May 4, 2013
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team captured a pair of 4-1 wins over UAB on Saturday to remain in the contention for the Conference USA regular season championship. The Cougars (37-16, 19-4) and Blazers (35-15, 18-4) match up tomorrow at noon with the C-USA season championship on the line.
"I was really excited for the team today," said head coach Kyla Holas. "We've worked really hard to get into this position and you can't get to tomorrow's big game without taking care of business today. I was proud of them for being able to do that today."
The doubleheader also served as Senior Day with three Houston seniors recognized - Holly Anderson, Reina Gaber and Julia Pecina. The departing trio contributed five of Houston's 14 hits on the afternoon.
"It's such an emotional day for them - for them to be able to play, participate and keep focused with everything that is going on around them today, that's just a testament to what type of girls we have here I'm going to miss all three of them very much, but luckily, we still have a lot of softball left to be played."
HOUSTON 4, UAB 1
Houston led nearly all game courtesy of a four-run outing in the second inning to win game one 4-1.
After a pair of infield singles by Taylor Duplechain and Jaime Edwards put the two runners on board, Julia Pecina placed a hit into shallow left field to load the bases for Kendra Cullum. Cullum put the ball into play and a UAB error at third base allowed all three runs to cross home as the junior shortstop also wound up on third. Holly Anderson doubled on the next pitch to score Cullum and give UH the commanding 4-0 lead.
Cullum was hit by her 31st pitch of the year in her first at bat to pad her NCAA-leading total.
Diedre Outon (10-5) picked up her 10th win of the year in her pitching performance. The junior dealt three strikeouts and navigated through the UAB lineup with only a pair of hits surrendered the first six innings.
The Blazers threatened in their final at bat with the bases loaded before a game-ending double play erased the threat. Anderson fielded a grounder, stepped on third and fired to first to give UH the first of two 4-1 wins.
HOUSTON 4, UAB 1
Houston tied the game up at 1-1 in the third inning off Diedre Outon's solo home run to deep right field. The homer was Diedre's first of the season and evened the score before Houston reclaimed the lead for good later in the inning.
Back-to-back bunt singles by Katie St. Pierre and Kendra Cullum allowed Holly Anderson to draw a walk and loaded the bases for Haley Outon. Haley reached safely on a fielder's choice and St. Pierre was able to beat out the throw from short to home to give the Cougars their go-ahead-run.
Reina Gaber's double in the sixth inning moved her into a tie for second-place in school history with 35 doubles in her career. Junior Taylor Duplechain pinch ran for the senior and came around to score on Diedre Outon's two-out single. Outon would come around to score on St. Pierre's first career triple as the freshman gave UH the final 4-1 tally.
After allowing a solo home run in the second inning, hitting a batter, and committing a throwing error on the next play, starting pitcher Bailey Watts found her rhythm and was nearly unhittable the rest of the game. Watts regained command of the game throwing two strike outs to end the second frame, and struck out the side in the fourth inning improving to 18-5 on the year. The West Columbia (Texas) native threw 10 strikeouts in the game, one shy of tying her career high.
Houston and UAB close out the series to determine the C-USA regular season championship tomorrow at noon.