Tigers Eliminate Second Seeded Tulsa in the C-USA Tournament, 5-1; Play UCF on Friday at 11 a.m.
May 13, 2010
HOUSTON, Texas - A five run fourth inning and a gem in the circle by freshman pitcher Carly Hummel helped the University of Memphis softball team eliminate Tulsa, 5-1, in the opening game of the Conference USA Championship Tournament on Thursday at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
The Tigers (25-25) , who are the seventh seed in the tournament, move on to its first ever semifinal game on Friday and will play third seeded UCF at 11 a.m. The game was moved up as the conference attempts to get tomorrow's two games in before predicted inclement weather hits the area.
Tulsa (31-21) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on three hits and was threatening to break open an early lead with the bases loaded and only one out. But Hummel, a 2010 All-C-USA Freshmen Team selection, retired the final 17 batters in order to end the game.
Memphis then scored five runs in the top of the third to take a lead it would never relinquish. The U of M led off the inning with five-straight hits, including a three-run home run to left center by senior Vanessa Walle. Junior Heather Mott followed with a solo shot to right center and senior Leigh Rowan also had an RBI single in the inning.
The home run was the fifth of the season for Walle and third of the year against Tulsa. The utility player had a pair of home runs in a 6-1 victory at Tulsa earlier in the season. Walle battled back and forth in the at bat with Tulsa's RHP Jackie Lawrence, connecting on the home run on the 12th pitch of the at bat.
Hummel improved to 15-10 on the season and allowed just three hits. She struck out three and walked one.
Tulsa came into the game leading the conference in hitting with a .284 average. But Hummel held the team's 1-2-3 batters to just one hit in eight at bats, including a 0-for-3 performance from C-USA Player of the Year Lauren Lindsay.
Cassidy Bowen had the first hit in the game with a single up the middle to lead off the second inning for Tulsa. A walk and an illegal pitch put her on third with no outs, allowing Menke to single her in with a hit down the left line. Caitlin Everett later hit an infield single to load the bases, but Hummel got Lindsay to fly out to shallow left and Samantha Cobb to ground out to second to end the threat.
Lelani Bernardino led off the third for Memphis with a single through the right side. Maddie McKinley then had an infield hit, which was followed by a passed ball to put runners on second and third. Rowan then singled up the middle to score Bernardino and Walle and Mott went back-to-back to give the Tigers a four-run lead. The inning was just the third time this season Memphis had scored five runs or more in a single frame. The Tigers had seven run innings against Wichita State and Belmont.
Mott led the team with a 2-for-4 performance and an RBI. The Tigers had seven hits in the game. Lawrence (14-8) suffered the loss for the Golden Hurricane in the circle. The senior allowed five runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
Memphis will play on Friday at 11 a.m. (CST) against UCF, who advanced after beating UTEP, 4-2. The Tigers split a doubleheader in Orlando, Fla., earlier this year with the third game being rained out. The winner of the semifinal match-up will advance to play in the championship game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., which will be televised live on CBS College Sports.
Game Notes: Memphis defeats Tulsa in the Conference USA Tournament for the second time in the team's history. The Tigers beat the Golden Hurricane, 2-1, in the opening round of the 2007 tournament in Orland, Fla. ... Vanessa Walle had her fifth home run of the season in the third inning, which ties Leigh Rowan for the team high. Three of her home runs have come against Tulsa this season ... Heather Mott had her second multi-hit game of the season with a 2-for-4 performance. Mott hit her third home run of the season in the third ... Head Coach Windy Thees is one game away from win No. 300 in her career. Thees is 299-228 all-time in 10 seasons. Memphis has now one its opening game in the C-USA Tournament in three of the last four years. The Tigers advance to its first ever semifinal game.