"Before we came out here today, coach had a talk with us. 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."
Second Baseman Jaci Gonzalez
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."
This afternoon was the first-ever meeting for Houston and East Carolina in the Conference USA Championship ... The Cougars now lead the all-time series with ECU, 9-6 ... The victory over the Pirates was head coach Kyla Holas' 200th career win ... The 39 wins also match a program-high for victories in a season ... Houston has won 29 of 35 games this season when scoring first ... Over the last three seasons, the Cougars are 84-23 when denting the scoreboard first ... Houston is also 17-9 when wearing blue jerseys and blue pants ... The Cougars are now 2-2 in the C-USA Championship following a loss winning two straight decisions ... Thirty-five of Houston's 39 wins this season have come when the Cougars have scored more than three runs ... The Cougars are also 29-3 when holding the opposition to two runs or less ... The Houston pitching staff also fired it's 18th shutout of the season ... All nine of the Cougar starters registered a hit ... Houston has compiled a 15-1 record when registering double-digit hits in a game ... With six strikeouts, Angel Shamblin set a new program single-season record for strikeouts in a season passing Jenny Johnson's 175 Ks set during the 2003 campaign ... Shambin now has 179 strikeouts on the season ... Jessica Valis and Elaina Nordstrom are the only Cougars to start in all 61 games this season ... Valis has hit safely in 20 of her last 24 games ... Nordstrom notched her 16th multi-hit game and team-leading 15th multi-RBI game ... With two hits, Nordstrom is now one hit away from matching Kristen Glowacz's 67 hits for second place during a single-season ... Katie Bush has registered a hit in seven of her last 10 games ... Bush notched her 12th multi-hit game ... The Brenham, Texas, native is just one hit shy from matching Kristen Glowacz's 55 hits for third place in a single-season by a freshman ... Laurie Wagner ripped her seventh double of the season in the second inning ... Twelve of Wagner's 22 RBIs have come against C-USA opponents ... Jamie Adams knocked her seventh double of the season in the fourth inning ... It was Adams' third two-bagger of the C-USA Championship ... She added her eighth multi-hit game of the season and second of the C-USA Championship ... Adams has hit safely in 12 of 18 games she has played in against C-USA opponents ... The Houston, Texas, product was also the eighth Cougar to reach the 30-hit plateau ... With a walk in the second inning, Jaci Gonzalez has reached base in 29 of 41 games when in the batting lineup, including 15 of her last 19 outings ... Gonzalez is the 11th Cougar to reach double-digit RBIs ... Pinch-runner Courtney Spittler scored her sixth run of the season ... The Cougars have won four of six games when Spittler scores as a pinch-runner.