Softball Derails East Carolina in Elimination Game
May 12, 2006
TULSA, Okla. - Nine Cougar players registered hits coupled with two hurlers combining for a two-hit shutout leading the third-seeded University of Houston softball team to a 7-0 victory over fifth-seeded East Carolina in an elimination game Friday afternoon at the Conference USA Championship on the Tulsa campus.
"Before we came out here today, coach (Kyla Holas) had a talk with us," second baseman Jaci Gonzalez said. "It was one of the best speeches she has given us. She said that we were missing determination. She brought out the seniors and asked us if we felt like this was really going to be our last game and if we wanted it to end this way. We just came out here and pulled together as a team playing our best with our backs up agianst the wall."
Houston (39-22) advances to play Southern Miss (29-37) in an elimination game tonight at 6:30pm CDT. The win over the Pirates was also the 200th career win for head coach Kyla Holas and the 39 wins match a program single-season record.
"Being one of only two teams to sit all day after yesterday and not get another chance to step on the field gave the team a lot of time to think," head coach Kyla Holas said. "We just made our minds up to be a little more determined and play the kind of ball we wanted to play."
C-USA Player of the Year Angel Shamblin set a new program single-season records picking up her 16th win of the season and broke the single-season strikeout mark with six Ks against the Pirates.
The Davie, Fla., native was dominant being touched up for just one hit in six innings of action. At one point, Shamblin retired 10 of 11 batters she faced.
"I was just focused on throwing strikes and finishing what I start out there this afternoon," Shamblin said. "It's more comforting knowing that we were ahead instead of having to come from behind."
The Cougars snatched the early 1-0 advantage in the second inning as Shamblin opened the frame with a single to leftfield. Shamblin moved to second on a Laura Durham sacrifice bunt and came around to score when Laurie Wagner cranked a double to right centerfield.
ECU hurler Keli Harrell was tagged with the loss dropping to 26-15 after being rocked for six hits in just over three innings of work for three earned runs.
The Cougars made it 4-0 in the fifth inning capitalizing on an ECU fielding error by right fielder Beth Nolan allowing pinch-runner Courtney Spittler to score from first base on a Christa Raley single.
Houston added two more runs in the sixth inning on an Elaina Nordstrom bases loaded single and pinch-hitter Brandi Clark scored from first base on the play as ECU centerfielder Alison Nance fired the ball into the Pirate dugout for the final margin of 7-0.
Bush, Nordstrom and Adams each tallied multi-hit games as the Cougars pounded out a current Championship-high of 12 hits.
Houston will play Southern Miss in another elimination game tonight at 6:30pm CDT. Live stats will be available on UHCougars.com
"We can't really remember when it started but Southern Miss has always been a big rivalry for us," Holas said. "Anytime we get to play them you are going to see the best from both of our teams. It is just going to be a great game and a good way to go out for either one of us."
"We have to leave it out there on the field," Gonzalez said. "We have to lay it all on the line and just go one step at a time and one pitch at a time."