TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of Houston Softball team rallied to score nine runs in the top of the seventh inning to win 9-1 in its American Athletic Conference series opener at USF on Friday night at USF Softball Stadium.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 24-12 overall and 4-3 in The American, while the Bulls, who are receiving votes in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll, fall to 27-15 and 5-2.
In the circle, junior Savannah Heebner improved to 16-4. Heebner scattered four hits and one unearned run while walking none and recording two strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
In the seventh, sophomore first baseman Kelli Montgomery gave Houston a 3-1 lead with a two-RBI double, and freshman pinch-hitter Caela Kincade capped the scoring with a three-run home run to left center. Kincade’s homer was the first of her career.
5th | USF plated one unearned run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 1-0 lead.
7th | The Cougars sent 13 players to the plate as part of a nine-run seventh. A hit by pitch to James and error put runners at the corners to open the frame, before a wild pitch tied the game at 1-1. After senior left fielder Kaylin Crumpton walked and sophomore third baseman Sarah Queen reached on an error in the infield, Montgomery doubled off the wall in left center to give Houston a 3-1 lead. Thomas followed with a single to reload the bases. The Cougars scored three more runs on RBI singles from sophomore catcher Brooke Vannoy singled and James, and a groundout before Kincade capped the scoring with her three-run blast for the 9-1 final.
Top Offensive Players:
Arielle James | 3-4, RBI, 2 R
Maya Thomas | 3-4, R
Caela Kincade | 1-1, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
Kelli Montgomery | 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R
Brooke Vannoy | 1-4, RBI, R
Savannah Heebner | 1-3
Savannah Heebner (W, 16-4) | 7.0 IP, CG, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Houston will look to seize the series in game two on Saturday. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. CT.
COUGAR SOFTBALL STADIUM UPGRADES
Thanks to a record year for the Diamond Club, Houston Softball announced the addition of an LED, Daktronics video board (completed) and indoor practice facility as major upgrades to Cougar Softball Stadium.
According to Daktronics, the new outfield video board will be the fifth largest at an on-campus softball stadium in the country and the largest in the state of Texas. The board, which will sit just beyond the left-field wall, will stand 29-feet-3.1-inches tall and measure 24-feet-4.0-inches wide with 576 square feet of space (24-feet by 24-feet) for live video, instant replays, statistics and scoring information, graphics and animations, and sponsor messages. The display features a 13HD pixel layout for crisp, clear imagery for a great view from every seat at the stadium.
The indoor facility, which will replace the current batting cage down the right-field line, will measure 70-feet by 80-feet. The 5,600-square-foot space will feature five batting cages, measuring 60-feet long by 15-feet wide each, with retractable nets for the space to be used in a variety of ways. The facility will have a synthetic turf floor and will be temperature controlled.
In total, the two capital projects represent $1.2 million in upgrades.
The Houston Athletics Ticket Office is once again proud to offer the Shasta Pass for the 2017-18 season. For just $80, Cougar fans can purchase one Shasta Pass, which allows season-long general admission entrance to all Houston Volleyball, Soccer, Women's Basketball and Softball home games.
The Shasta Pass offers Houston fans a substantial saving as single-game tickets start at $5 for all four sports. To purchase a Shasta Pass, call 713-GO-COOGS or CLICK HERE.
JOIN DIAMOND CLUB
Fans can help support the Houston Softball program by joining the Diamond Club. To find out more information about the Diamond Club, visit UHCougars.com or call Cougar Pride at (713) 743-GoUH. For more information, CLICK HERE.