April 1, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Houston softball program held onto to a 6-5 win in a wild game at UAB Softball Field Sunday afternoon taking the series win over the Blazers. The series pitted two of Conference USA's top two teams against each other and Houston (20-15, 9-3) delivered UAB (20-13, 7-2) first conference losses of the year.
Sunday's rubber match wasn't the Cougars most beautiful game of the series, but the Cougars were able to get the job done. The Blazers committed five errors in the game and allowed Houston to stretch a lead out but Houston was unable to put the game away until the final out.
"I don't think it was our prettiest game of the year, but on day two when you're in midseason of conference play, you sometimes just have to find a way to win," said head coach Kyla Holas.
"The team keeps doing whatever it is that we ask from them and they're all being coachable - that's really all you can ask from them. These are the kind of wins that are important and make a difference."
Houston capitalized on two UAB miscues to tie the game up when they came to the plate in the top of the second inning. Trailing 2-0, Jamie Edwards lead off the inning with a line drive to left field and reached second base safely after an error on the Blazer's shortstop, also allowing Jennifer Klinkert to reach base safely. Edwards would come around to the plate on an another error committed by the short stop.
Holly Anderson had her only hit of the game in the inning as she hit a spinning pop up that landed just outside the batters box before spinning past the catcher towards the first base dugout. Klinkert was able to score on Anderson's RBI to tie the game at two a piece.
A lot of action took place in the second inning as UAB head coach Maria Townsend was ejected after arguing a call. The umpires corrected the decision to UAB's favor after a meeting and the Blazers threatened with two runners on base and no outs. A quick mound conference from pitching coach Abbie Sims calmed things down for Diedre Outon and she threw three strikeouts to get out of the jam - her first time in her career to strike out the side.
The Cougars scored runs in four innings and kept constant pressure on the UAB pitching staff, forcing two pitching changes throughout the game.
In the third inning, Ashleigh Jones laid down a bunt and an errant throw allowed the speedy jones to motor around to third base. Edwards hit her a single to shallow left field to score Jones and give Houston the 3-2 edge.
Cullum reached on a single and was 2-for-4 on the afternoon with an RBI.
Houston added two runs in the fifth as Jones reached first base on a dropped third strike. It was the only strikeout for the Cougars on the afternoon and ultimately yielded a run for UH. Haley Outon helped move Jones around with of her own single, before Jones would come around to score on Edwards RBI single.
Houston seemed poised to break the game open with bases loaded and only one out, but a pick off at third helped stymie the damage. Houston added another run in the inning as Cullum plated Outon with her RBI single.
The Cougars would strand three runners in the inning and left seven on base in the game.
Houston held a 6-3 lead heading into the sixth inning before things got dicey for UH.
Outon pitched two quick outs to start the sixth inning but gave up three singles to score a run and put the tying runs in scoring position. Watts came in relief and earned her first save of the year but not before she had to face the heart of the opposing team's line up.
The West Columbia, Texas, native got ahead of the first batter she faced with an 0-2 count before she briefly lost touch of the strike zone, throwing eight straight balls. Another quick pep talk from Sims seemed to calm the sophomore down and Watts was able to throw a bases-loaded strikeout to keep the defeict at one.
Watts retired the Blazers in order in the seventh inning as Houston escaped with the 6-5 win.
The Cougars host Texas State for a midweek doubleheader Wednesday with the first game starting at 4 p.m.