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No. 15 Softball Defeats Arkansas 4-1

Senior Cierra Hughes hit a two-run triple and scored a run to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 4-1 win at Arkansas Wednesday.
Senior Cierra Hughes hit a two-run triple and scored a run to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 4-1 win at Arkansas Wednesday.
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April 9, 2014

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Senior center fielder Cierra Hughes had two RBI and scored a run to lead the 15th-ranked Tulsa softball team to a 4-1 victory at Arkansas Wednesday evening at Bogle Park.

Senior Aimee Creger (17-1) earned the complete-game win for the Golden Hurricane (36-4). She struck out eight batters and scattered five hits and five walks. The lone run allowed was unearned, extending Creger's streak to 39.0 innings without allowing an earned run, dating back to March 16.

Tulsa totaled nine hits in the game, led by Hughes' 2-for-3 performance at the plate. Junior first baseman Julie Kernen had an RBI and scored a run, while junior left fielder Erica Sampson and sophomore Jodi Edmiston each crossed the plate.

"It was a good win. Cierra had good swings tonight and really got us going," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "She definitely put a good swing on that triple and got us two-out RBI. Julie Kernen also got a big RBI late in the game that I thought was instrumental in giving us a little breathing room in that last inning. As it turned out, that was something that we needed there."

The Hurricane took a 3-0 lead with three runs in the third inning. Hughes hit a two-out, two-run triple to right field, and scored on an error by the shortstop. TU added an insurance run in the seventh on Kernen's RBI single up the middle that scored Sampson, who singled to lead off the inning,

Arkansas (24-18) scored their run in the bottom of the third when center fielder Stephanie Canfield singled home left fielder Jennifer Rambo. Rambo, who reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and moved to third when the throw to second caromed off her helmet into right center field.

Razorback starter Kimmy Beasley (3-4) took the loss. She pitched 3.0 innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits and struck out three batters. Sydney Wright pitched the final 4.0 innings in relief, allowing one run on three hits and two walks.

The Golden Hurricane put two runners on base in the first two frames, but was unable to score. TU started the game with back-to-back singles by senior shortstop Jill Barrett and senior second baseman Shelby Blanton, and also had two runners on with one out in the second inning after base hits by Hughes and freshman third baseman Maggie Withee.

The Hurricane faced two outs in the third inning before a batter reached base. Freshman designated player Jill Roye singled and Kernen drew a walk, leading to Hughes' triple. Edmiston replaced Roye at first base after her single, and scored on the triple.

Tulsa managed just two baserunners - a hit batter and a base on balls - in the initial three innings against Wright. The Hurricane, however, hit the ball hard in the seventh as it moved through the order a second time against the reliever. The first four batters connected with the ball squarely. After Blanton's hard line out to left, Sampson and Roye drilled ground balls through the opposite side of the infield. Kernen then followed with a grounder up the middle to score Sampson from second.

In the bottom of the seventh, Arkansas had runners on second and third following consecutive one-out singles by catcher Jayme Gee and Rambo, and a wild pitch. Creger induced a soft pop out to second before surrendering a walk. She forced designated player Jessica Harrison to pop up to Horner at the plate to end the game.

"That is a very tough lineup to pitch to," Bargfeldt said. "There are times you can just throw the fastball, but against that lineup we had to use different pitches and make it move. It would have been nice if we didn't have to go through the tying and winning run at the plate in the seventh inning, but you'll obviously take it any way you can get it."

The Golden Hurricane returns home this weekend to face East Carolina at the Collins Family Softball Complex. The teams play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m., and a single game at noon Sunday.

TU will hold its annual pink games on Saturday. There will be a silent auction throughout the day, and donations are welcome. Proceeds will benefit the Young Survival Coalition - an organization to help young women who are facing breast cancer.

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 4, Arkansas 1 (Apr 09, 2014 at Fayetteville, Ark.)
Tulsa............... 003 000 1 -  4  9  1      (36-4)
Arkansas............ 001 000 0 -  1  5  1      (24-18)
Pitchers: Tulsa - Creger, Aimee and Horner, Catherine. Arkansas - Kimmy Beasley;
Sydney Wright(4) and Jayme Gee.
Win-CREGER, Aimee(17-1)  Loss-Kimmy Beasley(3-4)  T-2:16  A-389
Weather: 70 degrees, sunny