May 17, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Houston softball team (40-19) dropped its opening game of the NCAA Regional Tournament to the University of South Carolina (33-23), 6-4 in Austin, Texas on Friday.
"South Carolina executed better on the mound and offensively," said head coach Kyla Holas. They had the key pitches that got outs and we didn't. Then, they got the key hits that we didn't. It was good to see we never gave up and kept fighting but in the end, we need to produce better results then that."
Senior>Holly Anderson reached base twice and drove in two runs as the Cougars came from behind to erase an early 4-1 deficit, but could not complete their comeback, ultimately falling to the Gamecocks.
Houston wasted no time getting the scoring going when they drove in the game's first run in the first inning. The Cougars put their first runner in scoring position with a single from Kendra Cullum and Anderson reached on an error by the USC shortstop.>Kayla Holland connected on a single with two outs to drive in Cullum and give UH the 1-0 lead.
The run scored for Cullum now gives her the program record of 52 in a season.
Junior starting pitcher>Bailey Watts worked her way out of trouble in each of the first two innings after the Gamecocks put runners on first and second with two outs in both frames, but came away with nothing.
However, South Carolina would get on the board in the third inning. After loading the bases on a pair of singles and a 15-pitch walk, USC's designated player Ashlyn Masters knocked an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left-center field to give South Carolina a 4-1 lead.
The Cougars came roaring back in the sixth when freshman centerfielder>Katie St. Pierre beat out an infield single with runners on the corners to bring the score to 4-2. St. Pierre extended her hitting streak to a team high seven games as part of a 2-for-3 effort at the plate.
Following the two out single, Cullum drew a walk to load the bases for Anderson who tied the game with a two-run single to left field. Anderson notched her 15th multi-RBI game of the season with the hit.
South Carolina led off the second inning with a single and a walk to put runners on first and second with nobody out. After a groundout moved both runners in scoring position, Masters would come through again with a single to left to drive in two more runs and make the score 6-4.
Outon (12-8) took the tough luck loss for the Cougars after allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out three in 4.2 innings pitched. Houston hitters stranded 10 runners on base and were just 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the ballgame.
With the loss the Cougars fell to 4-2 all-time in opening games in NCAA Regional play.
The Cougars will be back in action tomorrow at 2 p.m., to face the loser of Game 2 between Army and the University of Texas. Games against Texas will be televised exclusively on the Longhorn Network while the remaining tournament games will be available on ESPN3.