March 9, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss - The University of Houston softball team took both games of their double header against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Saturday. Houston won 7-0 and 5-3 to improve to 12-7 on the year and 2-0 to open up Conference USA play.
In a day that saw limited hitting and games controlled by pitching and defense the Cougars were able to prevail in each game of the twin-bill.
"Today was a good day of softball," said head coach Kyla Holas. "Both teams were very evenly matched. We came out to play. For a long time Southern Miss had a lot of great plays going in their direction. I'm glad that we found a way to make some luck on our own."
HOUSTON 7, SOUTHERN MISS 0
In game one the Cougars used a four-run seventh inning and a shutout pitching performance by sophomore pitcher Summer Groholski to win 7-0. Houston would again score four runs in the seventh inning of game two and were able to fight off a Southern Miss rally to win the second game 5-3.
The Cougars came out of the gates hot in game one. Senior Holly Anderson got things started for Houston with a lead single. After a sacrifice bunt and a pair of walks loaded the bases, Senior Julia Pecina drove a pitch into left center to make the game 2-0 in the first.
The offense outburst in the first would prove to be all the Cougar's needed as Groholski was able to keep the Golden Eagle bats in check all day.
Southern Miss was able to get a pair of base runners in the first inning and load the bases in the second inning, but to no avail as Groholski was able to bear down and pitch out of each jam. After the tight spots, Groholski would go on to retire 11 Southern Miss batters in a row before a Sarah Evans single in the sixth broke the streak.
The Cougars entered the seventh with a three-run lead and were looking to add some insurance. After an infield single by freshman outfielder Katie St. Pierre, Holly Anderson would deposit a two-run home run deep into the trees in left field. The Cougars would add two more on back-to-back doubles by Kendra Cullum and Reina Gaber and a wild pitch to allow Gaber to score.
HOUSTON 5, SOUTHERN MISS 3
In game two of the double header Houston picked up right where they left off in the first inning. Holly Anderson got on base once again with a leadoff double. After a Cullum sacrifice bunt moved Anderson to third, Reina Gaber drove a ball into the outfield and Anderson scored on the sacrifice fly.
Both pitchers would dominate the ballgame allowing just one base-runner combined until the fifth inning, In that frame, USM's Mackenzie Sher would tie the game with her solo-home run to lead off the inning. The game would remain 1-1 until the top of the seventh.
The Cougars got back-to-back singles from Kayla Holland and Katie St. Pierre to lead off the bottom of the seventh, and Holly Anderson would come through again with an RBI double off the wall in left to give Houston the lead 2-1. Kendra Cullum then hit a fly ball to right field which was dropped by the Southern Miss right fielder and allowed two more Houston runs to score.
Southern Miss would answer by loading the bases in the bottom of the inning. A pinch-hit, two-RBI single by Katie Cleary would cut the Houston lead to 5-3, but Bailey Watts (6-2) was able to retire the next three hitters in order to end the ballgame. The junior threw eight strikeouts and scattered four hits to pick up her team-leading sixth win of the year.
The Cougars will be back in action Sunday, March 9, in the third game of the series against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, at 12 p.m., in Hattiesburg.