March 4, 2006
AUSTIN - Elaina Nordstrom smacked a two-run walk-off single to right centerfield on a 2-0 pitch as the University of Houston softball team picked up a 4-3 comeback victory in nine innings over Ole Miss in bracket play Saturday at the Time Warner Texas Invitational at McCombs Field.
"We've been taught to go after the first strike after getting ahead in the count," Nordstrom said. "We may not have played our best softball, but what counts is that we were able to find a way to win."
"Elaina did a fabulous job in a pressure situation," head coach Kyla Holas said. "It's huge when a freshman can step up in a tight scenario against a regional opponent."
The Cougars (16-6) advanced to the championship game and will face the winner of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and No. 2 Texas Sunday at 12:30pm.
Angel Shamblin opened the ninth on second base due to the international tiebreaker rule. Shamblin moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Jaci Gonzalez. Jessica Valis reached on a bunt-double that hit in front of the pitcher and spun back to the catcher. Katie Bush loaded the bases reaching on an infield single.
That set the stage for Nordstrom, whose game-winning single capped a career-best 3-for-4 outing for Nordstrom with a career-high 3 RBIs
"That's our big thing right now about how important it is to take advantage of opportunities and manufacture runs," Holas said. "Doing the little things is right is what wins you close games."
Laura Durham grounded out to second and was safe after the throw pulled the Rebel first basemen off the bag. Raley alertly broke for home scoring the game's first run.
The Rebels tied the score at 2-2 with a two-run home run by Lauren Rowe in the sixth inning. The homer snapped Candi Kloecker's consecutive innings streak without allowing an earned run at 40.1 innings.
Ole Miss grabbed a 3-2 advantage in the ninth on a RBI-single by Brittany Warner that scored Lisa Conchos who started the frame on second base due to the international tiebreaker rule.
Houston will have a rematch with No. 2 Texas Sunday. First pitch is slated for approximately 12:30pm.
"We are really excited about getting a chance to make some adjustments and get another chance against Texas," Holas said. "That's only going to make us better in the end."
Fans can follow all the action from McCombs Field by clicking on the live stats link on the homepage of UHCougars.com
"We did a better job of making contact against Cat (Osterman) later in the game," Nordstrom said. "We're ready and fired up about getting a second chance."
The Cougars have won both meetings this weekend and all-time against Ole Miss ... The Cougars are 2-1 against the Southeastern Conference and now 3-0 in games on a neutral field ... Houston improves to 12-2 when scoring first ... The Cougars have also won two of three games on the season that have gone to extra innings ... Houston is 2-4 all-time on March 4 ... The Houston defense streak of six games without an error came to a close in the first inning ... Candi Kloecker's consecutive innings streak without allowing an earned run was snapped at 40.1 innings ... The last time the Blinn College transfer allowed an earned run was against Baylor (Feb. 17) ... Elaina Nordstrom set new career-highs with three hits and 3 RBIs ... The LaPalma, Calif. native is now tied with Laura Durham for the team-lead with 16 RBIs ... With her sacrifice bunt in the fourth, Brandi Clark became the 12th different Cougar to register a sacrifice hit on the season ... Katie Bush and Jaci Gonzalez picked up their team-best fifth sacrifice hit ... With a single in the ninth, Bush extended her hitting streak to eight consecutive games ... Christa Raley's run ties her for the team-lead with 16 runs scored ... With a walk in the sixth, Brooke Johnson is now seven walks away from becoming the fifth player in program history to reach 50 career walks ... Haley Valis picked up her second stolen base of the season ... Haley has picked up a hit in three of her last four games ... Jessica Valis added her team-best 11th multi-hit game ... Jessica has scored a run in 12 of her last 16 games.