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TULSA DEFEATS HOUSTON 10-6, ADVANCES TO REGIONAL FINALS

Junior Erica Sampson drove in four runs with four hits to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 10-6 elimination-game win over Houston Saturday in the NCAA Waco Regional.
Junior Erica Sampson drove in four runs with four hits to lead the Golden Hurricane to a 10-6 elimination-game win over Houston Saturday in the NCAA Waco Regional.
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May 17, 2014

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WACO, Texas - Erica Sampson went 4-for-5 with four RBI to lead an offensive onslaught as No. 18 Tulsa staved off elimination with a 10-6 win over Houston Saturday evening in the NCAA Waco Regional at Getterman Stadium.

The Golden Hurricane (52-8) advances to the final round of the regional, where it will face Baylor at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Sampson got the scoring started with a two-run home run over the 220 sign in straightaway center field in the top of the first inning. From there, the Hurricane plated a run in every inning, including two runs in the fourth and seventh frames.

Nine of Tulsa's 14 hits went for extra bases. Sampson and Catherine Horner each homered and doubled, while Shelby Blanton, who was 3-for-5 with two runs, doubled and tripled. Leadoff hitter Jill Barrett went 2-for-4 and scored twice, and Julie Kernen was 1-for-1 with an RBI, as the top five hitters in the TU lineup combined to go 12-for-20 with eight RBI and scored eight runs, including seven extra base hits.

The Cougars (33-23) attempted to keep the pace, scoring in every inning except the fifth and seventh frames. The game was tied at four through three innings before the Hurricane scored twice in the top of the fourth and again in the fifth to pull out to a 7-5 lead.

Caitlin Sill (11-3) allowed one hit in 4.0 innings of relief to earn the win for Tulsa. Deidre Outon (15-11) pitched 3.2 innings in relief for Houston and took the loss.

"There are certain days where your pitching carries you, but today our hitters had to carry us," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "They did a great job of that. When you score a run in every inning it just keeps the pressure on, and every time they inched closer to us we put up another one. The top of the lineup really came through tonight. Looking at one through five, they really got some hits tonight."

After Tulsa took a 2-0 lead, Houston got a run back in the bottom of the first with an RBI groundout by Jaime Edwards. The Hurricane stayed a step ahead by matching the Cougars' runs each half-inning.

Jodi Edmiston led off the second with a double to left center and scored on a groundout by Haley Henshaw. Houston scored in the bottom of the second when Kendra Cullum doubled and crossed the plate on a base hit by Selena Hernandez. TU answered again on Horner's solo homer to left in the top of the third, making the score 4-2.

The Cougars tied it up in the bottom half with a solo home run by Haley Outon and an RBI double by Tiffani McKnight. The Golden Hurricane once again responded, matching the two-run total in the top of the fourth to retake the lead, 6-4. Blanton hit a one-out triple to right and scored on Sampson's single to left. Horner doubled, and Kernen flew a sacrifice fly to center, plating Sampson.

Houston scored once in the bottom of the fourth on four walks. TU then plated a run in the top of the fifth when Maggie Withee reached on an error, and scored on Barrett's triple to left center.

After holding UH scoreless in the home half of the fifth, Tulsa extended its lead to 8-5 in the sixth. Sampson doubled, then moved to third on a flyout by Cierra Hughes, and scored on the play off of a wild throw to third base.

Houston closed the gap to 8-6 in the bottom of the sixth when Haley Outon walked and scored on Deidre Outon's triple to right.

The Hurricane capped the scoring with a pair of runs in the top half of the seventh to go ahead 10-6. With two out, Blanton doubled home Barrett, who reached on a fielder's choice, and then scored on Sampson's single to left field.

Sill started the fourth inning in relief of Bailey Erwin, who allowed three earned runs on six hits in 3.0 innings. Sill provided important relief, shutting out the Cougars for two of her four innings of work. In her final three innings, she held UH to one run, twice inducing inning-ending outs with a runner standing on third base. In the seventh, she sandwiched two flyouts around a walk, before a groundout to short gave TU the win to advance to Sunday.

Tulsa is playing in the final round of the regional for the third time in program history. The Hurricane will have to defeat Baylor twice to advance to the Super Regional. TU also played in the regional finals in 2009 and 2011.

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 10, Houston 6 (May 17, 2014 at Waco, Texas)
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Tulsa............... 211 211 2 - 10 14  2      (52-8)
Houston............. 112 101 0 -  6  7  2      (33-23)
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Pitchers: Tulsa - Erwin, Bailey; SILL, Caitlin(4) and Horner, Catherine; Sampson, Erica.
Houston - SHRUM, Julana; OUTON,Diedre(4) and OUTON, Haley.
Win-SILL, Caitlin(11-3)  Loss-OUTON,Diedre(15-11)  T-2:22  A-906
HR TLS - Sampson, Erica (12); Horner, Catherine (7).
HR HOU - OUTON, Haley (16).
Weather: 75F 8-10 MPH winds Sunny