May 10, 2013
TULSA, Okla. - The University of Houston softball team punched their ticket to the Conference USA Softball Championship final with a 3-0 win over No. 23 Tulsa on Friday afternoon at the Collins Family Softball Complex.
Houston (40-17) faces the winner of No. 1 UAB and No. 4 Marshall tomorrow at 11 a.m. with the game broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network. Tulsa wrapped up the season with a 42-13-1 record.
"This team is so much fun, from the very beginning we knew we had a really fun and special team here this year," said head coach Kyla Holas. "We had the toughest schedule in the history of our program this year. For them, they knew we had a big road ahead and to be playing as well as we are right now, we're really happy for them. Their hard work has paid off."
Bailey Watts (19-5) picked up her fifth shutout of the year as she outdueled the reigning C-USA Pitcher of the Year in Tulsa's Aimee Creeger (25-5). Watts surrendered a double to the first batter she faced but the Golden Hurricane runner was thrown out trying to take third. The junior from West Columbia (Texas) gave up only one more hit the rest of the way as she faced only three batters above the minimum.
Holly Anderson supplied all the power for Watts and the Cougars with a three-run homer coming in the third inning. Anderson's homer was the 12th home run of the year for the junior as she brought her RBI total up to 50. Julia Pecina reached with a single and Kendra Cullum took the first of two bean balls to set up Anderson's homer.
Despite her absent stat line (0-for-0, 2 HBP, 1 sacrifice bunt), it was a very productive day for Cullum. She upped her hit by pitch total to 36 on the year, tying Victoria Victoria Batistelli of Wagner (2007) for the second most bean balls in a season in NCAA history. She also moved up to No. 3 in career hit by pitches with 63 in her first three years.
With the run she scored, Cullum tied the school record for most runs in year (51) held by Jennifer Klinkert and current UH assistant coach Jessica Shimek (2008). The junior also cleaned up two ricocheted balls from her shortstop position that were destined to be hits for Tulsa.
With the win, Houston reached the 40-win mark for the fifth time in the program's 13 years of existence.
Houston softball faces the winner of No. 1 UAB and No. 4 Marshall tomorrow at 11 a.m. with the game broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.