The Tulsa softball team fell to Northern Iowa 2-1 Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Lincoln Regional at Bowlin Stadium.
The Golden Hurricane closes the 2013 season with a 42-16-1 record. Senior Lacey Middlebrooks (14-4) pitched a complete-game, while junior third baseman Jill Barrett singled twice and scored a run for TU.
Middlebrooks and Barrett are part of a group of 10 seniors and juniors that have helped Tulsa to three straight 40-win seasons and three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. The senior class of Middlebrooks, Cassidy Bowen, Samantha Cobb and Caitlin Everett put together the winningest four years in TU softball history with 161 victories and a .711 winning percentage.
"It's a tough loss to swallow," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "Our players had a lot of energy today. I felt there was a break that didn't go our way – a softly hit ball to the shortstop that produced their first run. We made some good pitches in that situation. Sometimes you just can't dictate how the ball is going to bounce. Lacey did a great job. She hasn't pitched that many innings in quite a while. She got a little bit erratic in that one inning, but did a great job minimizing it to keep us in the game where we could have a chance. She really came up and gave us a big six innings. I was really proud of her."
The Golden Hurricane totaled six hits and earned four walks in the game. Barrett scored the run after leading off the top of the fourth on a bunt single – one of her two bunt singles in the contest. She was followed by a base hit from first baseman Julie Kernen, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. After right fielder Haley Henshaw walked, second baseman Catherine Horner dropped a single into left field near the foul line, scoring Barrett. The run tied the game, 1-1, after UNI took the lead in the bottom of the third.
Cobb singled and Kernen also tallied two base hits for the Hurricane.
UNI starter Jamie Fisher (22-14) struck out 12 batters in a complete-game win for the Panthers (27-25).
Northern Iowa got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the third inning. Shortstop Caitlin Wnek, center fielder Micalla Rettinger and first baseman Gina Brown hit consecutive singles. Wnek scored on Brown's slow-bouncing base hit to short.
The Panthers took the lead again in the bottom of the fourth when Wnek drew a base on balls to score left fielder Samantha Olson, who was hit by a pitch.