March 24, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The University of Houston softball team rolled past the ECU Pirates 14-3 to sweep the series Sunday morning at ECU Softball Stadium. Houston piled on a season-high of 14 runs, 16 hits and scored in every inning but the fourth to improve to 19-9 on the season and 8-1 in Conference USA action.
The Cougars won their third straight C-USA series and earned their second league sweep of the season. Houston currently sits in second place in the standings trailing Tulsa (6-0) and takes a break from conference ball next week as they travel to BYU.
Leadoff batter, Holly Anderson (3-for-6, 3 R, 3 RBI) led off the game with a single up the middle and is now batting .512 when leading off an inning. The senior moved to second base on a passed ball to get into scoring position and after a Reina Gaber (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI) sac bunt moved Anderson to third base, she gave Houston the lead on an error by ECU.
The Pirates tied the game in the bottom half of the inning but Houston immediately answered in the next frame with a two spot on Anderson's fourth home run of the year. Katie St. Pierre, batting in the No. 9 spot and acting as a second leadoff batter, drew a walk to reach base before Anderson stepped up to the plate and delivered her shot. St. Pierre tied her career high with three hits and went 3-for-4 with three runs, 1 RBI and a steal.
Houston strung together four runs off of four hits in the third inning to score for the third consecutive inning and put the game out of reach with a 7-1 lead. Jaime Edwards hit her third double of the weekend to start the inning and moved over to third by Katie St. Pierre looping single to left field. St. Pierre stole second base to give the Cougars two runners in scoring position and Anderson drove Edwards in with her third-straight hit in the game. Anderson would steal second and both her and St. Pierre would cross the plate off Haley Outon's single.
Outon, who went 3-for-4 with five RBI, was pitched around in her first two at bats, drawing a walk both appearances. She extended her streak of games with a walk to 12 and has totaled 21 freebies during that stretch before being forced to be dealt with and making the most of her opportunities.
Summer Groholski started in the circle for UH before Bailey Watts came in relief in the fourth inning and became the pitcher on record. Groholski threw a four-pitch walk before allowing a two-run homer to make the game 7-3 when head coach Kyla Holas turned to Watts.
Watts (11-2) finished the game for UH allowing only one hit and earning her seventh straight win in as many appearances. ECU's Courtney Smith suffered the loss (1-8) for the home squad.
Houston continued to pound the base paths as they left runners on base in every inning but the seventh. The 15 runners LOB was the most by UH this season.
The Cougars loaded the bases in the fifth inning and both Tess Soefje and Julia Pecina were hit by pitches to score runs. Houston was also hit four times in the game with Kendra Cullum picking up the other two plunks, giving her 13 on the year for the team lead.
Julia Pecina hit Houston's second triple of the year to start the seventh inning. St. Pierre immediately followed with a single to score Pecina and came around to score herself on Gaber's second RBI of the game. Haley Outon capped the rout in the seventh inning with a two-run homer deep to left field to plate Gaber and give Houston the 14-3 win.
Houston hosts No. 4 Alabama this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. before heading to BYU for a three-game series on Friday and Saturday.