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Softball Wins Twin Bill over Southern Miss, 9-3 and 7-1

Senior Brooke Smart hit three home runs, including two three-run shots in Game One, and drove in seven runs to lead the Golden Hurricane to two wins over Southern Miss Saturday. Smart and her three classmates will be honored following Sunday's noon game.
Senior Brooke Smart hit three home runs, including two three-run shots in Game One, and drove in seven runs to lead the Golden Hurricane to two wins over Southern Miss Saturday. Smart and her three classmates will be honored following Sunday's noon game.
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May 2, 2009

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TULSA, Okla. - Senior Brooke Smart blasted three home runs and had seven RBI to lead a 29-hit attack as The University of Tulsa softball team won two games over Southern Miss, 9-3 and 7-1, Saturday afternoon at the Donna J. Hardesty Sports Complex.

The Golden Hurricane can claim the Conference USA regular season championship with a win Sunday. First-pitch between the Hurricane and Golden Eagles is slated for noon. The team will recognize its four seniors in a special ceremony following Sunday's game.

Smart smashed two three-run bombs in the first game, as Tulsa (34-15, 15-4 C-USA) scored nine runs on 15 hits in the Game One win. Smart came back with another homer in the second game and this time, fellow senior Kailey Yarmer crushed a ball over the center field fence for a three-run shot as TU scored seven runs on 14 hits on Game Two. Junior Jackie Lawrence (16-4) earned the first game win, pitching 7.0 innings, striking out eight, and allowing two earned runs and two walks. Sophomore Jordan Kinard (12-6) earned the victory in the second game, allowing no earned runs on five hits and one walk, and she struck out eight batters.

Massive amounts of rainfall in the last few days raised concerns about when the games would be played this weekend and how many games could be played. However, after the start time of the doubleheader was pushed back from noon until 2:30 p.m., the rains subsided and the field, though saturated, was deemed playable and the show went on. The wind was blowing hard on an already chilly day, and the field was wet, but the Hurricane seemed unfazed and moved into a position to claim its second C-USA title since joining the league in 2006.

"I thought our offense was a key to today, because we didn't know what type of grip the pitchers were going to be able to get on the ball," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "I know Jackie seemed to feel like it was a little bit tough for her to get a grip. The pitchers did a great job of holding (Southern Miss) down somewhat, and our bats really came alive, especially with Brooke Smart. She hit a couple of big home runs. Anytime you can get a lead, obviously, you feel a little bit more comfortable."

Tulsa scored one run in the first inning when Yarmer doubled to the right field fence and scored on a single to left field by junior first baseman Vanessa Vice.

Southern Miss took a 2-1 lead with a pair in the top of the third inning. Shortstop Chanell Thurman led off with a walk and was bunted to second base. Lawrence struck out the next batter and center fielder Leslie Lejune singled back to the pitcher to score Thurman. Two batters later, right fielder Megan Hill hit the ball to short, where a mishandled exchange occurred between the shortstop and second baseman, allowing Lejune to score from third on the play.

The Hurricane took the lead right back with three more runs in the bottom of the third on Smart's first homer of the day, which was set up by back-to-back singles to right field by Yarmer and Vice.

Freshman center fielder Jessica Stoelke and senior third baseman Stephanie Chomicki began the fourth inning with two singles and freshman second baseman Skylar Swanson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Junior right fielder Lauren Lindsay singled home Stoelke and Chomicki to make the score 6-2 in favor of Tulsa.

Southern Miss' Hill hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to cut the score to 6-3, but Tulsa came back once again in the bottom of the inning. Lindsay led off with a double, and with two outs, Vice singled to bring up Smart, who then went opposite field for her second three-run homer of the game. Timmons followed the homer with a smashed double to left center, but was unable to score in the inning. The final nail gave Tulsa a 9-3 lead, and Lawrence retired the side in order in the seventh to end the game.

"Jackie threw well," Bargfeldt said. "I don't know that she was as sharp as she has been, but then you also have to remember that we had a tough play on a ground ball to short that led to two runs, and then they hit a solo home run, where she said she got that pitch in the wrong spot. Pitching well was a key in that first game because we were going up against their No. 1 pitcher, and we didn't know how well we were going to come out and swing the bat. It was nice to see after we got the lead back, she went out and did well for a couple of innings in keeping them down."

After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning of Game Two, Tulsa roared back to score four in the second inning, all with two outs. Chapman singled with one out, and Swanson hit into a fielder's choice. Lindsay and sophomore right fielder Lauren Menke hit consecutive singles through the left side, with Menke's driving home Swanson. Yarmer then opened her own power show and drove a 2-2 pitch well over the fence in center field for a three-run homer that gave TU a 4-0 lead.

Southern Miss scored its only run of the contest in the fourth inning. Lejune led off with a single just over the shortstop's head into left center and first baseman Ashley Razey hit a shot to center that was misplayed by the center fielder, allowing Lejune to score from first.

In typical fashion, Tulsa followed its opponent's score with a run of its own in the bottom of the fourth. Chapman and Swanson led off the frame with two singles, and Menke hit a one-out base hit through the left side to score Chapman and give TU a 5-1 lead.

The Golden Hurricane also picked up one run in each of the fifth and sixth innings. Smart hit a solo homer to center field in the fifth inning. Tulsa loaded the bases in the sixth, and after a fielder's choice that cut off the first runner at the plate, Lindsay, who had singled onto base, scored on a wild pitch to reach the final score of 7-1. Kinard was dominant in the contest, retiring the side in order in four innings, and generally leaving the Golden Eagle batters with little to work with at the plate.

"Jordan threw a lot of strikes today, didn't fall behind too much in the count, and she seemed to be able to keep them off balance as well" said Bargfeldt. "It was good to see her pitching ahead in the count."

Lindsay went 5-for-8 on the day with two RBI and two runs scored, while Yarmer was 4-for-8 with three RBI and three runs. Vice was 3-for-4 in the first game with an RBI and two runs. Junior catcher Christian Timmons and Chomicki each had a pair of hits in the first game, while Stoelke was 1-for-2 with two walks and scored a run. Menke went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run in the second game, and sophomore Kelly Chapman was 2-for-3 with a single and scored a run.

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.