May 6, 2006
HOUSTON - Jessica Valis, Katie Bush and Elaina Nordstrom, the top three hitters in Houston batting order, combined for a 5-for-9 effort with four runs scored and three RBIs propelling the University of Houston softball team to a 5-4 victory over Memphis Saturday afternoon in game two of a Conference USA weekend series at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
The Cougars (37-21, 14-9 C-USA) jumped on the board in the first inning via a Nordstrom two-run home run to straight-away centerfield. Nordstrom extended her hitting streak to a team-best seven games and set a new single-season program record picking up her 51st and 52nd RBIs of the season.
Memphis (28-25, 10-12 C-USA) charged back to even the score at 2-2 in the third inning taking advantage of a Houston error, pass ball and wild pitch.
Laura Durham provided a clutch two-out RBI-single in the home half of the frame allowing the Cougars to snatch back a 3-2 advantage.
Houston pushed the lead to 5-2 in the fourth inning with a two-out rally started by a Jaci Gonzalez walk. Back-to-back singles from Valis and Bush along with a Memphis throwing error gave the Cougars a three-run cushion.
The Tigers fought back with back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning from Leila Dulfo and Bridgette McNulty to draw within 5-4.
Memphis had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth inning, but Kimberly Hayden lined out to Gonzalez at second base, who alertly stepped on the bag for a double play.
Carla Kennimer moved to 8-2 on the season striking out five batters against two walks. The southpaw also moved to 5-1 in Conference USA action, while Nicki Johnson was tagged with the loss dropping to 12-9.
The two teams will conclude the regular season with a rubber game Sunday. Houston will honor its senior class of Jaci Gonzalez, Brandi Clark, Brooke Johnson and Crystal Briscoe before the game.
First pitch at the Cougar Softball Stadium is on-tap for 1pm. Live stats will be available on UHCougars.com
Houston evens the weekend and all-time series at 1-1 with Memphis ... Head coach Kyla Holas is now two wins away from 200 career victories ... The Cougars have won 12 of 14 games this season when scoring in the first inning ... Houston also moves to 28-6 on the season when scoring first ... The Cougars are 5-1 when tying with its opponent in the hit column ... Carla Kennimer improves to 5-1 in Conference USA action ... Jessica Valis has hit safely in 18 of her last 21 games ... Of her team-leading 68 hits, 49 of them have not left the infield ... Valis sets a new single-season program record for hits previously held by Kristen Glowacz during the 2004 season ... The Shiner, Texas, product has scored a run in eight of her last 11 outings ... Katie Bush matched a season-high three hits for the fifth time this season ... Bush is the third Cougar to reach the 50-hit plateau this season ... The Brenham, Texas, native has hit safely in eight in her last 11 contests and tallied her 11th multi-hit game ... Bush is four hits shy from matching Kristen Glowacz's 55 hits during the 2002 season for the No. 3 spot in the freshman single-season hit list ... Elaina Nordstrom extended her hitting streak to a team-best seven games and has driven in a run in seven of her last eight games ... It was Nordstrom's team-leading 14th multi-RBI output ... Nordstrom has reached base in 53 of 58 games this season ... The LaPalma, Calif. native passed Laura Durham for the team-lead with nine home runs ... Durham has hit safely in six of nine games and became the fourth Cougar to reach the 45-hit mark this season ... Jamie Adams has hit safely in four of her last five games ... Adams has registered a hit in 11 of 17 C-USA games she has appeared in ... Jaci Gonzalez has reached base in 26 of 38 games when in the batting order, including 12 of her last 16 outings ... Gonzalez became the seventh Cougar this season to score 20 runs.