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Creger Brilliant in 1-0 Tulsa Win over UCA

Sophomore Aimee Creger took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and struck out seven batters in a one-hit shutout to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 1-0 defeat of Central Arkansas Tuesday.
Sophomore Aimee Creger took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and struck out seven batters in a one-hit shutout to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 1-0 defeat of Central Arkansas Tuesday.
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April 17, 2012

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TULSA, Okla. - Aimee Creger pitched a one-hit gem to lead the Tulsa softball team to a 1-0 victory over Central Arkansas Tuesday evening at the Collins Family Softball Complex.

Creger (14-4) struck out seven batters to lead the Golden Hurricane to its 30th win of the season, as it improved its record to 30-9. The sophomore pitcher took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and walked just one batter in the game.

Right fielder Jessica Stoelke drove a triple to the right center field fence with two out in the second inning and scored on first baseman Shelby Blanton's single up the middle to plate the only run of the game.

UCA starter Kelsie Armstrong (19-11) also had a strong outing for the Bears (31-18), allowing five hits with three strikeouts in a complete-game effort.

"There have been a lot of times this year that the hitting has saved us, and tonight we needed an excellent pitching performance because there just weren't too many hits out there being strung together," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "We had a big two-out rally, and you don't always expect that when the pitcher is cruising along. Jessica just cut the ball in half to the right center gap, and she made a nice aggressive move on the bases getting to third. Then Shelby comes up with a clutch two-out RBI, and that was it. Aimee was cruising along pretty well."

With one out in the seventh inning, UCA catcher Melanie Bryant knocked a grounder through the left side of the infield for the Bears' first hit of the game.

Creger was perfect through 4.1 innings, firing four strikeouts in that span. She hit designated player Melissa Bryant with a pitch for the first UCA baserunner, and then retired the next six batters in a row before allowing a walk and the only hit of the game for the Bears in the seventh inning.

"It was a good performance for Aimee, and she needed that," said Bargfeldt. "It was good that she maintained her focus during the whole game and she kept the ball out of the middle of the plate. That was important. They didn't hit too many balls hard."

Third baseman Jill Barrett, shortstop Samantha Cobb and right fielder Cierra Hughes also singled for the Hurricane, which totaled five hits.

Barrett bunted for a base hit in the sixth inning to extend her hitting streak to a school record-tying 20 games. She matched Julia Shafer, who hit safely in 20 straight games from the end of the 2005 season through the beginning of the 2006 season.

"Jill has just been on a roll for us," Bargfeldt said. "She has obviously been a very integral part of our offense, and she is leading the team in hitting now. When you put Caitlin (Everett) and her at the top of the lineup, it provides a lot of opportunities. They have been doing that for the better part of the year. When they don't get on, then it's a little bit tougher for us to score. That was kind of the deal today, and somebody else stepped up."

The no-hit bid was bolstered by some outstanding defensive plays during the game. Center fielder Caitlin Everett dove while running forward and snagged a sinking line drive for the second out of the second inning. Cobb ran toward the foul line in left field to catch a soft pop up to end the fourth inning. Hughes tracked a fly ball that rode the wind all the way to the warning track for the third out of the fifth inning, and Blanton sprinted to backhand a ground ball between first and second and took it to the base herself to end the sixth inning.

The Golden Hurricane plays at Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a rescheduled game from a March 21 rain out. Tulsa plays host to Houston in a big C-USA series April 21-22. The first game of Saturday's doubleheader against UH will begin at 3:30 p.m., and will be televised by Fox Sports Network.

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 1, Central Arkansas 0 (Apr 17, 2012 at Tulsa, Okla.)
Central Arkansas.... 000 000 0 -  0  1  0      (31-18)
Tulsa............... 010 000 X -  1  5  0      (30-9)
Pitchers: Central Arkansas - Armstrong, Kelsie and Bryant, Melanie. Tulsa - Creger, Aimee and
Bowen, Cassidy.
Win-CREGER, Aimee(14-4)  Loss-Armstrong, Kelsie(19-11)  T-1:11  A-430
Weather: 75 Fair, Wind SE @ 8 mph