May 7, 2006
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team rode the right arms of Crystal Briscoe and Candi Kloecker to a 3-1 Senior Day victory over Memphis in the regular season finale Sunday afternoon at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
With the victory, the Cougars (38-21, 15-9 C-USA) finished the regular season tied for second place and will be seeded third in the upcoming Conference USA Championship hosted by Tulsa. Houston will open with Southern Miss (27-36, 11-13 C-USA) Thursday morning at 10am.
"I'm excited for our seniors to go out on a winning note at home," head coach Kyla Holas. "Each one of them had a big piece in today's victory and has meant so much to the growth of our program."
Briscoe made the most of her Senior Day start, firing 4.2 innings of one-run ball, while striking out four against two walks.
Kloecker came on for the final 2.1 innings of relief and registered her first career save, being touched up for just one hit.
Memphis (28-25, 10-13 C-USA) dented the scoreboard first getting a Tori Gross RBI-single in the fourth inning.
Houston responded in the home half of the inning sending eight batters to the plate and made the most of four Memphis errors.
Laura Durham opened the frame with a single and moved to second base on a fielding error by Memphis leftfielder Leandra Hines. Durham stole third base and evened the score at 1-1 on a wild throw by Memphis catcher Kimberly Hayden.
The three seniors at the bottom of the Cougar lineup continue the rally as Brooke Johnson drew a walk and Brandi Clark reached on an error. Jaci Gonzalez legged out an infield single, and Johnson crossed the plate giving the Cougars a 2-1 edge as the ball got away from Memphis first baseman Kara Ross. Jessica Valis platted Clark pushing the Cougars ahead 3-1 on another infield hit.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the fifth inning, but Kloecker got Bridgette McNulty to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice to protect the 3-1 advantage.
Kloecker got a game-ending double play in the seventh inning off the bat of Hayden giving the Cougars the 3-1 win.
The Cougars will begin with Southern Miss in the opening round of the Conference USA Championship. First pitch against the Golden Eagles at the Donna J. Hardesty Complex in Tulsa is set for 10am. Live stats for all Houston games at the C-USA Championship will be available on UHCougars.com
Houston won the rubber game of the weekend series and improved to 2-1 all-time against Memphis ... Head coach Kyla Holas is one win away from picking up her 200th victory ... The Cougars honored seniors Jaci Gonzalez, Brandi Clark, Brooke Johnson and Crystal Briscoe before the game ... Houston finishes the 2006 season with a 25-7 mark at the Cougar Softball Stadium and the senior class ends its reign 73-44 at home ... The Cougars are 34-9 this season when scoring at least three runs and move to 28-2 when giving up two runs or less ... Houston is now 10-15 when the opposition scores first ... The Cougars have won 27 of 36 games when outhitting its opponent ... With two strikeouts in relief, Candi Kloecker is seven strikeouts away from Jenny Johnson's 129 Ks for sixth-most in a season ... Jessica Valis and Laura Durham were the only Cougars to pick up a hit in all three games of the Memphis series ... Valis has hit safely in 19 of her last 22 games, including eight of her last nine outings ... She produced her team-leading 23rd multi-hit game ... Of her team-leading 70 hits, 50 of them have not left the infield ... Valis is the first Cougar in program history to reach 70 hits for a season ... The Shiner, Texas, native picked up her 25th stolen base of the season in the fourth inning ... She is now tied with Arelis Ferreris (2001-04) for No. 4 all-time in the career stolen base department ... With her RBI-single in the fifth inning, Valis became the 10th Cougar to reach 10 RBIs this season ... Katie Bush has registered a hit in six of her last eight games ... Bush is now three 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 had her team-best seven game hitting streak snapped after going 0-for-3 ... It was only the sixth time this season that Nordstrom did not reach base ... Laura Durham has hit safely in seven of her last 10 games and picked up her ninth stolen base of the season in the fourth inning ... Brooke Johnson has tallied a hit in three of her last five appearances ... With her single in the sixth inning, Brandi Clark is three hits shy of reaching 100-career hits ... Jaci Gonzalez has reached base in 27 of 39 games when in the batting order, including 13 of her last 17 outings ... Gonzalez moved into sole possession of fifth place notching her 120th career hit in the fourth inning.