GREENVILLE, N.C. -- The No. 2 seeded University of Houston Softball team disposed of No. 7 seed UConn, 7-0, in the quarterfinals of the 2017 American Athletic Conference Championship on Wednesday afternoon at ECU Softball Complex.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 29-24 overall, while the Huskies close their season at 17-31.
Sophomore Savannah Heebner improved to 14-10 in the circle behind her fifth shutout of the season and eighth overall of her career. The native of Sedalia, Colo., scattered five hits while striking six and issuing just one walk.
Redshirt sophomore Sarah Barker led all with a two-hit performance. Barker finished 2-for-3 with a triple, walk and run scored, while Sarah Queen (1-1), Kaylin Crumpton (1-3), Arielle James (1-3) and Maya Thomas (1-3) all hit safely. Both Crumpton and James doubled, respectively.
1st | Houston struck first with one run in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, senior Shelby Miller reached on a walk before Crumpton drove her home with a double off the left-center wall one batter later.
2nd | The Cougars tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second. Queen led things off with a walk. After a sacrifice bunt from junior Mariah Garcia and walk to sophomore Brooke Vannoy, James plated Queen on a double through the left side of the infield. James later followed, advancing to third base and home plate on a pair of wild pitches for a 3-0 lead.
3rd | A sacrifice fly from Queen in the bottom of the third added another run to Houston's lead. Crumpton (hit by pitch) and Barker (walk) each reached on free passes to lead things before a sac bunt from Heebner put the two in scoring position. Queen followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to deliver Crumpton for a 4-0 advantage.
4th | The Cougars continue to add to their lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth. After Vannoy walked to lead things off, she quickly stole second base before a groundout advanced her to third base on batter later. In the next at bat, Thomas plated Vannoy on a single down the left-field line to put Houston up 5-0.
5th | Two more runs for the Cougars highlighted the bottom of the fifth inning. Barker led off the frame with a triple to left center. Heebner followed with a walk to put runners at the corners, before Queen plated Barked on a single through the left side of the infield one batter later. Freshman Breezy Burton then reached on a pinch-hit hit by pitch, and a bases-loaded walk to James scored Heebner for a 7-0 lead.
Savannah Heebner (W, 14-10) | 7.0 IP, CG, SHO, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
The Cougars advance to The American Conference semifinals where they will see No. 6 seed and host ECU in an 11:30 a.m. CT first pitch on Thursday. The game will be streamed on The American Digital Network and can be found here. Houston is making its third-straight appearance in the semifinals.
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