Senior Aimee Creger struck out 12 in a five-inning no-hitter, and Tulsa scored 10 runs in the first inning on its way to a 13-0 victory to complete its Conference USA series sweep of UTEP Sunday afternoon at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
Creger's no-no was her second of the season and the sixth of her career. She allowed one walk, and recorded two groundouts and a flyout as she improved her record to 15-1. The Golden Hurricane (32-3, 9-0 C-USA) scored 10 runs on nine hits in the opening frame, and added three more runs in the third. TU extended its winning streak to 14 games.
Senior second baseman Shelby Blanton, senior center fielder Cierra Hughes and sophomore left fielder Jodi Edmiston all homered for TU. Eleven different Hurricane batters got a hit in the game, including all nine starters. Hughes and junior first baseman Julie Kernen each had three RBI, while Blanton and Edmiston drove in two runs apiece.
Senior shortstop Jill Barrett went 1-for-3 in the contest to break the Tulsa career hits record. She now has 284 career hits, surpassing the previous record of 283 set by Caitlin Everett (2010-13) and tied on Saturday. Barrett has hit safely in nine consecutive games.
Colleen Hohman (3-6) took the loss for the Miners (12-24, 4-8 C-USA). Danielle Pearson entered in relief to start the second inning and went 2.0 innings, and Jade Rodriguez pitched the fourth stanza for UTEP.
"I think Aimee got better as the game went on, and it was just another dominating performance," Tulsa coach John Bargfeldt said. "Her ball was jumping pretty good. She just tickles the top of zone a lot. Some of (the pitches) will stay there, and some of them will jump out. She did a good job of toying with that part of the zone all day. She keeps it on the edges too, so now you have two edges to worry about as a hitter. When she's on like that, she's awfully tough to center up."
Blanton put Tulsa on the board in the first with a solo home run to left center, her second of the season. Junior left fielder Erica Sampson followed with a line-drive double to left center and scored on Kernen's base hit to right center. Edmiston then launched her fourth homer of the year, a two-run shot to center field, making the score 4-0.
Hughes beat an infield single out of the pitcher's reach, and sophomore catcher Catherine Horner reached on an error at third base. Freshman third baseman Maggie Withee then lofted a single down the line in left to plate Hughes. Senior right fielder Haley Henshaw then drew a walk to load the bases, and Barrett sent a single through the left side to plate Horner and extend the lead to 6-0.
Withee scored on a sacrifice fly by Blanton, and Sampson's single to left sent home Henshaw. Kernen then doubled to score Barrett and Sampson, giving TU a 10-0 lead. A flyout to center ended the first inning.
Blanton led off the third inning with a base hit up the middle and Edmiston drew a two-out walk before Hughes hit a shot over the fence in right to make the score 13-0. It was her second career homer – both hit this season.
Sampson, Blanton and Hughes each went 2-for-3 and scored twice in the contest. Henshaw singled in the second inning and Horner got a base hit in the third frame. Freshman Jill Roye and sophomore Jocelyn Sheffield each had a pinch-hit single in the game.
"The one thing we talked to the team about yesterday, is we didn't feel like we centered the ball up as well as we had been. Today that was a different story," said Bargfeldt, "with Shelby Blanton right out of the shoot and Jodi Edmiston – both of them catching balls in the first inning and driving them out of the ballpark. You look down the stats and see that every starting player had at least one hit. Again, we had good balance all the way through. A key was not being satisfied with just that first inning. We kept getting good at bats after that."
Creger tossed two shutouts in the series against UTEP, recording 29 strikeouts in 12 innings. She struck out 13 batters in six innings Wednesday at Missouri State, totaling 42 strikeouts in 18.0 innings of work this week. Tulsa kept UTEP off the scoreboard in all three games this weekend, and has shut out six of its last seven opponents, allowing only one run in that span.
The Golden Hurricane returns to action this week with a pair of home midweek games. TU plays host to Wichita State at 5 p.m. Tuesday and Central Arkansas at 5 p.m. Wednesday.