Right fielder Haley Henshaw's two-run home run in the second inning and first baseman Julie Kernen's solo home run in the fourth inning was enough offense as Bailey Erwin went the distance giving up two runs and No. 17 Tulsa (25-3) defeated Bradley (10-16) 8-2 on Wednesday at the Collins Softball Complex.
Erwin (9-0) pitched 7.0 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. Shortstop Jill Barrett led the Golden Hurricane with a 3-for-4 performance with two runs scored and an RBI, while catcher Erica Sampson and Henshaw, who added three RBIs, both added two hits.
"I think it was real important to get out to the lead early and that seemed to relax us," TU coach John Bargfeldt said. "It was important for us to get a couple runs in that first inning and we kept scoring. That was the key. Haley came out in the second inning and had that big home run for us that put a couple more on the board. We answered when they scored.
"Bailey pitched a great game. She got in trouble in that one inning, where she kept the ball over the plate. I liked the solid effort and I liked the way we came out and put a lot of runs on the board."
Designated player Catherine Horner's RBI groundout to the shortstop scored Barrett to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the first inning. Left field Jodi Edmiston reached on an error by the shortstop to score second baseman Shelby Blanton to give Tulsa a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
The Golden Hurricane added two runs in the bottom of the second inning as Henshaw hit a two-run home run to center field for a 4-0 lead.
Julie Kernen led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run to left field to give the Golden Hurricane a 5-0 lead. Sampson's RBI single drove in Barrett for a 6-0 lead, but Sampson was trying to advance to the next base as the throw from center field was cut off by Bradley's first baseman who threw out Sampson at second base to end the inning.
Bradley scored its only two runs in the top of the fifth inning to cut TU's lead to 6-2. After a groundout, the next two batters reached on a single to put runners on first and second with one out. The next batter grounded out to second base for the second out to move the runners to second and third. The next batter hit a single up the middle that scored both runs of the game for the Braves.
Tulsa added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning for an 8-2 lead. After a fly out to start the inning, the Golden Hurricane hit back-to-back singles by Edmiston and by third baseman Maggie Withee to put runners on first and second with one out.
After a fly out for the second out of the inning, designated player Kaitlin Allen singled to the second baseman to load the bases. Henshaw delivered with a single to the right side to drive in Edmiston for a 7-2 lead. Barrett added another run for a Tulsa 8-2 lead after a single to left field that scored Withee, but a groundout to second base left the bases loaded for the Hurricane.
Bradley had a couple of chances to score runs early in the game. The first batter for the Braves reached to third base by a single and a throwing error that allowed her to get to third with no outs. Erwin struck out the next three batters, including the last two batters looking, to end the Braves threat in the top of the first inning.
The Braves also threaten in the top of the second inning with runners on second and third with two outs, but a groundout to third base ended Bradley's threat.
Jaelen Hall (2-9) picked up the loss pitching 5.0 innings, giving up eight runs, six earned, on 10 hits, while Aly Spinas-Valainis pitched the final inning giving up one hit. At the plate, Kelly Kapp led the Braves with a 2-for-3 performance with one runs scored, while Alyson Clemente recorded the only two RBIs of the game for Bradley.
The Golden Hurricane hosts Charlotte this weekend in Tulsa's conference home opener with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. and one game on Sunday at noon.
"Charlotte is a team that we don't know that much about," Bargfeldt said. "That was good that we were playing Bradley because we didn't know much about them either. It doesn't change our approach no matter who were are playing and that's one thing we've talked about it and this was good practice to what's coming up this weekend."