March 25, 2006
ORLANDO, Fla. - Elaina Nordstrom smacked a two-out RBI-single in the 11th inning to lift the University of Houston softball team to a thrilling 3-2 seesaw affair against UCF in the second game of a Conference USA weekend series at the UCF Softball Stadium.
"There are going to be games like this in conference action where it comes down to one inning, one batter, and one pitch," head coach Kyla Holas said. "I was really proud of the team for digging deep and finding a way to get a much-needed win."
The Cougars (23-12, 5-3 C-USA) picked up the day one sweep, while UCF (13-22, 0-8 C-USA) has lost its last ten games.
Jamie Adams opened the 11th inning reaching on an error and moved into scoring position on a passed ball setting the table for Nordstrom. Coming off a 2-for-3 effort and career-best 4 RBIs in the opening game, Nordstrom ripped the first pitch into centerfield to give the Cougars a 3-2 lead.
"Elaina's plate presence just continues to be phenomenal," Holas said. "I was surprised that UCF pitched to her in that situation, but Elaina did the best with what she was given in a clutch situation."
It was Nordstrom's second career game-winning hit in extra innings during her young Cougar career. The LaPalma, Calif. native knocked a walk-off game-winning single against Ole Miss back on March 3rd at the Time Warner Texas Invitational.
Angel Shamblin added her second win of the afternoon in the circle pitching a flawless 3.2 innings of relief being touched up for only two hits.
"Over the last couple of weeks, Angel has emerged as the ace on the staff," Holas said. "She's gone back to that mentality that she had last season of being that big fish in the little pond."
Houston manufactured a run in the first inning as Jessica Valis reached on an infield single and stole second base. Valis moved over to third base when UCF catcher Cat Snapp's pickoff throw sailed into centerfield. UCF centerfielder Kacie Feaster misplayed the ball allowing Valis to score giving Houston a 1-0 lead.
Feaster redeemed herself at the plate tying the score at 1-1 with a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning.
The Cougars retook a 2-1 advantage in the fifth inning on a Shamblin RBI-single, but the Golden Knights responded in the home half of the inning drawing a bases loaded walk evening the game at 2-2.
With no outs in the frame and the bases still loaded, Houston turned to reliever Carla Kennimer who struck out the side to keep the game all square at 2-2.
The two teams will conclude its weekend set with a single-game Sunday at 1pm. Fans can follow all of the action live from the UCF Softball Stadium with live stats on UHCougars.com and a live radio webcast provided by the UCF ISP Sports Network for those fans who have purchased the CSTV All-Access package. First pitch is slated for 12pm CST.
Houston improves to 2-0 all-time against UCF and 3-0 in the second game of Conference USA series this season ... The Cougars used every player but Crystal Briscoe in today's 11 inning affair ... Houston improves to 8-3 against first-time opponents and are 12-6 all-time in games played in the Sunshine State ... The Cougars have 18 of 21 games when scoring first and are 73-20 over the last three seasons when putting the first dent on the scoreboard ... Head coach Kyla Holas used her 30th different batting lineup in 35 games ... Christa Raley made her second appearance in the eight hole, while Jamie Adams was on the No. 9 spot ... Jessica Valis added her team-leading 13th multi-hit game ... 27 of Valis' team-leading 39 hits have not the infield ... Valis also added her 13th and 14th stolen bases ... The Shiner, Texas native has scored a run in 20 of her last 30 games .... Katie Bush drew her 10th walk in the opening inning ... She is the fourth Cougar to register double-digit walks this season ... Bush tacked her team-leading eighth sacrifice hit in the fifth ... In relief, Angel Shamblin picked up her 100th strikeout of the season ... Shamblin is now 16 Ks away from reaching the 200-mark for her career ... The Davie, Fla. native added her eighth multi-hit game on offense ... With her walk in the third inning, Laurie Wagner has drawn a free pass in seven of eight Conference USA contests ... Elaina Nordstrom pushed her hitting streak to a team-best 10 games with a double to open the 10th inning ... Nordstrom added her seventh multi-hit game with her game-winning single in the 11th inning ... The LaPalma, Calif. native is the first Cougar to 25 RBIs this season and has driven in a run in her last three games.