May 6, 2013
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team closed the regular season with a 6-5 win over Mississippi State at Cougar Softball Stadium Monday evening. Houston answered every scoring inning by the Bulldogs with one of their own to improve to 38-17 on the year.
After a leadoff home run gave the Bulldogs (32-22) the early 1-0 lead, the Cougars answered the initial attack with a three-run spot of their own in their first turn at bat.
Houston's Kendra Cullum reached safely with the first of her two hit by pitches on the day before senior Holly Anderson drew a walk in the bottom of the first. Kayla Holland's single to shallow left field allowed Cullum to score. Holland and Anderson would come around to make it 3-1 on a MSU miscue at third base on the next play.
Holland (2-for-3) hit her fourth home run of the year, a solo shot to left center, in the third inning to give UH the 4-1.
Mississippi State plated a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 4-3. Senior Julia Pecina answered in the bottom of the frame with a line drive homer down the left field line that stayed fair and bumped the lead back up to two, 5-3.
MSU added another pair of runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game before Pecina stepped up to the plate again. Pecina hit a double to score Diedre Outon and gave the Cougars their final tally. Pecina, playing in her last home game at Cougar Softball Stadium and on her birthday, was huge for Houston going 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Bailey Watts started the contest but ran into trouble in the fifth inning and turned the ball over to Diedre Outon with the bases loaded and a tie score. Outon (11-6) struck out the first batter she faced to end the fifth inning threat and kept the Bulldogs at bay with 2.1 hitless innings for the remainder of the game. Outon threw two more strikeouts on her way to picking up her 11th win of the year (11-6).
Holland, Pecina and Katie St. Pierre (2-for-4) combined for all six of Houston's hits with the trio each contributing two a piece. Houston was outhit 6-8 but committed two less errors in the game.
The C-USA Championship begin Thursday, May 9, at the Collins Family Softball Complex on the campus of the University of Tulsa. Houston (2) faces Memphis (7) on Thursday at 11 a.m. in the first round. Championship games leading up to the final will be shown live on the C-USA Digital Network: http://www.conferenceusa.com/allaccess/