Aimee Creger struck out 12 batters and Jill Barrett hit a two-run home run to lead the 23rd-ranked Tulsa softball team to a 3-0 win over UCF in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Conference USA Championship Thursday afternoon at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
Aimee Creger (25-5) allowed just one hit and earned her school-record 25th win of the season for the Golden Hurricane (42-13-1). Mackenzie Audas (14-17) took the loss for the Knights (29-25).
Barrett hit her second homer of the season, and Haley Henshaw drove home the third TU run with a triple. Barrett went 2-for-3 in the game to break the TU season hits record, increasing her total to 80 hits.
Tulsa advances to the semifinal round where it will face Houston at 2 p.m. Friday.
“Whenever you go into the first game of a tournament like this, everybody is a little bit anxious, but I thought we came out and put some nice swings on the ball,’ Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. “For a team that only ended up with six hits, I thought we made a lot better contact than that. Aimee threw a great game. When you have a pitcher that keeps going out there and throwing zeroes, it relaxes you a little bit. I thought it was important to get on the scoreboard first.”
Caitlin Everett hit a one-out single in the bottom of the third, and Barrett followed with a shot off the locker room facility beyond the right field fence to put the first runs on the board. Samantha Cobb drew a walk, and two batters later, Henshaw flew a triple off the top of the fence in right to give TU a 3-0 lead.
Creger was dominant from the start, allowing just a pair of walks and a liner by Kahley Novak that fell in for a single. She struck out two batters in five of the innings.
Henshaw’s triple was Tulsa’s 14th of the season, matching the school record. TU teams tripled 14 times in three previous seasons – 1996, 2002 and 2012.
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