Golden Hurricane tears through season opener

Sports editor Jaralynn Tammi Morellano says Tulsa opened the season with two big wins.
The University of Tulsa softball team kicked off its 2024 season opening with two wins at the Aggie Classic at College Station in Texas. The team dominated on Saturday, beating Valparaiso 9-0 and Lehigh 11-2.
In the morning, the Golden Hurricane hit hard in the first inning to lead 3-0 in the first frame. Outfielder Haley Morgan started off strong with a single and a stolen base to reach second. She continued to earn Tulsa’s first point after a sacrifice bunt from MacKenzie Denson was thrown away. An error from the Beacons allowed Denson to stay in and reach second base. Imani Edwards’ single brought her home and the loose throw got her home in the same play.
Tulsa stormed through the Beacons even further, tallying three more scores to the scoreboard. Emma Vickrey and Abby Jones started the Golden Hurricane off with two singles in a row. The reliable Morgan followed up with a double to bring Vickrey home. Denson finished off the inning by bringing Jones and Morgan home with a well-placed strike down right field.
Morgan would continue to bring more home in the third inning when she sent a perfect shot barreling between the right center and safety. She left the Beacons to scramble after the ball and allowed her to reach second as Tara Hall and Jones ran from second and first, all the way home to put the Golden Hurricane up 2-0 in the frame.
Tulsa scored its final run in the fourth inning after Kailyn Bearpaw sent a sacrifice fly in the center to bring Edwards home.
During the Golden Hurricane’s fieldwork, Kylee Nash paved the way. She was able to escape an all-base packed situation with a strike and ground out. Following this, she did not allow another hit. Throughout her three innings of work, she did not allow a single fly ball and the ball never left the infield.
Following her was freshman Anneca Anderson, making her collegiate debut. Anderson would have a strong start to her career as she struck out the first batter in her path. She ended the fourth inning with a double play. In the fifth inning, she proceeded to seat three batters in a row to bring the game to an end.
In the afternoon, the Golden Hurricane faced Lehigh in a slower starting game for Tulsa. The first inning went scoreless for both teams. Junior college transfer Maci Cole would break the team’s drought and execute a stunning first hit to left field to begin her Division I career. The Mountain Hawks continued to hold down the Hurricane and would not allow it to double its lead until the fourth inning. Claira Skaggs single brought her to third and Cole home to bring the score 1-0 in the frame, the whole game score sitting 2-0.
Lehigh would push back and outscore the Golden Hurricane in this frame, two singles bringing the game 2-2. Tulsa’s Maura Moore would strike out two of the next three batters to end the inning. The fifth inning would end scoreless for both teams.
Tulsa would beat down the competition and take five runs from six hits in the sixth inning. Wood reached first base with a well-put single and continued to take second with her forceful base play. Jones’ double would bring Wood to score and was returned home by Mogan’s single. Morgan would advance to second on this play and steal third during Denson’s time on the plate. Denson would deliver a double to bring Morgan home and give Tulsa a 5-2 lead. Denson and Edwards would then make it home to put the game 7-1 before the inning ended.
The Golden Hurricane would continue to blow out the competition and take six runs in the final inning. The last and final run was made when Bearpaw doubled to score Edwards to bring the score to an impressive 11-2.
Tulsa was set to play against Texas A&M in the evening, but the game was postponed due to bad weather. It will go on to compete in the TXST on Feb. 16.