Softball's Kinard and Smart Sweep C-USA Player of the Week Honors
March 9, 2009
TULSA, Okla. - The University of Tulsa earned a series sweep over the weekend, and followed that with a sweep of the Conference USA Player of the Week honors, as senior Brooke Smart was named C-USA Hitter of the Week and sophomore Jordan Kinard was named C-USA Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced Monday.
Smart, a senior left fielder from Fresno, Calif., hit .750 for the week (12-for-16) with two doubles and drove in seven runs, scored four more, and walked twice in four games. She hit the ball hard all week for Tulsa, and slugged .875 for the week and averaged a .778 on-base percentage, all in four games - a loss at #6 Oklahoma on Wednesday and a home sweep of UCF to open Conference USA play over the weekend.
She went 5-for-5 in the Golden Hurricane's thrilling 7-6 win in 11 innings on Saturday. In that game, Smart drove in three runs and scored two more, accounting for Tulsa's final three runs, including scoring the tying run and driving in the game-winner. Down 4-2 in the bottom of the 10th with nobody out and a runner on first, Smart doubled to center field - just missing a home run by inches - to drive in the runner, and later scored the tying run in the inning. In the bottom of the 11th inning, she hit the final of four consecutive singles to drive home the game-winning run.
At Oklahoma on Wednesday, Smart went 3-for-4 with a double and drove in two of the Hurricane's three runs in the contest on a two-RBI single in the first inning. In the three games against UCF, Smart went 9-for-12 with five RBI and four runs scored, including 7-for-8 with four RBI and three runs scored in the doubleheader on Saturday alone. On Sunday, Smart recorded two hits, an RBI and scored another run in Tulsa's seven-run sixth inning, enabling the Golden Hurricane to overtake UCF 8-2. Even three of her four outs last week were hard hits - two fly outs and a hard ground out.
"We saw this coming, and she's just in an area right now where she's seeing the ball really well and when she gets a pitch that she wants to swing at, she's putting an awful good swing on it," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said Sunday on Smart's performance over the last week. "You can tell she's seeing the ball really well because she's getting her walks as well. She came up (to bat) in a lot of situations with two outs and she came up with big hits for us when we needed them. She hits a double when we're down two in the 10th with a runner on first to drive in that run and then scores the tying run. That's as big a clutch performance as we had this weekend."
Kinard, a sophomore pitcher from Sand Springs, Okla., was dominant in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader, striking out 13 UCF batters, and allowing only two earned runs on four hits. She struck out five in a row between the last out of the first inning and the first out of the third, and four in a row between the fourth inning and first out of the fifth. The four hits allowed were concentrated to two innings - the first and third - but otherwise, Kinard stymied the Knights and controlled the game. Batters hit .172 against Kinard in her 8.0 innings of work. She pitched 1.0 inning Wednesday at Oklahoma, giving up one hit and struck out a batter.
"Jordan did a great job of mixing speeds and locations," Bargfeldt said. "When she is really on and hitting her spots, she can be very good. She has pitched about three or four good outings in a row, so it was good to see her string another one in there."
Tulsa won three games last weekend against UCF to open C-USA play, beating the Knights 7-6 in 11 innings and 7-2 on Saturday, and winning 8-2 on Sunday. The Hurricane is now 15-5 on the season and 3-0 in conference play, and has won 14 of 17 games and six of the last seven.
The Golden Hurricane hits the road for a 10-game road swing, but will begin it with a short trip to Stillwater, Okla., to take on Oklahoma State Tuesday at 7 p.m. 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.
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