May 11, 2006
TULSA, Okla. - Sixth-seed Southern Miss used a pair of two-out hits to slide past the third-seeded University of Houston softball team 2-1 Thursday morning in the opening round of the Conference USA Championship at the Donna J. Hardesty Softball Complex.
Houston (38-22) drops to the loser's bracket and will play at 12:30pm Friday afternoon, while Southern Miss (28-36) advances to play second-seeded Marshall at 4pm. The Cougars will play East Carolina (40-23), who lost a 4-3 decision in 10 innings to top-seeded Tulsa.
"We were just unable to make the plays that you need to make in a championship softball," head coach Kyla Holas said. "The little things that win games at this point of the season are critical and we didn't execute in those clutch situations."
The Cougars went 1-for-9 on the afternoon with runners in scoring position and left six runners on-base, including a pair of runners in the fourth, fifth and one in the sixth inning.
C-USA Pitcher of the Year Angel Shamblin (15-9) was the tough-luck loser, being touched up for only three hits but two earned runs. The Davie, Fla., native recorded eight strikeouts against four walks and is two Ks shy of reaching Jenny Johnson's single-season program record.
USM pasted together four innings from starter Danielle Wymer (9-6) and got three innings of relief from Samantha Davis, who added her second save of the season.
The Golden Eagles grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first inning as Ashley Brenan drew a walk and stole second base. Brenan came around to score on a Jennifer Fox two-out RBI-single.
Houston started a rally in the third inning as Jamie Adams cranked a double off the right field fence. Jaci Gonzalez followed with a single up-the-middle, but the score stayed 1-0 as Adams was called out at the plate on a throw from USM centerfield Allison Bullard.
Houston tied the score at 1-1 with a Laura Durham sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Courtney Spittler, but runners were left stranded on second and third base as Laurie Wagner flew out to end the frame.
Southern Miss retook a 2-1 advantage in the fifth inning as Ashley Davis slapped a two-out single through the right side and scored as Brenan knocked a triple past a diving Katie Bush in centerfield.
Jamie Adams and Christa Raley each recorded 2-for-3 days on offense, but the Cougars left six runners in scoring position, including a pair of runners in the fourth, fifth and one in the sixth inning.
The Cougars will play an elimination game Friday afternoon against East Carolina at 12:30pm. Live stats will be available on UHCougars.com
Houston falls to 14-11 all-time and to 2-2 against Southern Miss in the Conference USA Championship ... This morning marked the fourth consecutive season that the two teams have matched up in the C-USA Championship ... Houston is now 2-3 in opening games all-time at the C-USA Championship ... The Cougars drop a 2-1 opening round decision last season to USF ... The Cougars also drop to 10-6 when the opponent scores first and to 7-8 when the opposition scores in the first inning this season ... Houston is now 9-8 in one-run games ... The Cougars fall to 7-6 in red jerseys and gray pants ... With eight strikeouts, Angel Shamblin is two Ks away from matching Jenny Johnson's single-season program record of 175 Ks ... It's the 11th time this season that the Davie, Fla., native has recorded at least seven strikeouts ... Houston is now 7-4 in those games when Shamblin registers at least seven Ks ... Jessica Valis and Elaina Nordstrom are the only Cougars to start all 60 games ... With a walk in the fourth inning, Nordstrom has reached base in 54 of 60 games ... Pinch-runner Courtney Spittler scored her fifth run ... The Cougars are 3-2 this season when Spittler scores as a pinch-runner ... Christa Raley added her ninth multi-hit game and became the sixth Cougar to reach the 35-hit plateau ... Raley has hit safely in three of four games against Southern Miss ... Laura Durham added her 34th RBI of the season in the fourth inning ... Durham is now one RBI shy of matching Kristen Glowacz for No. 8 spot on the single-season record list ... Jamie Adams knocked her fifth and six doubles of the season ... Adams recorded her seventh multi-hit game and has hit safely in 11 of 17 games she has played in against C-USA opponents ... Jaci Gonzalez has reached base in 28 of 40 games when in the batting lineup, including 14 of her last 18 outings.