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Softball Opens Fall Exhibition Season

The Golden Hurricane is participating in fall workouts, and plays the first two of eight exhibition games this weekend at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
The Golden Hurricane is participating in fall workouts, and plays the first two of eight exhibition games this weekend at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
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Sept. 28, 2012

TULSA, Okla. - The Tulsa softball team is in the middle of fall practice, and plays its first two of eight exhibition games this weekend at the Collins Family Softball Complex.

The Golden Hurricane is scheduled to take on Central Arkansas at 1 p.m., and Missouri State at 5 p.m., while UCA and Missouri State play each other at 3 p.m.

Tulsa returns 13 players, including six starters and two pitchers, from the 2012 squad that won the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles, and advanced to the NCAA Regional for the fifth time in program history. The Hurricane welcomes in four freshmen this season.

Head Coach John Bargfeldt is using the fall practice to get to know the new players, acclimate them to the program, and perhaps find some versatility in the returning players.

"What we use the fall for, is to get an idea of how the newcomers on the team mesh and compete with the returning players," he said. "It gives us a chance to see them against some other competition. This year, since we have a little bit bigger roster, we've been able to scrimmage a little bit more. We use this as a chance to get a look at people at new positions. We look at what different positions people can play, and who might be in line to be a backup if something were to happen to one of the starters. We look at how versatile players can be. The fall gives us a lot of opportunity to do that."

The Golden Hurricane returns pitchers senior Lacey Middlebrooks and junior Aimee Creger, and catchers senior Cassidy Bowen and sophomore Amy Harrison. Sophomore Julie Kernen spent some time at first base last season, as did junior Shelby Blanton. Blanton, normally a middle infielder, has played left field, second base and first base in her first two seasons.



Senior Samantha Cobb and junior Jill Barrett fill out a strong left side of the infield at shortstop and third base, respectively. Cobb and Barrett, along with senior center fielder Caitlin Everett competed for the USA Women's National Baseball Team this summer at the IABF World Cup in Alberta, Canada.

Junior Cierra Hughes returns after playing all of last season in left field, while junior Haley Henshaw and redshirt freshman Jodi Edmiston will compete for playing time in the outfield as well.

Pitcher Caitlin Sill has impressed the coaching staff early in fall workouts, and will mix in with Middlebrooks and Creger.

Freshman Catherine Horner, a catcher by trade, is getting a look at some other spots on the field, while Hayley Bottino is in the mix at first base. Jocelyn Sheffield is working in at third base.

Bargfeldt has been most impressed by the leadership shown by the veterans, working with the newcomers to acclimate them to the program.

"I think the thing I enjoy seeing the most is how much the older players have retained. Now they're becoming mentors for the players that are either new to the program, or new to the position," said Bargfeldt. "It's comforting to know that your message has gotten through, that it's kind of been ingrained. You see the older players encouraging the younger players and bringing them along. I feel like our team does such a good job of getting new people acclimated into our team. There is not any holding back at all. They are just welcoming, and they show the new players the way we do things here at Tulsa. It's something you enjoy seeing take place. I don't have to sit everybody down and go over all of it. Your players kind of take them under their wings and move them in the right direction."

Tulsa will also play fall contests at home against Labette Community College Oct 6 at 1 and 3 p.m., and against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Oct. 16 at 4 and 6 p.m. TU will play a pair of game at Oklahoma State on Oct. 13, taking on the Cowgirls and Wichita State.

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/TulsaSoftball).