Houston Softball Falls To No. 8 Texas In NCAA Regional Play
May 19, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - Houston Softball's run through the 2012 NCAA Tournament came to a close on Saturday as No. 8 Texas scored five early runs and held the Cougar bats to just one tally in a 10-1 victory in the Austin Regional.
Houston (35-24) won last year's Austin Regional and advanced to Super Regional play, but there was no repeat this season as the Longhorns used timely hitting from the heart of their order and great pitching from starter Blaire Luna (19-5) to improve to 44-11.
Top-seeded UT will need to defeat Northwestern twice on Sunday to advance to next weekend's Super Regional.
Bailey Watts (16-10) took the loss, but the redshirt sophomore was gutty all weekend and led Houston to its opening-day victory (2-1) over Auburn on Friday.
Texas' 2-5 hitters proved to be the difference on Saturday. The quartet combined for 10 hits, seven runs and five RBI. Lexy Bennett, the Longhorn's No. 2 hitter, blasted a first inning home run to put the hosts in front 2-0 and No. 3 hitter, Nadia Taylor went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Courtney Craig added two hits and two runs, while No. 5 hitter, Torie Schmidt, had two hits and two RBI.
Trailing 5-0 in the third inning Houston narrowed the margin to 5-1 on an RBI single from Reina Gaber, her 26th of the season. Diedre Outon scored the run and opened the scoring opportunity with a one-out double off the wall in left field. Holly Anderson drew a walk and Ashleigh Jones singled up the middle to load the bases for Gaber, who ripped the first pitch she saw up the middle for the run.
Texas made the final margin 10-1 with a four-run fourth inning and a final run in the top of the fifth on a bases-loaded walk.
Houston finished theAustin Regional with a 1-2 overall mark and advanced to postseason play for the second consecutive year, a first in program history. Just one of Houston's starters this weekend was a senior.