Houston Drops Two to Close Puerto Vallarta College Challenge

Feb. 17, 2018

Final Stats

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PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- The University of Houston Softball team fell to Rutgers, 4-3, in eight innings, before dropping a 7-3 decision to Texas on Saturday at Nancy Almaraz Stadium to close its participation in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.

With the decisions, the Cougars fall to 4-4 on the season, while the Scarlet Knights and Longhorns improved to improved to 3-6 and 4-4, respectively.

The tournament marked program's first outside of the United States.

Sophomore second baseman Arielle James finished a combined 5-for-8 with a pair of multi-hit performances on the day. Sophomore third baseman Sarah Queen was 4-for-6 between the two games, while senior shortstop Mariah Garcia highlighted the offense with a two-run home run against Texas.

In the circle, sophomore Trystan Melancon (2-2) and junior Savannah Heebner (2-1) each suffered losses. Melancon surrendered three runs (two earned) in two innings of relief against Rutgers. Against Texas, Heebner was tagged with her first loss of the season, as the Longhorns scored seven runs (three earned) in a complete-game effort, her second of the season.

Junior Presley Bell took a no-decision against Rutgers, issuing just one run across six-plus innings.

For their efforts, James, Queen and redshirt junior Sarah Barker were named to the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge All-Tournament Team.


3rd | The Cougars struck first for one run in the bottom of the third. With two outs, sophomore outfielder Lindsey Stewart and James hit back-to-back singles up the middle. One batter later, Barker combined their efforts with a double up the middle to plate Stewart for a 1-0 lead.

7th | In the top of the seventh, Rutgers plated one run on three-straight single to force extra innings.

8th | With the international tiebreaker in effect, the Scarlet Knights scored three runs to take a 4-1 advantage. In the bottom frame, senior left fielder Kaylin Crumpton led off with a single to center fielder to quickly put runners at the corners. Queen then delivered Barker, who was placed on second at the start of the frame, before junior Maya Thomas laid down a bunt single to load the bases two batters later. With two outs, freshman first baseman Tierrah Williams delivered freshman Caela Kincade, who pinch ran for Crumpton, before a flyout ended the game, 4-3.

Top Offensive Players:
Sarah Queen | 3-4, RBI
Arielle James | 3-4
Maya Thomas | 2-4
Sarah Barker | 1-4, 2B, RBI R

Queen tied her career high with three hits, a mark previously set last season in a 3-for-6 showing against USF on May 7, Houston's regular-season finale.

Pitching Breakdown:
Presley Bell | 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Trystan Melancon (L, 2-2) | 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K


2nd | Garcia broke up the stalemate between the two teams with a two-run blast to left field in the bottom of the second. Queen led off with a single through the left side of the infield and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Williams before coming around on Garcia's long ball.

3rd-5th | Unfortunately, Texas scored three runs in the third, and two in both the fourth and fifth innings to take a 7-2 lead.

7th | Houston plated one run in the seventh for the 7-3 final.

Top Offensive Players:
Mariah Garcia | 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, R
Arielle James | 2-4
Sarah Queen | 1-2, R

Pitching Breakdown:
Savannah Heebner (L, 2-1) | 7.0 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

The Cougars will return home to host the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational across Feb. 23-25, welcoming Syracuse, UNLV, UTSA and Yale to Cougar Softball Stadium.

Thanks to a record year for the Diamond Club, Houston Softball announced the addition of an LED, Daktronics video board (completed) and indoor practice facility as major upgrades to Cougar Softball Stadium.

According to Daktronics, the new outfield video board will be the fifth largest at an on-campus softball stadium in the country and the largest in the state of Texas. The board, which will sit just beyond the left-field wall, will stand 29-feet-3.1-inches tall and measure 24-feet-4.0-inches wide with 576 square feet of space (24-feet by 24-feet) for live video, instant replays, statistics and scoring information, graphics and animations, and sponsor messages. The display features a 13HD pixel layout for crisp, clear imagery for a great view from every seat at the stadium.

The indoor facility, which will replace the current batting cage down the right-field line, will measure 70-feet by 80-feet. The 5,600-square-foot space will feature five batting cages, measuring 60-feet long by 15-feet wide each, with retractable nets for the space to be used in a variety of ways. The facility will have a synthetic turf floor and will be temperature controlled.

In total, the two capital projects represent $1.2 million in upgrades.

The Houston Athletics Ticket Office is once again proud to offer the Shasta Pass for the 2017-18 season. For just $80, Cougar fans can purchase one Shasta Pass, which allows season-long general admission entrance to all Houston Volleyball, Soccer, Women's Basketball and Softball home games.

The Shasta Pass offers Houston fans a substantial saving as single-game tickets start at $5 for all four sports. To purchase a Shasta Pass, call 713-GO-COOGS or CLICK HERE.

Follow Houston Softball on Twitter and Instagram at UHCougarSB, and "Like" UHCougarSB on Facebook.

Fans can help support the Houston Softball program by joining the Diamond Club. To find out more information about the Diamond Club, visit UHCougars.com or call Cougar Pride at (713) 743-GoUH. For more information, CLICK HERE.



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