has recorded 27 multiple-hit games, and is the only active NCAA player with 300 career hits.
Creger, a native of Yukon, Okla., ranks second in the NCAA and leads C-USA with 293 strikeouts and 11.9 strikeouts per seven innings. She boasts a 24-1 record, including an 11-0 mark in conference play, and has struck out 133 batters in 74.0 innings in 14 league appearances. She has also tossed 10 shutouts in 28 starts overall, allowing a .138 opponent batting average in 172.0 innings this season. Creger threw three no-hitters this year, and was named C-USA Pitcher of the Week six times.
Henshaw is a senior right fielder from Catoosa, Okla. She hit .383 with 17 RBI and 13 runs scored, along with three doubles, two triples and three home runs and a .650 slugging percentage in C-USA play this year. She has totaled 33 RBI and 16 extra base hits and scored 27 runs with a .323 batting average in 53 games overall. Henshaw was a Second Team All-C-USA selection in 2013.
A junior first baseman from St. Louis, Mo., Kernen had an outstanding conference season. She hit .423 with 28 RBI, seven doubles, six home runs, a .904 slugging percentage and .500 on-base percentage, and scored 13 runs in 23 games. Overall, she leads the team with 39 RBI, 16 doubles and a .594 slugging, and has hit seven homers and scored 23 runs in 42 starts at first base. Kernen was an All-Freshman Team selection in 2012.
Roye, who is a freshman designated player from Red Oak, Okla., is one of 25 finalists for the Division I National Freshman of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. She hit .346 with 32 RBI and six home runs, compiling a .558 slugging percentage and a .438 on-base percentage during the regular season. She hit four home runs and tallied 11 RBI in league play.
Withee, a freshman third baseman from Arlington, Texas, has played in all 54 games with 53 starts at third base this season. She boasts the second-best batting average on the team, hitting .346, and has scored 26 runs, while tallying three doubles and three triples this year. She hit .362 with a .403 on-base percentage in 23 C-USA games.
This is the fourth time Tulsa has placed four softball athletes on the Conference USA first team, and the seventh time it has produced two All-Freshman Team members.
Barrett is Tulsa's first C-USA Player of the year since Lauren Lindsay (2007-10) won the award in 2010. TU has produced the C-USA Pitcher of the year for three straight seasons, as Lacey Middlebrooks (2011-13) shared the award in 2012 before Creger earned the honor in 2013.
The top-seeded and 19th-ranked Golden Hurricane (47-7, 19-4 C-USA) opens the C-USA Championship against eighth-seeded Charlotte at 3 p.m. CT Thursday at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.