#21 Tulsa Softball 2015 Preview

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #1 American
#21 Tulsa Softball 2015 Preview
Tulsa Team Page


The 2014 season was a banner one for the Hurricane. Not only did the team get one game away from winning a Regional, it also won a school-record 53 games and obliterated pretty much every offensive record in school history. Tulsa had a 17-game winning streak that extended from March 10th-April 5th.

2014: 53-9, 19-4
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Bargfeldt

Field Players:
The Hurricane lose its top two hitters from last year's squad, but bring back their big boppers in Erica Sampson and Julie Kernen. Sampson hit a team-leading 13 home runs and knocked out 11 doubles, while Kernen pounded out 17 doubles and seven homers. Sampson's 45 RBI led the team and Kernen's 41 were second. Catherine Horner also had seven home runs and 34 RBI. Maggie Withee hit .313, but is a singles hitters, as 41 of her 47 hits went for singles. Jodi Edmiston saw action in 48 games, starting 35, but hit only .241. However, 10 of her 26 hits (four home runs, five doubles) went for extra bases.

The Hurricane used a three-woman rotation last year, headlined by ace Aimee Creger, who went 29-2 with a 1.14 ERA and 354 strikeouts. Unfortunately Creger graduated, but the other two pitchers, senior Bailey Erwin and junior Caitlin Sill, return for the 2015 campaign. Erwin went 13-3 and had a 1.45 ERA in 31 appearances, 11 of which were starts, and Sill went 11-4 in 22 appearances, with 17 starts. Two of the four recruits, Lexi Blevins and Emily Watson, are also pitchers.

Who to Watch:
The pitchers. While the Hurricane offense was dynamic, averaging nearly six runs a game, the pitching staff was just as dominant, giving up a mere 1.96 runs a contest. It's unlikely that either Erwin or Sill can put up dominating stats like Creger did last year, as neither has been an ace before. Both had very impressive resumes last season and if they can combine to do that with a bigger workload, it might somewhat offset Creger's loss.

Final Projection:
The Hurricane bring back a good nucleus from last year's successful squad. Sampson, Horner and Kernen will lead the power again and if players such as Withee and Edmiston improve on last year, the offense might be on the right track. The pitching staff will be different and have a different focus, as both Erwin and Sill are more finesse pitchers, compared to the overpowering Creger. The two returnees struck out 62 and 63 batters, respectively. Tulsa has a challenging schedule, with non-conference games with Oregon, Baylor, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas Tech, Wichita State, Oklahoma State and Iowa. The Hurricane also gets two of the top three conference teams (UCF and Houston) at home, while having to travel to USF.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Erica Sampson, OF/C, 188
Hits: Erica Sampson, OF/C, 61
Home Runs: Erica Sampson, OF/C, 13
RBIs: Erica Sampson, OF/C, 45
Runs: Erica Sampson, OF/C, 51
Stolen Bases: Erica Sampson, OF/C, 5

Wins: Bailey Erwin, P, 13
Innings Pitched: Bailey Erwin, P, 106
Strikeouts: Caitlin Sill, P, 63
Complete Games: Bailey Erwin, P, 8


See All Softball Top 44 Previews