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Softball Wins 2-1 Pitcher's Duel at Missouri State

Junior Lacey Middlebrooks tallied a career-high 10 strikeouts, drove in a run and scored the game-winning run to earn the complete-game victory and lead the Golden Hurricane to a 2-1 win eight innings at Missouri State Wednesday.
Junior Lacey Middlebrooks tallied a career-high 10 strikeouts, drove in a run and scored the game-winning run to earn the complete-game victory and lead the Golden Hurricane to a 2-1 win eight innings at Missouri State Wednesday.
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April 11, 2012

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Lacey Middlebrooks struck out a career-high 10 batters in a complete game effort and scored the winning run to lead Tulsa to a 2-1 eight-inning win at Missouri State Wednesday evening at Killian Softball Stadium.

Right fielder Jessica Stoelke ripped a triple down the right field line, scoring Middlebrooks from first base to put the Golden Hurricane (27-8) in front, 2-1, in the top of the eighth. Middlebrooks, who slid into home in front of the tag on the play, came out in the bottom of the eighth and picked up two strikeouts and a ground out to close out the game.

The junior pitcher accounted for both Hurricane scores, as she also drove in TU's first run in the sixth inning. Stoelke finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate with a huge RBI.

Missouri State starter Natalie Rose (11-8) struck out four in the complete-game loss for the Bears (17-17). Tulsa tallied nine hits to MSU's five, and neither pitcher gave up a walk in the ballgame.

"Lacey had an outstanding game, both at the plate and in the circle," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "It was obviously a pitcher's game and she threw outstanding, and then came up with a clutch RBI as well as getting on base and scoring the winning run. Jessica also had an outstanding game. She's staying really calm at the plate, and she just hit a big game-winning triple. On a day where it was tough to generate offense, mostly because both pitchers were pretty sharp, it was good to see us find a way to win."

Middlebrooks got the eighth-inning rally started with a full-count two-out chopper up the middle for her second base hit of the game. Stoelke followed with her triple on a 2-2 pitch, placing the ball just inside the foul line in deep right field.

Each team put runners on base in the first three-and-a-half innings, but Middlebrooks and Rose stopped any threat of a rally and kept the game scoreless.

Missouri State third baseman Heather Duckworth broke the scoreless tie with a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the fourth inning.

TU responded in the sixth inning to knot the score at 1-1. Samantha Cobb led off the top of the frame with a double to the wall in left field, and scored Middlebrooks' ground ball single up the middle just out of the reach of the second baseman. Stoelke singled to right field and TU put runners on second and third with two outs in the inning, but could not push another run across.

Middlebrooks shut down the Bears after the fourth inning, recording eight of her strikeouts in the final four frames, and allowing just one baserunner for the rest of the game.

"Rose is a tough pitcher to score against," Bargfeldt said. "She doesn't walk anybody and she probably won't throw it in the dirt, so you have to hit the ball off of her. We had not strung three hits together in seven innings, and I just felt like it was a good time to try to score Lacey from first. Jessica hit it hard in the right spot of the ballpark."

TU third baseman Jill Barrett was 2-for-4 in the game, and has hit safely in 16 straight games. The streak is tied for the second-longest hitting streak in school history. Julie Shafer (2003-06) hit safely in 20 straight games from the end of 2005 into 2006. Dawn Reed (1997-00) hit safely in 16 straight games in 1998.

The Golden Hurricane hits the road for a Conference USA series at Marshall April 14-15. The Hurricane and Thundering Herd play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon CT, and a single game Sunday at 11 a.m. CT.

Tickets to TU home softball games are $5.00 general admission and can be purchased at the gate. Youth softball girls are admitted FREE when wearing their team jersey/uniform.

For all Tulsa softball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com. Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane. Follow Tulsa softball on Twitter (www.twitter.com/TulsaSoftball) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/utulsasoftball).

Tulsa 2, Missouri State 1 (Apr 11, 2012 at Springfield, Mo.)
Tulsa............... 000 001 01 -  2  9  1      (27-8)
Missouri State...... 000 100 00 -  1  5  1      (17-17)
Pitchers: Tulsa - Middlebrooks, Lacey and Bowen, Cassidy. Missouri State - Rose,Natalie and
Win-MIDDLEBROOKS, Lacey(11-3)  Loss-Rose,Natalie(11-8)  T-1:43  A-127
HR MOSTU - Duckworth,Heather (1).
Weather: 60 Sunny, Wind NE @ 4 mph