Feb. 17, 2013
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team closed out the Hilton Houston Plaza Invite with a 7-5 loss to Illinois on Sunday afternoon at Cougar Softball Stadium. Houston (7-4) went 3-2 over the weekend returns to action in a pair of midweek games on Feb. 26 and 27 at home against HBU and UTSA.
Haley Outon (0-for-1, 2 RBI) lifted a fly ball deep to left field for one of two RBI sac flys on the day to give Houston the 1-0 lead in the first inning. Outon demonstrated her power all weekend leading Houston hitters and second behind Texas' Taylor Thom (4 HR, 13 RBI) with eight RBI and two homeruns in the five games.
Holly Anderson singled and scored off fellow senior Reina Gaber's double in the third inning as Houston answered a run in the top of the inning to regain the lead. Gaber would come around to score off another Outon fly out to give Houston their final lead of the game at 3-1.
Anderson had half of Houston's four hits going 2-for-4 in the game, and led the team in hits with seven ( 7-for18) over the weekend. Outon and Anderson tied for the team lead in runs (2). Gaber was second on the team with six hits (6-for-17) in the Invite.
Summer Groholski started the contest and ran into trouble in the fourth inning, suffering the loss giving up five runs, with just one earned, on six hits, with three strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work. Bailey Watts took over in relief with bases loaded and hit a batter before getting out of the jam.
The Illini (5-5) added a single run, including two solo home runs, in the next three innings to pull away from the Cougars and split the season series.
Trailing 7-3 in the seventh inning, freshman Julana Shrum pinch hit for Kendra Cullum and made her first hit in a Houston uniform a memorable moment by knocking the ball against the scoreboard to cut the lead in half.
Illini pitcher Pepper Gay (4-2) was able to shut down the next two batters to pick up her second win of the tournament.
Houston enjoys a break after 11 games in nine days with their next games at home Feb. 26 and 27 against Lone Star state schools Houston Baptist and UTSA.