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Softball Completes Sweep of UCF with 8-2 Win

Junior Christian Timmons recorded two hits and two RBI to help the Golden Hurricane to an 8-2 win over UCF Sunday afternoon.
Junior Christian Timmons recorded two hits and two RBI to help the Golden Hurricane to an 8-2 win over UCF Sunday afternoon.
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March 8, 2009

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TULSA, Okla. - Down 2-1 in the sixth inning, The University of Tulsa softball team scored seven runs in the bottom of the frame to take an 8-2 lead and complete the three-game sweep of UCF Sunday afternoon at the Donna J. Hardesty Sports Complex.

As it has several times this season, the Golden Hurricane (15-5, 3-0 C-USA) used a big inning to overtake its opponent, this time scoring seven runs on seven hits, with the help of a couple of errors, to defeat the Knights (14-12, 0-3 C-USA).

Junior catcher Christian Timmons went 2-for-3, walked once and had two RBI and scored a run, while senior left fielder Brooke Smart went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Senior pitcher Katie Lee (4-2) scattered seven hits, and allowed two earned runs and struck out four, allowing zero walks to earn the win. Tulsa recorded 10 hits in the ballgame, its third straight with double-digit hits, and committed no errors for the fourth consecutive game. UCF starter Ashleigh Cole was saddled with the loss, and falls to 8-4 on the season.

"It was an awfully good weekend in terms of the at-bats we had," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "We didn't strikeout again today, and we didn't strike out much at all this weekend. We played our fourth straight game without an error. We played a whole conference series without an error. So, in that phase of the game, we looked really sharp. That's what we always talk about - four phases of the game: baserunning, hitting, pitching, and then defense. We try to go out and win each phase, and this weekend we did a lot of things right."

Tulsa scored a run in the bottom of the first inning when junior right fielder Lauren Lindsay singled to open the inning, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Timmons walked, and with one out, junior first baseman Vanessa Vice reached first when the third baseman failed to pick up the ground ball hit to her. All three base runners advanced a base, and Lindsay scored when another Cole pitch went in the dirt and got away from the catcher.

Lee stymied the UCF bats for the most part of the first three innings, allowing just two singles. In the fourth, the Knights got three basehits to plate two runs. First baseman Breanne Javier led off with a single and was followed by another single by center fielder Vanessa Perez. The runners advanced to second and third on a ground out, and with two outs, right fielder Mary Helen Tyler singled to dead center field, driving home the two runs.

After the first inning, the Golden Hurricane could only muster two more singles and two walks through the fifth inning. In the sixth, however, the bats came alive as TU exploded for seven runs and seven hits.

"Every time you see a pitcher, you get a little more educated on what she's trying to do to you," Bargfeldt said. "One of the things we tell our hitters is to make adjustments. Sometimes it takes one time around the order, sometimes it takes two. But that's one thing I'm glad to see about our hitting, is we seem to be able to make adjustments to the pitchers that are throwing, the more we see them."

Smart led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to right center, and was followed by a bunt single by sophomore designated player Lauren Menke. Freshman center fielder Jessica Stoelke grounded into a fielder's choice, but no play was made and all the runners were safe, loading the bases. Sophomore Kelly Chapman pinch hit for senior third baseman Stephanie Chomicki and hit a ground ball to the shortstop who overthrew the catcher trying to get the force out at home. Smart and Menke scored on the play and Chapman and Stoelke advanced to second and third base, respectively, giving TU the lead again at 3-2. Chomicki re-entered the game as a pinch runner at second base.

Freshman second baseman Skylar Swanson singled to right centerfield, scoring both Stoelke and Chomicki to push the score to 5-2. Lindsay then doubled to left center to put runners on second and third and Timmons followed with a double to centerfield, scoring Swanson and Lindsay, still with no outs in the inning and Tulsa leading 7-2. After a pop up, Vice hit the ball hard back to the circle, and it bounced off the pitcher's extended glove, enabling Vice to reach on the base hit and Timmons to move to third.

Smart then came up and got her second hit of the inning when she singled back up the middle to drive home Timmons and give the Hurricane an 8-2 lead after six innings.

After UCF scored two runs in the fourth inning, Lee allowed one double in the sixth, in which the runner advanced to third before TU retired the side. She also allowed one single in the seventh, but the runner was retired on a line drive straight to Vice who was standing in the baseline just left of the bag, and simply tagged out the runner for the double play. The final batter popped up to short, giving Tulsa the 8-2 win and series sweep.

"She pitched a real good ballgame against a team that hits the ball well, as we saw yesterday," Bargfeldt said. "She kept them off-balance for the most part, and especially middle of the lineup, kept them off balance really well. So she did a good job."

Brooke Smart completed a week in which she went 12-for-16 with two doubles, seven RBI, scored four runs and walked twice. In game one against UCF, she hit a double to drive in a run, then scored the tying run in the bottom of the 10th inning, and hit the game-winning single in the bottom of the 11th inning. She was 5-for-5 in that game alone.

"We saw this coming, and she's just in an area right now where she's seeing the ball real well, and when she gets a pitch that she wants to swing at, she's putting an awful good swing on it," Bargfeldt said. "You don't have many weeks where you go 12-for-16 and you hit the ball as hard as she has hit it. She hasn't gotten many cheapies; she got a couple, but you're always going to have some in going 12-for-16. It's awful hard to hit well and go 12-for-16. That's a phenomenal week."

The Golden Hurricane hits the road for a 10-game swing, but will begin it with a short trip to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State Wednesday at 7 p.m. Tickets for TU softball home games are $6 for adults and $4 for youth high school and younger, and can be purchased in person at the TU Athletics Ticket Office, by calling (918) 631-GoTU, or on the web by visiting www.TulsaHurricane.com.