Feb. 6, 2004
AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Houston Cougars opened the 2004 softball season in fine fashion, defeating both Sam Houston State and Texas-Arlington on the first day of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational held here at McCombs Field. The Cougars knocked off Sam Houston State, 3-2, in the first game of the day and then came right back to defeat UTA, 5-2, to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
In the Sam Houston game senior pitcher Jamie Falco went the distance, scattering five hits and two unearned runs in picking up her UH-record 39th win as a Cougar. Falco walked three and struck out three in gaining her first win of her final campaign in the Red and White.
Houston jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after two innings. After Falco retired Sam Houston in the first, the Cougars plated two runs in their half of the first. With one out juniors Kim Nesloney and Kristen Glowacz put together back-to-back singles to start the UH scoring threat. After a fielder's choice by senior Arelis Ferreris, junior Jenilee Skender plated both runners with a double off the left-center wall.
In the second inning the Cougars scored their final run in Game One on a two-out single by sophomore Brandi Clark. Junior Michelle Keith had reached on a one-out double and was sacrificed to third by sophomore Jaci Gonzalez. Clark laced a single to right center to account for the final Cougar run.
Houston errors in the top of third allowed both Bearkat runs to plate. With one out Lindsay Boone coaxed a walk off Falco, and on a routine grounder to short, junior Jeanie Davis dropped the throw from Gonzalez to put runners at first and second. Erin Lindsey ripped a double down the left field line to score Boone. After another SHSU out Sara Gatlin brought home April Bardwell to cut the UH lead to 3-2.
That would be as close as the Bearkats would get as the veteran Falco shut down Sam Houston from that point. As a matter of fact, the Bearkats managed just two hits and three base runners from the fourth inning on.
In game two against UTA, it was all Skender for the Cougars. Skender went two-for-three against Mavericks with four RBI, including her first home run of the season. Nesloney was the other offensive hero for the Cougars, going three-for-four with two runs scored and the other UH RBI.
True freshman Carla Kennimer made her collegiate debut a memorable one, picking up her first win in going four-and-a-third innings. Senior Jenny Johnson bailed Kennimer out of a fifth-inning jam and finished the final two innings to record her first save of the year.
Just like the first game, the Cougars jumped on the board first, getting one run in the top of the first. Nesloney started the rally with a one-out single and eventually scored on a two-out knock by Skender.
UTA countered in their half of the frame to tie the score at 1-1. With two outs Jenna Fortune singled through the left side and scored on a double by Autumn Petrino.
Houston regained the lead for good in the third, playing a little "small ball" in the process. Glowacz worked a walk to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Ferreris. While Skender was batting, Glowacz caught the Mavs napping and swiped third base. Skender then picked up her second RBI by lifting a deep fly out to centerfield.
Skender put the game away in the fifth with a two-run bomb to left center. Nesloney started off the rally once again with a double to left center, advancing to third on a fly out by Glowacz. Skender plated two runs with the 13th home run of her career.
The Cougars continue tournament play with a noon contest against #11 Texas, wrapping up the pool play of the three-day event. Bracket play will begin later tomorrow evening with the Cougars looking to be at least the number-two seed.