BOCA RATON, FLA.- After playing tough for six and a half of scoreless ball between Lexi Betancourt and Conference USA Pitcher of the Year Aimee Creger, the 49ers fell to No. 18 Tulsa, 1-0, on a walk-off sacrifice fly to left field and denied Charlotte of the upset on Thursday afternoon.
"I am proud of our team and our fight," said head coach Aimee DeVos. "I am glad we had the opportunity to make it to the tournament. We wanted to go further, but Tulsa is a great team. They will represent C-USA well in postseason play."
Charlotte saw the "underdog" take the first two games of the tournament, with the number seven seeded Marshall take down UAB in game one and sixth seeded East Carolina defeat third seeded FIU in game two, 5-1.
Conference USA's Player of the Year, Jill Barrett, started the bottom of the seventh inning with a base knock to center field. A controversial call at second base that was ruled an out was over turned and put runners at first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt pushed the runners up 60 feet. A sacrifice fly by Catherine Horner plated the only run of the contest moving Tulsa into the semifinals.
Charlotte was looking to upset a Top 25 team for the first time since April 24, 2012, when the Niners defeated then No. 20 North Carolina, 10-6, at home.
The Niners were limited to two base runners in the contest. Courtney Carroll (Clemmons, North Carolina/ West Forsyth HS) worked a walk in the top of the third and was doubled off in the inning. Jackie Kleinsmith (Santa Maria, California/ Righetti HS) tallied the only hit for the Niners lacing a pitch back up the middle in the top of the fifth inning.
Tulsa had a shot in the bottom of the fourth inning to scratch across the first run of the contest but was denied by some clutch pitching by Lexi Betancourt. Horner singled down the left field line and moved into scoring position on a Niner miscue. A one out walk loaded the bases for the Golden Hurricane but left them stranded after a fly out and a strikeout.
Despite not allowing an earned run in the game, Lexi Betancourt (Garner, North Carolina/ West Johnson HS) picked up the loss in the pitcher's duel tossing 6.2 innings allowing one unearned run, scattering six hits and striking out six. Betancourt finishes the season with a 19-15 record.
Tulsa's ace Aimee Creger improved to 25-1 on the season tossing the complete game shutout allowing one hit, a walk and struck out 13.
Charlotte heads home after the heartbreaking loss with its heads held high playing into the seventh inning against nationally ranked Tulsa with high hopes of competing in the Conference USA next season.