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Softball Caps Kick-Off Classic with 2-1 Win over Northern Illinois

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Feb. 9, 2014

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - Junior Bailey Erwin earned the complete-game win and junior Erica Sampson recorded the game-winning RBI to lead Tulsa past Northern Illinois, 2-1, Sunday at the FAU Kick-Off Classic at FAU Softball Stadium.

With the win, the Golden Hurricane capped a 4-1 opening weekend at the Kick-Off Classic. TU defeated St. John's 5-1 and Ohio State 1-0 (8 inn.) on Friday and No. 18 Louisville 3-0 on Saturday, and fell to host Florida Atlantic 1-0 (8 inn.) Saturday night.

Erwin (2-0) picked up her second victory of the weekend with the seven-inning performance in which she allowed three hits and one earned run with a pair of strikeouts and no walks. Senior Aimee Creger went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored a run in the second inning, and freshman Maggie Withee drove her home with an RBI base hit.

In the bottom of the seventh, the first two Hurricane batters reached on errors. Maggie Withee found the initial base safely on a fielding error at first base, and freshman Maddie Withee reached safely on an error when attempting a sacrifice bunt. Senior Shelby Blanton bunted the two runners to second and third, and senior Jill Barrett was intentionally walked, loading the bases with one out. Sampson was then hit by a pitch, driving home the winning run.

"Today was kind of like most of the games that we had this weekend," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "We had trouble generating offense, but defense and pitching kept us in long enough that we were able to get a couple of runs. Aimee Creger came through with a couple of hits. That's kind of how the weekend went, pitching and defense carried us through while we were waiting for the bats to come alive."

Jessica Sturm went the distance in the loss for the Huskies (2-3). Nicole Gremillion went 2-for-3 and scored the lone NIU run on a squeeze bunt by Shelby Miller.

Northern Illinois scored in the top of the first inning when Gremillion led off with a double down the left field line and scored on consecutive sacrifice bunts Ashley Kopp and Miller.

Tulsa tied it up in the bottom of the second when Creger hit a one-out single through the left side, and scored from second on a two-out base hit by Withee.

TU started the season with a 4-1 record on opening weekend for the first time in the Bargfeldt era. The Hurricane started the season 5-1 in 2012, but was 2-1 on the opening weekend, and began 2006 4-1, but was 3-1 on the first weekend. The last time a TU team won as many as four games on the first weekend of play was 2002, when it won all five games in the tournament.

"I think we played pretty well," said Bargfeldt. "Coming out of a 4-1 weekend, we're pretty happy with it. We looked at a lot of different players. We were able to accomplish that, and still go out and win. I think it's the first time we've been 4-1 on opening weekend in quite a while, if ever."

The Golden Hurricane returns to action next weekend, Feb. 14-16, at the Aggie Classic in College Station, Texas. TU plays McNeese State and Oregon State on Friday, and the same two opponents Saturday, before facing the host Texas A&M on Sunday. The Hurricane plays at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, and at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday.

Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane. Follow Tulsa Softball on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaSoftball and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaWSoftball.

Tulsa 2, Northern Illinois 1 (Feb. 9, 2014 at Boca Raton, FL)
Northern Illinois... 100 000 0 -  1  3  4
Tulsa............... 010 000 1 -  2  4  2
Pitchers: Northern Illinois - STURM and NAEGELE. Tulsa - Erwin, Bailey and Sampson, Erica.
Win-ERWIN, Bailey  Loss-STURM  T-1:30  A-0