Home Runs Propel Softball to C-USA Championship Game, Defeating ECU 5-1

    Senior Angel Shamblin hit one of two Cougar home runs in a 5-1 win over ECU.
    Senior Angel Shamblin hit one of two Cougar home runs in a 5-1 win over ECU.
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    HOUSTON -- The top seeded University of Houston softball team defeated No. 5 ECU, 5-1, in the semifinals of the Conference USA Championship Friday at Cougar Softball Stadium.

    The Cougars used home runs from junior Laurie Wagner and senior Angel Shamblin to to advance to the title game for the second consecutive season.

    UH improved to 50-8 on the season and 15-8 all-time against the Pirates. ECU's record drops to 36-28 on the year.

    Wagner's 19th home run of the season gave UH a 2-0 lead in the third inning. It was a two-run shot over left field, scoring freshman Jennifer Klinkert who had reached base on a walk. Wagner, who set the UH single-season mark in Thursday's 9-1 win over Memphis, now holds the C-USA single-season record as well.

    Wagner also moved into fourth place on the UH career charts and ninth in the C-USA annals with 24 career round trippers. Her next home run will move her up a spot on both career lists.

    Senior Angel Shamblin continued the long ball trend later in the inning, hitting a two-run home run over left field, scoring junior Haley Valis who reached base on a walk. The home run was her third this season.

    ECU responded in the bottom of the inning, when Erin St. Ledger hit a solo home run to right center.

    The Cougars extended their lead on back-to-back doubles from freshman Baillie Lott and junior Christa Raley in the sixth inning. After Lott reached base, Raley brought her home to give UH a 5-1 lead.

    Shamblin got out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Pirates loaded the bases but Shamblin was able to get ECU's Vanessa Moreno to fly out to deep center field to end the game

    Shamblin eclipsed her own UH record for single-season wins with her victory, improving to 32-2. She went the distance, allowing one run on two hits while striking out five. She has won her last 16 games. Her last loss came on March 18 against Virginia Tech.

    Houston will play No. 2 UCF in the championship game on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:36 p.m. UH faced the Knights in Orlando, Fla., earlier in the season, splitting the series 1-1. This will be the Cougars second consecutive trip to the C-USA Championship game and third all-time. Houston is 1-1 in championship games.

    Saturday's game will air live on CBS College Sports Television. Fans can also follow the action on Gametracker by clicking on the softball schedule page.



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