No. 17 Tulsa maintained its first-place lead in Conference USA when it split a pair of games in Saturday with UAB in Birmingham. Ala., then got on a roll in the third game Sunday before it was called off due to rain in the fifth inning.
The Golden Hurricane (35-4 overall, 10-1 in league play) edged the Blazers (23-16, 9-5) 2-1 in first game Saturday.
Pitching ace Aimee Creger (16-1) had another superb outing as she struck out 11 batters, allowing one run on three hits. Leigh Streetman (14-9) took the loss for UAB.
TU was down 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning after Amy Dennis singled in Hayley Davis. It would get the lead for good on solo home runs from Jill Barrett, respectively in the third and fourth innings.
Maggie Whithee led the Hurricane at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort.
In game two, TU went up 2-0 with runs in the first and third innings. Barrett scored both. The first came on a wild pitch, the next came on a two-out single from Erica Sampson.
The Blazers tied in the bottom of the fourth and took the lead in the fifth on two-shot home runs respectively by Megan McGrath and Mary Warren.
Bailey Erwin (10-1), who relieved Caitlin Sill in the fourth, took the loss in the circle. It was her first of the season. Lannah Campbell (9-6) got the win for UAB.
Barrett and Julie Kernon each hit 2-for-3 in the game for TU.
Tulsa had a 7-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Sunday’s game was canceled. UAB has runners on first and second to begin the bottom of the fifth when play was halted.
The Blazers scored their only run on a solo home run by Kristen McGrath. The Golden Hurricane went on a seven-run rampage in the top of the fifth, on two-run doubles from Kernen and Catherine Horner, a one-run two-bagger by Shelby Blanton and RBI singles from Haley Henshaw and Barrett.
To be recorded as an official game, teams must complete five innings of play, or four and a half innings if the home team is leading. Neither was the case. Statistics of the game will not count in the books.
Coincidentally, the series has been going in favor of the visiting team the past two years.
Tulsa took the series 2-1 after losing the first game in Birmingham in 2012. The Blazers came to Tulsa to return the favor last year, winning by the same count after the Golden Hurricane took the opener.
It appeared as if the trend would continue when TU had a six-run advantage in the fifth. But that would not officially be the case.
Tulsa continues its road trip with a game Wednesday at Arkansas. It returns home this weekend to host East Carolina for a three-game series.