Feb. 15, 2013
HOUSTON - The University Houston softball team defeated DePaul (9-1) and Illinois (8-1) to kick off the Hilton Houston Plaza Invite on Friday. Haley Outon hit two home runs on the day and the Cougars improved to 6-2 on the season.
Houston 9, DePaul 1 (5)
Outon got Houston off to a quick start as the junior delivered a three-run shot to put Houston up 3-0 against the Blue Demons. No. 2 hitter Kendra Cullum singled and Reina Gaber doubled before the junior cleared the bases.
The top of order added drove in two more runs in the next frame as Gaber sent freshman Katie St. Pierre and leadoff batter Holly Anderson to home with a two-out single. The Whittier (Calif.) native went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI.
Summer Groholski earned her third win of the year (3-0) with only three hits allowed and two strikeouts.
Houston posted four runs in the fifth for their second run-rule victory of the year. Sophomore Sydney Gerbracht and freshman Tess Soefje both provided pinch-hit, two-RBI swings to give Houston the 9-1 margin.
Gerbracht singled to right field, scoring Outon and Gaber, and an errant throw by the right fielder to first allowed the Torrey Pines (Calif.) native to move to second base. Understudy to Outon, freshman backup catcher Soefje, provided the final blow her second pinch double of the season. She drove in Gerbracht and senior Julia Pecina, who also reached base in a pinch hit appearance.
Houston 8, Illinois 1
Preseason C-USA selections Haley Outon and Holly Anderson combined to go 6-for-9, score four runs, swipe four bases and drive in all seven RBI as the Cougars cruised past the Illini in Friday's finale. Houston scored a run in every inning but the sixth to earn the 8-1 decision.
Anderson (4-for-5, 4 RBI, 2 SB) started the game by waving at a wild pitch for a third strike, but hustled down the line to reach the bag safely. Outon (2-for-3, 3 RBI, 2 SB) drove Anderson in two outs later with a double to give UH the quick start. Anderson would drive in sophomore Kayla Holland in the second inning as the leadoff batter was a catalyst for Houston all night long.
Outon launched a line-drive home run (3) in the fourth inning to give Anderson a chance to catch her breath after stealing third as Houston pulled away with a 5-1 lead. All three of Outon's RBI came with two outs.
Junior Bailey Watts managed the circle, giving up eight hits and six walks. Most of potential damage fizzled out as the Illinois' base runners found their way on with two outs. Watts evened her 1-1 record on the season and threw four strikeouts and allowed only one run.
The decision could have been more severe if not for some stellar Illini defense saving four outs at home in the game including two outfield assists. Houston loaded the bases in the second inning with no outs but Julia Pecina and Jennifer Hooker were left out at home. Houston left 11 runners on the base in the game.
Anderson added the final score with a two-RBI double in the seventh inning, raising her average to a team leading .520 (13-for-25).
Houston returns to action tomorrow with two games scheduled for 3 p.m. against DePaul and 5:30 vs. No. 6 Texas in Day 2 of the Hilton Houston Plaza Invite.