March 3, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Houston softball team fell 4-1 to the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners at Marita Hynes Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Houston (10-7) went 2-2 over the weekend in the Sooner State, falling twice to the top-ranked Sooners while sweeping Oklahoma State on Saturday.
OU jumped out ahead 2-0 in the first frame and held the lead for the entire game to improve to 18-1 following their first loss of the season on Saturday night to No. 25 Nebraska.
Houston cut the lead in half with aggressive base running paying off in the third inning. Head coach Kyla Holas signaled to Kendra Cullum on first base to get caught in a rundown by faking a steal. Cullum succeeded in grabbing OU's attention and as the rundown sent Cullum scurrying back to first base, freshman Katie St. Pierre was able to race into home and dive headfirst for the lone Houston run.
Freshman Julana Shrum received the call to start in the circle and faced her second consecutive Top-6 ranked Big 12 opponent, with her last appearance coming in relief against No. 6 Texas. Shrum struggled with her command this time, giving up five walks in 3.1 innings and taking her first collegiate loss (1-1). Junior Diedre Outon came in relief for the Porum (Okla.) native and delivered a strong relief appearance with three strikeouts and allowed only one unearned run in her third appearance of the year.
Diedre received help from her twin-sister batterymate, Haley Outon, to get her first out in the fourth. Haley, playing catcher, had the ball trickle out of her glove for what would have been a passed ball but the Sooner's base runner made a late break to second allowing Haley to fire the ball down to second base and get the out.
The Sooners catcher, Jessica Shults, followed up Haley's impressive defensive efforts with two pickoffs to first base the next inning erasing back-to-back singles by Holly Anderson and Kendra Cullum. Michelle Gascoigne entered the game for OU in relief for Keilani Ricketts in the fourth inning and helped keep the home team's momentum up after the two UH mistakes on the base paths with six strikeouts down the stretch.
Anderson (2-for-2) and Cullum (2-for-3) combined to go 4-for-5 as the No. 1 and 2 Houston hitters in the lineup reached base five times and each delivered a sac bunt.
Houston threatened to tie the game up in the sixth inning. With Haley Outon on first base, Kayla Holland gave the ball a ride to deep left field but the ball got caught up in the wind allowing the OU left fielder Brittany Williams to make the catch, leaping at the wall.
Oklahoma added insurance runs in the fourth and sixth inning and played error-free ball to pick up the victory. Houston made two errors in the field coupled with the mistakes on the basepaths proving costly against the 2012 NCAA Runner Up squad.
Houston opens up Conference USA action this weekend on the road at Southern Miss.