May 19, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - Houston Softball battled Northwestern for seven innings, but a seven-run second inning ultimately propelled the Wildcats to a 13-9 victory over the Cougars in the winner's bracket of the 2012 Austin Regional on Saturday.
The Cougars (35-23) had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but a great play by the Wildcat shortstop, Emily Allard, created a force play at third allowing Northwestern (29-27) to advance to Sunday's finale.
Houston will play the winner of today's Texas-Auburn game at approximately 6 p.m. at Red & Charline McCombs Field.
Houston opened the game with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Ashleigh Jones worked a walk and Reina Gaber added to the base paths with a single. Haley Outon put Houston on the board with an RBI single down the left field line to extend her school record for RBIs in a single season (64) and her hitting streak to nine games. Following Outon's single, Melissa Gregson tattooed the first pitch she saw with a double to right center field and scored Gaber and Outon to put Houston up 3-0.
That's when Northwestern took control, scoring seven runs in the second to go up 7-3. Six of Northwestern's runs in the frame were unearned and home runs by Adrienne Monka and Amy Leatoruneau fueled the surge.
The Cougars answered in the bottom half of the frame with a two-run spot to cut the lead to 7-5. Jones scored for the second time in the game after beating out an infield single and advanced to second on an errant throw to first. The Spring, Texas, native scored on Reina Gaber's double off the right field wall. Haley Outon moved Gaber around to third base on her single up the middle and Gregson recorder her third RBI of the day with a sac fly to move Gaber across the plate.
Northwestern plated three runs in the top of the third and another in the fourth to go on top 11-5, but Houston rallied once again. The Cougars scored three in the sixth inning to make the score 11-8, but two runs by the Wildcats in the top of the seventh allowed the Wildcats to escape Houston's late-game rally and earn an 13-9 victory.