HOUSTON -- Freshman Sarah Queen hit a bases-loaded, walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the University of Houston Softball team a 5-4 victory over USF to clinch the American Athletic Conference series win, 2-1, in the regular-season finale on Sunday afternoon at Cougar Softball Stadium.
Tied 4-4, base hits from junior Kaylin Crumpton and redshirt sophomore Sarah Barker and an error on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases with one out before Queen screamed one over the head of the center fielder to plate the game-winning run.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 28-24 overall and 12-6 in The American, while the Bulls fall to 32-23 on the season and 9-8 in conference action. The walk-off win gives Houston its fifth series victory in league play.
Sophomore Presley Bell picked up the win in relief to improve to 3-6 in the circle. The native of Liberty, Texas, entered in the top of the ninth after eight strong innings from starter Savannah Heebner and tossed two scoreless frames with zero hits allowed.
Queen (3-6) and fellow freshman Arielle James (3-5) led the way at the plate with three-hit efforts, while Barker (2-4) and sophomore Maya Thomas (2-5) each recorded two hits as the Cougars recorded 13 hits as a team. Senior Shelby Miller and Queen each doubled.
3rd | USF struck first with one run on a fielder’s choice in the top of the third inning. However, the Cougars rallied in the bottom frame. A Thomas single, Miller double and intentional walk to Crumpton loaded the bases. From there, consecutive walks to Barker and Heebner, and a single from junior Mariah Garcia gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead.
4th | The Cougars added one run in the bottom of the fourth on a throwing error to go up 4-1.
6th | The Bulls plated two runs in the top of the sixth to cut Houston’s lead to 4-3.
7th | USF tacked one another run in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 4-4 and force extra innings.
10th | Queen’s walk-off single capped a three-hit frame to give the Cougars a 5-4 walk-0ff victory.
Top Offensive Players:
Sarah Queen | 3-6, RBI (walk-off, RBI single)
Arielle James | 3-5, R, BB
Sarah Barker | 2-4, RBI, IBB, BB
Maya Thomas | 2-5, R, IBB
Kaylin Crumpton | 1-2, R, 2 IBB
Mariah Garcia | 1-4, RBI
Shelby Miller | 1-6, R
The Cougars will enter the 2017 American Athletic Conference Championship as the No .2 seed. Houston will face seventh-seeded UConn in a 12:30 p.m. CT first pitch on Thursday, May 11. The American Championship is being held May 11-13 at East Carolina’s ECU Softball Complex in Greenville, N.C.
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