March 16, 2008
Huntington, W. Va. - The University of Houston softball team used three home runs to defeat Marshall, 9-1, in the final game of the conference series on Dot Hicks Field in Huntington, W. Va. The win gives Houston their second straight sweep to open conference play and fourth time in program history.
No. 13 Houston moves to 25-3 overall and 3-0 in Conference USA. UH is now 8-2 in the all-time series against the Thundering Herd.
Junior Jessica Valis started things off in the top of the first for the Cougars with a triple to left center and junior Elaina Nordstrom reached base on a fielder's choice. Freshman Jennifer Klinkert and junior Laurie Wagner followed that up with two walks to bring in Valis for the early 1-0 lead. Houston would cap the scoring in the inning when Nordstrom scored on an error by Marshall third baseman Marcena Bertoldo.
The Cougars were held score less in the second and third innings behind two double plays in as many innings by the Marshall defense. But senior Amanda Grote would break that streak leading off in the top of the fourth inning, hitting her second home run of the season over the right field fence. Senior Angel Shamblin and junior Haley Valis put two runners in scoring position with a single and a walk, respectively. Senior Courtney Spittler would come into run for the pitcher. With just one out, lead-off hitter Jessica Valis grounded into a double play, for the Thundering Herd's third double play of the day.
In the bottom of the fourth inning Marshall got on the board with a home run by Samantha Rodriguez.
With Marshall within two runs, Houston put Nordstrom and Klinkert on base to start the fifth inning when Wagner hit a home run over the center field fence, her fifth of the season and her second of the series. Shamblin continued the trend getting on base with a single and she would not be on base long as the next batter, Haley Valis hit the Cougars third home run of the game extending their lead, 8-1.
The Cougars retired three-straight Marshall batters in the bottom of the inning.
UH would put one more run on the board in the top of the sixth inning when Jessica Valis scored after reaching base on a throwing error by Marcena Bertoldo of Marshall.
Freshman pitcher Baillie Lott came into pitch an inning of relief for the Cougars. Despite walking the first batter of the inning, the Cougars defense turned a double play and Wagner caught a fly ball in right field to close out the game.
Shamblin pitched 5.0 innings, moving to 14-1 on the season. She allowed two hits, one run, no walks and five strikeouts.
Houston will travel to Blacksburg, Va., a 7pm contest against No. 24 Virginia Tech on March 18. This will be the Cougars first ever match-up against the Hokies. Following the game on Tuesday, Houston will play No. 19 Ohio State at 1pm on March 19. UH is 0-1 all-time against the Buckeyes.