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Softball to Play in NCAA Norman Regional

The Golden Hurricane opens NCAA Tournament play in the Norman Regional against Arkansas Friday at 5 p.m.
The Golden Hurricane opens NCAA Tournament play in the Norman Regional against Arkansas Friday at 5 p.m.
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May 10, 2009

TULSA, Okla. - The 2009 Conference USA Champion University of Tulsa softball team will open NCAA Tournament play in the Norman Regional as the No. 3-seed against No. 2-seed Arkansas on Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m.

The Golden Hurricane (38-15, 16-4 C-USA) won the C-USA Championship Saturday afternoon with an 11-3 defeat of UTEP in the title game, and earned the league's autmatic NCAA bid. TU is making its third NCAA Regional appearance in four years and second in a row. Tulsa also won the C-USA regular season and tournament championships in 2006, and earned an at-large bid in 2008.

"This is a similar regional to what we had last year and we're playing the exact same team we were last year," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "It's a team that we're familiar with and it's a team that we usually have good games with. When Tulsa and Arkansas get together, it usually comes down to the four phases - hitting, pitching, fielding and base running. I expect it to be a very competitive opening round with Arkansas."

"It's a tough place to play," Bargfeldt said of playing in Norman, "and they always draw a very good home crowd. It's a nice facility (at Oklahoma). One of the things about us is the girls are very familiar with the field. Sometimes that can help - going to familiar surroundings."

The Hurricane enters the regional riding a 10-game winning streak and has won 17 of its last 19 games, the best finish to a regular season in school history. During that span of 19 games, the TU offense is hitting .325 (173-for-532) with 107 runs, 97 RBI, 29 doubles, three triples and 15 home runs, as well as a .398 on-base percentage.

Tulsa is led offensively by All-Conference USA First Team member and C-USA Championship MVP Lauren Lindsay with a .414 batting average (72-for-174) with 37 RBI, 43 runs scored, eight home runs, 17 doubles, a .649 slugging percentage and a .490 on-base percentage. Fellow All-C-USA First Team member senior left fielder Brooke Smart hits .363 (53-for-146) with 37 RBI, 32 runs scored, eight doubles and eight homers, as well as a .478 on-base percentage.



Junior Jackie Lawrence, another All-C-USA First Team member, leads the Hurricane pitching staff with a 20-4 record and a 1.58 ERA. She has pitched seven shutouts and allowed 116 hits, 52 runs - 38 earned - with 62 walks and 175 strikeouts in 168.0 innings with a .190 opponent batting avg.

The regional is double-elimination format, and runs through Sunday in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma is the host school and No.1 seed in the regional, and will face North Dakota State, the regional's No. 4 seed.

The Golden Hurricane opened the 2008 NCAA Tournament in the Norman Regional against Arkansas. Arkansas won that meeting, 7-5. Tulsa and Arkansas played this season in the annual Border War with Arkansas winning, 9-5.

Tickets to the Norman Regional go on sale at 8 a.m. Monday, May 11. Tickets can be purchased through the University of Oklahoma athletics ticket office by calling 405-325-2424 or 1-800-456- 4668. The ticket prices are as follows: All Session Reserved: $40.00; All Session General Admission - Adult: $25.00; All Session General Admission - Youth: $20.00; Single Session Reserved: $15.00; Single Session General Admission - Adult: $10.00; Single Session General Admission - Youth: $8.00.

All Golden Hurricane softball information and all news and information about TU in the NCAA Championships can be found at www.TulsaHurricane.com.