Feb. 26, 2006
HOUSTON - Candi Kloecker fanned a career-best 13 Cyclones allowing only three hits as the University of Houston softball team notched a 2-0 victory over Iowa State in the Crowne Plaza Classic Saturday at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
"All of my pitchers for the most part came together tonight which is something I've been striving for," Kloecker said. "I like the challenge of facing big name schools from big name conferences."
Kloecker came firing out of the gates sitting down the first 10 Iowa State batters she faced and carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning. She has not allowed an earned run in her last 27.1 innings of work dating back to the Baylor game on February 17.
After giving up an infield single, Kloecker struck back retiring the next seven batters. In two different stretches of the game, the Blinn College transfer mowed down four consecutive hitters, including striking out the side in the third inning.
"Candi has been a rock for us in the circle," Holas said. "We know what we are going to get from her every start. She still has some things that she can fine tune, but we are very pleased with the way she is handling herself in the circle."
Houston (13-4) put a two-spot on the board in the first inning as Jessica Valis drew a lead-off walk. Valis moved to second base on an infield single by Katie Bush. With runners on first and second, Elaina Nordstrom knocked a ground ball to Iowa State third basemen Beth Tharp who attempted to throw Valis out at third base but was unsuccessful to load the bases.
"Jessica and Katie really make things happen for us at the top of the lineup," Holas said. "When they can do successful things to get on-base, it makes it easier on our offense to score runs."
With one out, Christa Raley delivered a single up the middle that scored Valis and Bush for the only runs of the game.
"Yesterday was a lessen learned for us in terms of taking first pitch strikes in our hitting zones," Raley said. "Today we knew we had to come out and jump on the opponent early. I get a little too patient at the plate sometimes, but I was able to hit a hanging change-up to give us the lead."
Kloecker finished the game picking up seven of her eight final outs via the strikeout. It was the third time this season that Kloecker has defeated a Big XII school.
Houston concludes the Crowne Plaza Classic against Wichita State for the tournament championship. First pitch against the Shockers is on tap for 1pm. UH students get into all the action free by showing their Cougar 1 Card.
"This is a big for us in so many different ways," Holas said. "One, it can negate the loss we had earlier in the tournament. Wichita State is a team who is consistently in Regionals so this is a chance for us to make another strong statement."
Houston moves to 2-0 all-time against Iowa State and improves to 3-2 this season against the Big XII conference ... The first meeting against the Cyclones came in the inaugural 2001 season at the Troy Cox Classic, a 5-2 UH victory... That was head coach Kyla Holas' fifth career win ... Holas is now only one win away from reaching 175 career victories ... The Cougars are 7-1 this season in night games and have won six of seven games that are decided in a shutout ... Houston also improves to 5-0 in games decided by two runs or less ...UH stays undefeated in 11 attempts when taking a lead into the seventh inning ... The Houston defense has put together back-to-back games without an error in the field ... The Cougars are 4-0 when not committing an error ... Candi Kloecker leads the pitching staff with a 6-1 record ... Her ERA fell from 0.36 to 0.30 ... Kloecker has not allowed an earned run in 27.1 consecutive innings of work dating back to the Baylor game on February 17 ... She struck out a career-best 13 batters ... Her previous career-high was nine against McNeese State on February 15 ... After driving home two runs in the first inning, Christa Raley moved into sole possession of fourth place with 8 RBIs this season ... Raley also drew a walk in the third inning bringing her total to a team-best 14 on the season ... Raley has picked up a walk in 11 of her last 12 games ... Jessica Valis has scored a run in 11 of her last 13 games ... Elaina Nordstrom is the only Cougar to reach base in all 17 games this season ... The LaPalma, Calif. native reached on a fielder's choice in the first inning.