April 22, 2006
HOUSTON - Jaci Gonzalez ripped a triple followed by a Jessica Valis sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to propel the University of Houston softball team to a 3-2 comeback victory over Southern Miss in game two of a Conference USA weekend series at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
"These are a pair of huge statement wins for us," head coach Kyla Holas said. "I was extremely proud with the fight and determination even when behind that the team showed today."
Gonzalez drove a 1-0 pitch over the head of USM right fielder Mellissa Prouty for only her third career triple with one out in the ninth. Valis drove home only her seventh RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly for the walkoff victory.
With runners on first and second base in the top of the frame, Gonzalez completed a spectacular double play making a backhand stab going towards the hole, stepped on second base and fired a bullet over to Christa Raley at first.
Carla Kennimer improved to 7-1 in the circle firing a career-best nine strong innings. The southpaw also matched a career-high with seven strikeouts allowing only two hits on the afternoon. She is now 4-0 in C-USA action.
Danielle Wymer was tagged with the loss dropping to 6-6 spraying seven hits over 8.2 innings of work.
Trailing 2-0 entering the sixth inning, Valis started the Houston rally with an infield single. After Katie Bush and Elaina Nordstrom loaded the bases with a pair of walks, Christa Raley was hit-by-a-pitch to draw the Cougars within 2-1.
"I had all of the confidence in the world that my teammates were going to pick us up on offense when we were down," Kennimer said. "Every win at this point in the season is gigantic."
Charity Butler put Southern Miss on the board with a two-run home run to right field in the third inning.
The two teams finish the weekend series with a single game Sunday. First pitch is slated for 1pm at the Cougar Softball Stadium. Live stats will be available on UHCougars.com
"We know that Southern Miss is going to be fired up and ready to play tomorrow," Gonzalez said. "We have to go out and match their intensity level. There is a lot at stake tomorrow and we'll be ready to go."
Houston improves to 14-10 all-time against Southern Miss and has won six of the last seven meetings in the series ... Head coach Kyla Holas reused her batting order from the second game of the Marshall series last weekend ... Holas has won both games when using that lineup ... Holas is now nine wins away from reaching 200 career victories ... Houston improves to 5-3 in extra inning games this season and have won 22 of 24 games when holding the opposition to two runs or less ... The Cougars also move to 5-1 in the second game of a Conference USA weekend series and 11-5 when not making an error ... Carla Kennimer fired a career-best nine innings and matched a career-high with seven strikeouts ... The southpaw is no 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in Conference USA games ... Jessica Valis has hit safely in 10 of last 11 games ... Valis added her team-leading 19th multi-hit game this season ... Of Valis' team-leading 55 hits, 41 of them have not left the infield ... The Shiner, Texas product has matched Kristin Glowacz's freshman-record 55 hits set during the 2002 season ... Valis swiped her 17th stolen base of the season in the sixth inning setting a new mark for stolen bases in a season ... The previous mark of 16 was held by Arelis Ferreris (2002) and Kim Nesloney (2005) ... Katie Bush has scored a run in three of her last five games ... Elaina Nordstrom reached base on a single and walk ... She has now reached base in 43 of 48 ... Nordstrom has also drawn a walk in eight of her last 11 Conference USA contests ... Christa Raley has hit safely in five of her last seven games ... With her RBI in the sixth inning, Laura Durham is the second Cougar to reach the 25-RBI plateau ... Jaci Gonzalez has reached base in 21 of 30 games when in the batting lineup ... Gonzalez has hit safely six of her last eight games ... With her triple in the ninth inning, the San Antonio, Texas, native is now five hits shy of reaching Michelle Keith's (2002-2005) 119 career hits for No. 5 all-time in program history ... It was only Gonzalez's third career triple.