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No. 18 Softball Defeats UCF, 7-0, to Complete Series Sweep

Junior Aimee Creger tossed a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 7-0 win over UCF Saturday.
Junior Aimee Creger tossed a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 7-0 win over UCF Saturday.
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March 30, 2013

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TULSA, Okla. - Aimee Creger pitched a one-hit gem and Tulsa scored seven runs in the fifth inning to complete its Conference USA series sweep of UCF with a 7-0 victory Saturday afternoon at the Collins Family Softball Complex.

Creger (15-2) struck out 11 batters for the second straight outing against the Knights, and allowed just two walks in the game. Shortstop Samantha Cobb knocked in the first two runs with a single and left fielder Cierra Hughes added a three-run double to lead the 18th-ranked Golden Hurricane (29-7-1, 9-0 C-USA).

"This was exactly what we were looking for - to come out and play three quality games," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "Today, Aimee did a fabulous job of keeping zeroes on the board until our hitters were able to make adjustments to the pitchers today. I thought that was a key in getting going there.

"Our discipline (at the plate) got better as the game went on," Bargfeldt continued. "We stopped swinging at that pitch that we were swinging at in the first and second innings. We were maybe getting a little excited with runners in scoring position. We were still putting people on, but we kind of let her off the hook by swinging at that letter-high pitch, getting a pop up when a fly ball would've scored a run. I thought we just did a better job of the discipline there at the end. When you do that, you get a better pitch to hit, and put a better swing on it."

Tulsa and UCF were locked in a scoreless tie through four innings before the Hurricane broke it open in the fifth. TU sent 13 batters to the plate and scored five of the seven runs with two out.

Cobb lined a 3-2 pitch into right center field for a base hit, scoring center fielder Caitlin Everett and third baseman Jill Barrett, who singled and doubled, respectively, to start the inning. Designated player Lacey Middlebrooks and right fielder Haley Henshaw walked to load the bases, but an infield fly and strikeout threatened to end the rally early. Catcher Cassidy Bowen, however, reached on a fielding error at short, allowing Cobb to score, and Hughes flew a double off the centerfielder's extended glove in left center, clearing the bases.

Everett kept the inning going with a walk and Barrett sent Hughes home with a single through the hole between first and second base to make the score 7-0.

Creger struck out the first six batters of the game, and retired the first nine batters she faced. The Knights (18-20, 1-11 C-USA) got their first baserunner in the fourth inning on a walk by centerfielder Maddy Schroeder, and two batters later third baseman Farrah Sullivan lined the first hit into right field. Schroeder reached third on the single and a fielder's choice groundout, but Creger got a strikeout to the next batter to end the frame.

A walk in the sixth inning, and a hit batter in the seventh provided the only other baserunners of the game for UCF.

Knights starter Mackenzie Audas (7-12) took the loss for UCF after pitching 5.0 innings and allowing seven runs on seven hits. Only two of the runs were earned, and she walked six.

Tulsa threatened to score in three of the first four innings, putting runners in scoring position in each frame.

Barrett, who ended the day 3-for-3, singled to right and Middlebrooks drew a walk in the first inning. In the third, TU loaded the bases when Everett was hit by a pitch, Barrett reached on a sacrifice bunt with a throwing error, and Middlebrooks walked for the second of three times in the game. In the fourth, second baseman Shelby Blanton lined a double off the top of the fence in left and moved to third on a ground out.

Saturday's victory was a milestone for the Tulsa program. TU improved its historical record to 585-585-1 overall since 1993, the first time it has ever held a .500 winning percentage.

The Golden Hurricane returns to action Tuesday when it plays host to Wichita State at 6 p.m. at the Collins Family Softball Complex. TU also plays host to Louisiana-Lafayette at 6 p.m. Thursday before embarking on a trip to East Carolina for a three-game C-USA set next weekend, April 6-7.

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 7, UCF 0 (Mar 30, 2013 at Tulsa, Okla.)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
UCF................. 000 000 0 -  0  1  2      (18-20, 1-11)
Tulsa............... 000 070 X -  7  7  0      (29-7-1, 9-0)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pitchers: UCF - AUDAS, Mackenzie; TURNIER, Shelby(6) and BARROW, Hayley. Tulsa - Creger, Aimee
and Bowen, Cassidy.
Win-CREGER, Aimee(15-2)  Loss-AUDAS, Mackenzie(7-12)  T-1:54  A-535
Weather: 61 Clear, Wind SSE @ 10 mph