Feb. 19, 2006
HOUSTON - Reliever Crystal Briscoe collected two saves as the University of Houston softball team picked up a pair of victories Saturday on day two of the Marriott Houston Hobby Invitational at the Cougar Softball Stadium. The Cougars won 7-4 over Samford and notched a 4-2 victory against Northwestern State.
Houston has won nine games in a row, while Briscoe has tallied a save in three of the last four games.
The Cougars (9-1) grabbed early leads in both games only to fend off seventh inning rallies by both opponents that were fueled by Houston miscues.
Briscoe entered the game with the tying run at the plate in each contest. The Buffalo, Texas native struck out five of the six batters she faced on the day.
"When you score a lot of runs early, you tend to go into cruise control a little bit," head coach Kyla Holas said. "We have to make sure that we stay focused out there. I would like to clean that up and have us finish games as strong as we start them."
Houston fired out of the gates grabbing a 7-1 advantage after four innings of play against Samford.
Jessica Valis and Katie Bush went 3-for-5 at the top of the Cougar lineup, while Elaina Nordstrom and Laurie Wagner fueled the offense with 2 RBIs apiece. Valis also added her first career RBI against the Bulldogs.
"I'm just trying to get us started by getting on base," Valis said. "It's my teammates who I rely on to get me around the bases."
Carla Kennimer evened her record at 1-1 throwing 6.1 innings and tallying six strikeouts. Kennimer became the second UH pitcher in four days to reach the 100-career strikeout mark.
In game two, Houston built a 4-0 lead stringing together runs in four different innings.
Angel Shamblin broke out of a 1-for-17 slump over her last six games with a 2-for-3 performance that included a home run and a RBI-single.
Wagner got the Cougars started with a RBI-single that scored Valis in the first inning.
"I don't even think about the fact that we're starting six freshmen," Holas said. "Those are the players that are hot right now so they should be on the field."
Candi Kloecker pitched six strong innings to improve to 4-0 on the season. Kloecker struck out eight, while allowing just five hits and two runs, both unearned in the victory.
Houston wraps up the Marriott Houston Hobby Invitational facing off against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. First pitch against the Islanders is for 1pm Sunday at the Cougar Softball Stadium. UH students get in for free by showing their Cougar 1 Card at the gate.
Saturday was the first time that Houston and Samford have met on the softball diamond ... The Cougars improve to 2-2 all-time against Northwestern State ... Head coach Kyla Holas in now five wins away from reaching 175 career victories ... Houston has won six of its seven games all-time on Feb. 18 ... The Cougars racked up a season-high 13 hits against Samford ... That's already the sixth time this season that Houston has recorded 10 or more hits ... 10 of the 13 hits against the Bulldogs were picked up by freshmen ... Houston has outhit its opponent in seven of its first 11 games ... Three different Cougars were hit-by-pitches against Samford ... That's one shy of team record that came in 2004 against Villanova ... The three hits by Katie Bush against Samford were a career best ... Laurie Wagner tallied a career-best 2 RBI against the Bulldogs ... Elaina Nordstrom is the only Cougar to hit safely in all 10 games this season ... She has drove in at least one RBI in her last five games and has driven in two runs in three of those five games ... Six of 11 Nordstrom's hits have come with two outs ... Jaci Gonzalez is four hits away from totaling 100 career hits ... Carla Kennimer became the second UH pitcher in four days to reach the 100 career strikeout mark ... Crystal Briscoe has saves in three of the last four games ... Briscoe is also 39 strikeouts shy of reaching 350 career Ks ... Jessica Valis tallied three hits for the third time this season and drove in her first career RBI against Samford ... Valis has slapped at least two hits in six of her last nine contests ... The Shiner, Texas produced has also scored a run in five consecutive games ... 14 of Valis' team-best 17 hits have been infield singles. ... Candi Kloecker is the first Houston pitcher to four wins ... She has gone at least six innings in all four of her starts ... Angel Shamblin broke out of a 1-18 streak with a home run against Northwestern State ... The game against the Demons was the first time this season that Houston has faced a left-handed started ... The Cougars were 1-7 last season against lefties.