April 20, 2013
HOUSTON - Haley Outon delivered both the winning hits in walkoff fashion as the University of Houston team softball team took two games against No. 22/23 Tulsa on Saturday.
Houston improved to 31-14 on the year and broke the tie with TU for second place in Conference USA improving to 14-3 in league play. Tulsa (32-13-1, 12-5) and Houston return to Cougar Softball Stadium at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
"We turned in a really solid performance today," said head coach Kyla Holas. "Complete game from errors, defense, offense and to pitching, We've been striving to put it all together and play some good softball down the stretch. These type of wins matter a lot - Tulsa is a top-25 team, we're both at the top of the league and it's the final part of the season. This is when we need to be at our best."
HOUSTON 4, TULSA 3
Houston never lead until the game was final in an exciting 4-3 comeback win over Tulsa in game one of Saturday's doubleheader.
Trailing 3-1 in their final at bat, Julia Pecina and Kendra Cullum drew walks while Katie St. Pierre sliced a single to center in between the two batters to load the bases. Holly Anderson took first on balls to score Pecina before Haley Outon stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and UH trailing 3-2.
Outon (2-for-4, 2 RBI) calmly placed the ball into the right center gap allowing St. Pierre and Cullum to score the winning runs and give the Cougars their first of two walk off wins on the day.
"With Haley, it's all about staying calm for her. Choosing good pitches staying within herself, these things will happen for her. I'm proud of her today, she did fantastic in two key situations."
Pecina (2-for-2, HR, BB) tied the game by hitting her second home run of the season in the bottom of the third inning. The solo homerun leveled the score 1-1.
The two teams would remain locked in a tie until the sixth when TU's Samantha Cobb and Haley Henshaw both hit solo home runs in back-to-back innings before Houston's rally won the game.
Bailey Watts (16-4) made the start for Houston throwing a complete game with three strikeouts. The junior hurler started off shaky with bases loaded in the first two innings and 10 runners total left on base through the first four innings. Watts received some help from her outfield to make it through the first two innings with minimal damage sustained.
Reina Gaber showed great effort getting over to foul territory to make a catch and a quick relay throw to keep a runner at bay from third. In the next inning with bases loaded and two outs, Katie St. Pierre laid out in shallow centerfielder to save two more runs.
Houston earned their first win over a ranked team this year with the win.
HOUSTON 3, TULSA 2
For the second straight game, Haley Outon's heroics handed Houston a walkoff win. The junior belted her conference leading 14th home run of the season in the seventh inning to give UH the 3-2 win. No rally was necessary this time as Outon hit the first pitch she saw to increase her RBI total to
Opposed to game one where the Cougars had to rally back, Houston took control of the scoreboard quickly as Taylor Duplechain triple in the second inning gave UH the 1-0 lead in the second inning. Duplechain's team-leading third triple of the year scored Julia Pecina who had reached on an error. Holly Anderson's fielder's choice scored Diedre Outon from third and the Cougars went ahead 2-0.
This time Tulsa rallied late in the game with four hits coming in the sixth inning to even the score at 2-2.
Julana Shrum (3-2) ended the rally as she entered the game in relief from Diedre Outon with runners on first and second base. After walking her first batter she faced, Shrum settled down throwing a strikeout and inducing a grounder out to escape the jam.
After great glove work in the outfield in game one, the middle infield stole the show in game two with Kayla Holland and Kendra Cullum both making big plays. Cullum took away a hit and turned in a 6-3 double play on a bouncer up the middle. Holland made a dive and tossed the ball from her glove to Cullum on a bases-loaded inning ending play.
Houston and Tulsa meet again tomorrow at noon. Houston softball teaming up with local dog rescue agencies will host Bark in the Park tomorrow. Fans can bring their own dog or adopt one from one of the rescue groups.