Stanford broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run home run in the fifth inning, and the Tulsa softball team fell, 4-2, in the opening game of the NCAA Lincoln Regional Friday afternoon at Bowlin Stadium.
The Golden Hurricane (42-15-1) will play the loser of Nebraska and Northern Iowa in an elimination game at 4 p.m. Saturday.
All of the scoring in the contest came on two-run home runs. TU first baseman Julie Kernen homered down the line in left field in the top of the first inning to give the Hurricane a 2-0 lead. Stanford catcher Jessica Plaza answered with a two-run shot in the bottom of the second to tie the game at two apiece, and first baseman Kayla Bonstrom hit the home run that gave the lead to the Cardinal (38-19).
Aimee Creger (25-7) struck out three and allowed five hits in 5.0 innings for Tulsa. Teagan Gerhart (20-11) struck out five and earned the complete-game win for Stanford.
"I felt like it came down to a couple of centered-up balls," Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt said. "They got two with the right angle and trajectory, and with the wind blowing out it didn't take a whole lot to get one out today. I thought defensively we played well. Probably the most disappointed I was, was in our ability to make adjustments to the pitcher. I felt like we were underneath way more than we should have been."
Kernen put the Golden Hurricane on the board with her two-run shot down the left field line in the top of the first. The homer scored shortstop Samantha Cobb, who reached on a fielder's choice after third baseman Jill Barrett walked.
Each of Stanford's home runs occurred with one out to lead off the inning. Plaza's homer followed a single, and Bonstrom's followed a walk.
Creger worked around a walk in the first with a line-out double play to Kernen at first, and retired the side in order in the third. She worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the fourth with a grounder to third, and retired the final two batters of the second and fifth innings after the home runs. Lacey Middlebrooks pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the Hurricane.
Barrett doubled in the third inning, and TU had runners at first and second in the fifth inning, but was unable to push any more runs across the plate.
"We just have to think of the next game," Bargfeldt said. "Everybody knows in this game, in sports, once you get on a roll, then things change. What you have to do is get started. You have to get started by focusing on that next game. That's what we intend to do: focus on that next one."