No. 16 Tulsa sweeps Friday twinbill from Roadrunners
SAN ANTONIO — Megan Low hit her NCAA-leading 21st home run of the season, but No. 16 Tulsa swept a Conference USA doubleheader at UTSA by scores of 4-0 and 12-11 on Friday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.
Low had three hits on the day, extended her reached base streak to 27 games and drove in three runs for the Roadrunners, who fell to 20-25 overall and 7-10 in C-USA action. Vivian Tijerina and Taylor Oberg also hit two-run round-trippers, as UTSA pushed its league-leading total to 60.
Meanwhile, Aimee Creger improved to 20-1 on the season and earned her first save for the Golden Hurricane (40-5, 14-2 C-USA) in the circle. The senior struck out 13 in 7.2 frames on the day, while Erica Sampson and Julie Kernen each homered in an eight-run seventh inning of the second game to help the visitors rally for the victory.
In the opener, Creger tossed 4.1 hitless innings before Low extended her reached base streak with a single to center.
UTSA hurler Kacy Freeze matched Creger in the early innings as neither team could manage a run until the top of the fourth, when Tulsa did all of its damage.
The Golden Hurricane got on the board with Kernen’s soft RBI single to right that plated Sampson for a 1-0 lead. After Freeze got Cierra Hughes to fly out, Catherine Horner hit her sixth home run of the season to score three more and push the advantage to 4-0.
That would be plenty for Creger, who allowed the one-out single to Low and a two-out hit through the left side in the fifth before ending the threat with a grounder. Creger then retired the final six batters to end the contest and improve to 20-1 on the season.
Freeze took the loss and fell to 10-11 after allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
The Roadrunners jumped on Golden Hurricane starter Caitlin Sill early in game two and built a 6-0 advantage after two innings.
Jori Fox produced the first run of the day for UTSA with an RBI double down the left field line in the first inning. The shot scored Jolene Graham and Fox would touch home on Tijerina’s two-run blast, which was her seventh of the season, for a 3-0 lead.
UTSA scored three more in the second on Low’s three-run homer that added to her NCAA-best total and pushed her reached base streak to 27 games.
Tulsa cut the deficit in half with three runs in the top of the third, but the Roadrunners answered with three unearned runs of their own in the bottom of panel to push the lead back to 9-3.
However, the Golden Hurricane would not go away and scored one run in the sixth before erupting for eight runs in the seventh to take the lead for good. The first five batters of the seventh singled before reliever Chelsea Parker entered the game for UTSA. With the lead down to 9-7, Parker got a strikeout before Sampson greeted the new pitcher with a three-run homer. Two batters later, Kernen’s two-run blast gave the visitors a 12-9 advantage.
The Roadrunners had one last chance and trimmed the deficit to 12-11 when Oberg took a 3-2 pitch from Bailey Erwin over the wall in left for her first collegiate homer. The two-run blast ended Erwin’s afternoon and Creger came in to notch two more strikeouts en route to her first save.
Erwin improved to 11-2 after throwing 3.2 innings in relief in which she allowed four hits and a pair of runs with two strikeouts. Meanwhile, Parker suffered the loss and dropped to 3-6 with three runs on three hits in one inning of work.
UTSA will look to bounce back in Sunday’s series finale, which is set to start at 1 p.m. at Roadrunner Field.