Junior Erica Sampson went 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBI to lead No. 16 Tulsa to a 9-3 win over Wichita State Tuesday evening at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
Sampson drove in three runs in the six-run third inning for the Golden Hurricane, which improved its record to 33-3. Sophomore Caitlin Sill (9-2) earned the win in the circle, and hit a two-run double as part of the big third inning. Jenni Brooks (2-1) took the loss for the Shockers (20-13).
Wichita State led off the first inning with a solo home run, and scored again in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead. The Hurricane then responded with six runs in the bottom of the third to open up a 7-2 advantage. TU added single runs in the fourth and sixth, while WSU scored again in the sixth to make the score 9-3.
Freshman third baseman Maggie Withee went 2-for-3 with two RBI on a triple and a double. Sophomore catcher Catherine Horner went 2-for-2 and scored twice and senior shortstop Jill Barrett was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and two runs.
The Golden Hurricane plays Central Arkansas at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
"We answered every time they scored early. I thought that was a key," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "When you score every time they score, it helps tremendously. Then we put a big inning on the board. That's kind of been the trademark of our team. We got things going, got a big inning, and it gave us a little breathing room."
Tulsa responded to the first-inning home run by WSU first baseman Cacy Williams, with an RBI single from Sampson in the bottom of the frame. Barrett and senior second baseman Shelby Blanton preceded Sampson's base hit with consecutive singles.
Wichita State broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the third when Williams walked and moved around to score on right fielder Paige Luellen's single.
Sampson had the first opportunity to answer for the Hurricane in the bottom of the third, and knocked her seventh home run of the season to right center, knotting the game at 2-2. Junior first baseman Julie Kernen and senior center fielder Cierra Hughes walked, and Horner singled to load the bases. Then Sill, batting in Withee's spot, lined a two-run double to right center to give TU a 4-2 lead.
With two out, Barrett was intentionally walked, filling the bases once again. Blanton greeted WSU reliever Sloan Anderson with a single to center field, scoring Horner. Sampson came back around and swatted a two-run single through the left side, plating Withee and Barrett to make the score 7-2.
Withee tripled to the right field fence in the fourth inning to score Horner, who walked. The freshman again drove home a run in the sixth, this time with a double off the glove of the diving third baseman to plate sophomore left fielder Jodi Edmiston, who led off the inning with a triple to right. Each of Withee's RBI came with two outs in the inning.
The Shockers scored their third run in the top of the sixth when Williams hit a two-out single to left with the bases loaded to score left fielder Brittany Fortner, who started the frame with a walk.
"Erica Sampson had a great day at the plate, a big 4-for-4 night. She hit that home run that tied the game," said Bargfeldt. "Shelby got a big RBI after they intentionally walked Jill. Sill had another key hit. I think it was still a tie game at that point, and she put us up 4-2. That spot in the order really came up huge. Sill gets a two-run double, Withee gets a triple with an RBI and a double again with an RBI. It was just a good team win today."
Sill pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four hits and three runs. Bailey Erwin worked the final 1.1 innings for the Hurricane.
"Wichita State swings the bats really well. As a pitcher, every time you go out, you're not going to have your best stuff – you're not as sharp, your location is not going to be spot-on every time out. (Sill) struggled with those things, but you have to give her credit," Bargfeldt said. "Against a very good hitting team, she hung in there gave us a lot of innings, and kept the game close until we were able to get the lead. From a pitching standpoint, it was important that she proved she can win when she doesn't have her best stuff."