Feb. 19, 2012
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team split the final two games of the 2012 Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational Sunday at Cougar Softball Stadium. Houston put away Louisiana-Monroe 13-0 in the first game and fell in a 6-5 to McNeese State.
The Cougars run-ruled ULM twice during the tournament but dropped close decisions to McNeese in the remaining pair of games leaving head coach Kyla Holas frustrated as she saw repeated mistakes in the weekend's games.
"We have a lot of work to do," said head coach Kyla Holas. "The big plays we can't control, they control themselves but we have to make the routine plays. Those cost us the ball games. McNeese made all the plays to win the games and we have to get that corrected."
The Houston offense delivered 31 runs over the weekend but needed two more to remain perfect as both games against McNeese State were decided by a single run.
ULM (4-5) W, 13-0 (5)
Freshman Jamie Edwards hit the Cougars first grand slam of the year to give Houston a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Houston's bats caught fire after that and scored nine more runs over the next two innings to give freshman Summer Groholski a 3-0 record for the year.
Holly Anderson hit a two-run homer in the following inning and the next eight Cougars reached base as Houston scored eight runs in the fourth inning to put the game away. Senior Jennifer Klinkert hit a double after Anderson's home run and Houston had another bases loaded opportunity as freshman Haley Outon and Edwards drew walks. Melissa Gregson cleared the bases again for Houston with a double to give Houston the final margin of victory.
Groholski gave Houston four innings of shutout pitching while allowing only four hits and a walk before turning the ball over to fellow freshman Ty'ara Law. The appearance marked Law's collegiate debut and she struck out Kara Boening to close the game.
McNeese State (7-2) L, 5-4
Houston committed three errors and gave up the 4-2 lead in the sixth inning on Sunday's finale against McNeese State.
The Cougars tied the game in the bottom of the third inning as stolen bases led to two runs for Houston. With two outs, Ashleigh Jones took a hit by pitch and advanced to second on a Reina Gaber single. Both base runners stole and with two runners in scoring position, Holly Anderson delivered the 2-2 game-tying hit.
Houston would add runs in the next two innings but couldn't get a base runner after the fifth inning. Jones again relied on her speed to help her cause to get on base with an error in the fifth. Jones stole second before being driven in by Gaber who leads the team with her .520 batting average.
Diedre Outon started the game and reappeared for reliever Bailey Watts as the two allowed ten hits and three walks. Outon pitched the opening two frames before allowing the two runs to the Cowgirls. Watts would allow three as Outon came relieved her in the sixth.
"I'm frustrated with how many chances we for them to put runners on and cause mistakes in the field. We have to do a better job keeping people off the bases."
Houston travels Santa Barbra, Calif. for the UCSB Tournament. The Cougars will face UCSB, San Diego, UNLV and Nevada over Feb. 23-25.