Feb. 12, 2006
HOUSTON - After building an 9-1 lead, the University of Houston softball team held off Texas A&M Corpus-Christi 9-6 in the final game of the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational on Sunday afternoon at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
"In general, it's hard to stay focused at the end of a tournament," head coach Kyla Holas said. "A lot of young teams struggle with it. The good news is that the mistakes we made out there are fixable and something that we can work on in practice."
The Cougars compiled a 3-1 record for the weekend, the best among the five teams competing this weekend.
At the end of the first inning, Houston found itself down 1-0 but stormed back with three runs batting around the lineup in the second inning. Brooke Johnson and Jaime Adams picked up the RBIs for the Cougars.
The Cougars broke the game open in the very next frame batting around the lineup once again, platting five runs in the third.
Christa Raley and Laura Durham started the frame with back-to-back doubles, while Laurie Wagner knocked in her first career RBI with a single. Johnson platted two more runs with a triple but was called out at the plate trying to go home on a wild throw.
Jessica Valis got things started again with bunt single. Valis was active on the base pads advancing to second on a wild pitch and moving over to third base on a stolen base. Valis came around to score the final run of the inning on an Angel Shamblin groundout.
With one out in the sixth inning, Raley blasted her first career home run over the left field fence pushing the UH advantage to 9-1. The LaPorte, Texas native tallied a career-high three hits in four plate appearances.
"Our offense was amazing this first weekend," Holas said. "I was very pleased that we were able to outhit our opponents in three of our four games this weekend."
The Cougars committed four errors in the bottom of the inning allowing the Islanders to close with 9-5.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (0-4) closed the gap within 9-6 and had the tying run at the plate. Houston took the steam out of the Islanders rally forcing a ground out to end the game.
Crystal Briscoe picked up the win for UH in the circle, throwing the first three innings of the game allowing only two hits and one run.
"My biggest concern was that we let ourselves down as a team out there," Holas said. "We let some people struggle and didn't pick them up. Getting back together and working on our teamwork is going to be a focus this week in practice."
Houston faces off against McNeese State in a doubleheader on Wednesday at the Cougar Softball Stadium. First pitch is on-tap for 4pm. The second game of the doubleheader will start 20 minutes after game one. UH students get in free to all Cougar softball games by showing their Cougar 1 Card.
Houston improves to 6-5 all-time against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ... Head coach Kyla Holas is now 11 wins away from 175 career victories ... Houston has outhit its opponent in three of its four games this season ... The Cougars are 3-0 when scoring first after going 24-8 a season ago ... Haley Valis made her first start as a Cougar at second base ... She went 0-for-3 at the plate with a walk and made three putouts on defense ... Sunday's game was only the second time in program history that the Cougars have had a pair of siblings out on the diamond ... The other pair of siblings was former Cougar Jenny Johnson and current Cougar Brooke Johnson during the 2003 and 2004 seasons ... Laura Durham and Elaina Nordstrom improve their hitting streaks to four consecutive games ... Laurie Wagner has hit safely in all three games she has played this season ... She picked up her first career RBI in the third inning ... Christa Raley knocked her first collegiate home run in the sixth inning ... That was also the LaPorte, Texas native first career RBI ... She also tallied a career-best three hits ... Jessica Valis has had two or more hits in three of her first four games as a Cougar ... Valis also picked up another stolen base and is 3-4 in that department this season ... With one strikout in relief, Carla Kennimer is now six strikeouts away from reaching 100 career strikeouts.