Feb. 16, 2014
HOUSTON - Houston Softball earned a pair of wins Sunday afternoon at the Houston Hilton Plaza Classic with a 6-2 win over Army followed by a 7-3 victory against Stephen F. Austin. Houston launched five long balls on the day to improve to 5-1 on the year.
“We kept staying in it all day today,” said head coach Kyla Holas. “We got behind against Nebraska on Friday and struggled to get back into that game. The rest of the weekend, even if we got behind, we were able to answer back and keep fighting and that’s what we really like to see from this team. We definitely have some things we need to keep working on and we’ll focus on those things during this week of practice and get ready to play some more softball next weekend.”
The Cougars totaled the most wins of the five teams participating in the Classic with No. 8 Nebraska posting a 4-1 mark for the second best overall record at the tournament.
HOUSTON 6, ARMY 2
Katie St. Pierre continued to set the table for the Houston offense by reaching base safely as the leadoff batter for the fifth-straight game. The speedster stole second base on the next pitch following her first-inning single and came around to score on Kayla Holland’s single up the middle giving Houston an early 1-0 advantage.
Army (0-5) evened the scored during their next turn at bat before Houston answered the call with Jaime Edwards’ second home run of the year during the third inning. Edwards’ home run scored Selena Hernandez who led the inning off with her fourth double of the year.
Hernandez delivered a three-run homer the next time she came up to bat to put Houston ahead for good. The shot to center brought home fellow transfers Tiffani McKnight and Alexis Dunn, who both reached via singles.
Hernandez, the sophomore shortstop, also played outstanding defense taking away several hits and playing error-free softball against the Black Knights.
Diedre Outon (2-0) started at pitcher for Houston and threw her second complete game against Army in as many days. The senior from Pflugerville, Texas, handled the Army line up with just two earned runs across 14.0 innings of work during the tournament.
Houston earned its second win over Army over the weekend with the 6-2 decision. The win was also the third time in the past eight games dating back to the 2013 NCAA Regionals UH has defeated the Black Knights. Army (0-5) went winless during the opening tournament of play.
HOUSTON 7, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 3
Home runs and hit by the pitches led the way to Houston’s 7-3 win over SFA in the final game of the Houston Hilton Plaza Classic. The Cougars used three home runs to bring six of the seven runs across the plate including back-to-back home runs by Kris Davila and Sydney Gerbracht.
Senior Kendra Cullum took three bean balls to move into No. 2 in the NCAA record books for career hit by the pitches (68). The leftfielder took two the body in the fifth inning alone and scored twice while reaching first the hard way.
SFA (3-5) held a brief 2-1 lead heading into the fifth inning before Houston found their power stroke. Cullum lead off the bottom half of the frame with a hit by the pitch and was afforded a leisurely walk to the plate on Davila’s first home run in a UH uniform. Gerbracht’s first home run of the season immediately followed and Houston quickly regained the 4-2 lead.
Haley Outon provided a third home run during the fifth inning that brought home three more runs to give Houston their final run tally of seven. The Outon bomb scored Kayla Holland and Hernandez, who took first on the Cougars fourth hit by a pitch on the day.
Haley’s home run was the second of the year giving Houston three batters with multiple long-ball blasts on the year.
Cullum lead off the third inning by being plunked and moved around the bases on a single from Davila and a sac bunt by Gerbracht. Hernandez singled home Cullum from third base to even the score at 1-1 and extend her own hitting streak to six games to start the season.
Cullum, Davila and Gerbracht, Houston’s 7-8-9 hitters, combined to score four runs off three hits and drove in three RBIs showing off the depth of the Cougars line up.
Summer Groholski improved to 2-0 by turning in a complete game performance.
Houston returns to Cougar Softball Stadium next week as the host of the Houston Hilton Plaza Invite. Games will be played Friday-Sunday against Nicholls State, Columbia and North Dakota State.