March 11, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. - The University of Houston softball team defeated Marshall 3-2 on Sunday afternoon to pick up their first conference win of the year.
The Cougars rebounded after yesterday's setback behind the strength of Bailey Watts pitching performance. Watts was masterful for the Cougars as the sophomore struck out a season high ten batters and carried a no hit bid into the sixth inning.
"I was really proud of Bailey," said head coach Kyla Holas. "She had a great routine and her pace during the game today was great. I'm glad we were able to do enough offensively and defensively behind her to get her that win today."
With the win, Houston (11-13, 1-2) ended a season-long losing streak of five games.
Houston took the early advantage as leadoff hitter Ashleigh Jones took an inside pitch on the arms to reach first base. Melissa Gregson drove Jones in as she laced a line drive double into the left center gap on a 3-0 count.
UH is 4-0 this year when their catalyst Jones scores in her first at bat of the game.
The Cougars added to their lead in the fourth inning after Jennifer Klinkert scored Haley Outon from second with a single. Outon reached base on an error as the second baseman tried covering first base on her bunt and missed touching the base with her foot. Junior Holly Anderson moved Outon to second on a sacrifice bunt before the sophomore scored on Klinkert's ninth RBI of the year.
Redshirt freshman Sydney Gerbracht extended Houston's lead 3-0 in the sixth inning when the Torrey Pines, Calif. native hit a line drive shot over the right center fence. It was Gerbracht's third home run of the year, with all three of long balls coming in pinch-hit opportunities.
"I'm exited for that kid because she keeps doing great things for us. If she keeps it up, she's set to have a great career for us."
Marshall tightened things up in the sixth as a solo home run and an error put a runner the tying run at the plate. Watts battled through the meat of the Marshall order as she had an eight-pitch count that ended in Watts' favor with a strike out. The next Thundering Herd hitter drove in the runner from second making the game 3-2 before Watts fanned her ninth batter of the game to escape the inning.
"We had our team back today for the first time in a long time. I'm glad we found it, at the end of the day this is a game and we're here to play it together."
Houston hosts Northwestern State at Cougar Softball Stadium Wednesday, March 14 at 6 p.m. for a midweek contest before their home conference opening series with UTEP next weekend.