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Tulsa wins NCAA opener in walkoff fashion

Teammates congratulate Haley Meinen at home plate following her solo walkoff home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Arkansas 5-4.

Sophomore Haley Meinen hit a walk-off home run to the opposite field on the first pitch the saw in the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday as No. 23/23-ranked Tulsa defeated Arkansas 5-4 in the opening game of the NCAA Norman Regional. The Hurricane (40-15 Overall) twice responded to runs scored by the Razorbacks (31-23 Overall), answering with a pair in the bottom of the second after falling behind 3-0 and again in the seventh after the game was tied at 4-4.

Tulsa trailed 3-0 after Arkansas’ second plate appearance as a solo home run from Nicole Schroeder and a two-RBI triple from Autumn Russell gave the visitors an advantage.

Morgan Neal opened up the bottom half of the frame with a double to right center field before Rylie Spell reached on a hard hit ball that was ruled an error with one out.

Shannon Hughes sent a two-RBI triple to right center field to drive in the two Tulsa runs and bring the Hurricane within one on her second triple of the season.

After giving up a trio of runs in the second, Emily Watson bounced back by retiring the next 11 Arkansas hitters before a walk broke up the trend in the top of the sixth inning. Watson finished the game with four strikeouts and three walks while moving to 29-4 on the year in the circle.

Maggie Withee reached on a single through the left side to put two runners on to open the fifth prior to Tori Stafford advancing both runners on a sacrifice bunt. Meinen followed with her first RBI of the day, sending a ground ball to second base as Julia Hollingsworth beat out the throw back to the plate that tied the game at 3-3.

Maddie Withee set down a squeeze bunt on the very first pitch of her at-bat to score Maggie Withee from third base and give Tulsa their first lead of the afternoon.

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