Feb. 15, 2006
HOUSTON - Angel Shamblin broke a school-record with 15 strikeouts in the opening game of a doubleheader as the University of Houston softball team swept McNeese State 5-4 and 4-0 Wednesday at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
"I was just going out there and keeping them off the plate," Shamblin said. "I wanted to have the same mentality that I had when we played Oregon last weekend."
"I thought she did a wonderful job of leading out there in the circle," head coach Kyla Holas said. "I was really pleased that she hung in there when the bounces weren't going our way and allowed us to come back around to get the runs for her."
The previous strikeout mark was set by Jenny Johnson with 13 in 2002, also against McNeese State (0-2).
The reigning Conference USA Co-Pitcher of the week also became the fourth hurler in Cougar history to surpass 100 career strikeouts joining Jaime Falco, Crystal Briscoe and Johnson.
The Cougars (5-1) have won five consecutive games after losing its season-opener against then No. 19 Florida.
Houston entered the sixth inning of game one trailing 3-0, but Laura Durham erased the deficit with one swing of the bat, belting a home run to left centerfield to even the game at three.
The game went to extra innings and Houston found itself behind 4-3 in the ninth. The Cougars rallied once again as Durham started the frame getting hit-by-a-pitch.
Durham moved to from first to third base hustling on a passed ball. After a RBI-single Laurie Wagner tied the score at four, Candi Kloecker laid down a bunt to advance pinch-runner Courtney Spittler to scoring position.
"At the beginning of the game, the team's personality wasn't there," Holas said. "The girls knew that they were running out of time and that they needed to come through. I was proud that they stepped up when they needed to. That's one of the things that different about this team."
In the second game, Houston turned to Kloecker in the circle. She shutdown the Cowgirls pitching a two-hit shutout, while striking out a career-best nine batters.
The Blinn College transfer carried a perfect game into the fifth inning after retiring the first 12 batters she faced.
"You don't ever want to think about those things when you're pitching," Kloecker said. "I just wanted to go out there and keep the ball down. The defense had a great game behind me."
"It's not a fluke that Candi has been this successful," Holas said. "We're expecting good things from her. It makes our pitching staff stronger and more diverse."
Shamblin got the Cougars on the board in the second inning, blasting a solo shot to centerfield. Elaina Nordstrom picked up two RBIs, while Kloecker help her own cause adding a RBI on a sacrifice fly for the 4-0 victory.
"It's going to be another big weekend for us," Holas said. "The first day of the tournament is going to test us right out of the gate. We have to make sure that we're ready."
The Cougars open the Marriott Houston Hobby Invitational Friday against No. 15 Baylor and Sam Houston State. First pitch is scheduled for 5pm and 7pm at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
Individual day passes are sold for $5, while fans can buy a weekend pass for $10. All UH students get in free to the games by showing their Cougar 1 Card.
Houston is now 6-1 all-time against McNeese State, including five consecutive wins in the series ... Head coach Kyla Holas is now nine wins away from reaching 175 career victories ... The Cougars have outhit their opponents in five of seven games this season ... Houston is also 4-0 when scoring first ... In the fourth inning, Angel Shamblin struck out the side and became the fourth Cougar to reach 100 career strikeouts ... The Davie, Fla. native also set a new individual game-high with 15 strikeouts ... The previous strikeout mark was set by Jenny Johnson with 13 Ks in 2002, also against McNeese State ... Elaina Nordstrom is only the Cougar to hit safely in all seven games this season ... She drove in her first career RBIs in game two ... Laura Durham has hit safely in six of seven games, while Laurie Wagner has picked up a hit in five of her six games played this season ... Katie Bush tallied her second career multi-hit game in game one ... Jessica Valis has knocked at least two-hits in four of her last five games ... Valis collected a career-best three hits in game one of the doubleheader ... Eight of her team-best 10 hits have been infield hits ... Valis also added her team-high fourth stolen base in the first inning of the second game ... Candi Kloecker has put together back-to-back complete game shutouts extending her scoreless inning streak to 14 ... The Blinn College transfer struck out a career-high nine batters ... Kloecker also picked up her first career RBI on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning of game two.