Fighting Illini knock Cougars out of NCAA Tournament
May 21, 2004
WACO, Texas - The University of Houston softball team saw its post season play come to an end Friday evening, as they fell 3-2 to Illinois at Getterman Stadium in Waco, Texas on the campus of Baylor University.
After two innings of scoreless play, Illinois jumped out to a 3-0 lead, taking advantage of four hits. With one out, Lindsey Hamma hit a RBI single up the middle to score LeeAnn Butcher and give the Illini a 1-0 lead. A Katie O'Connell sacrifice fly made it a two-run game before Elene Planinsek singled to right to score Hamma and give Illinois a three-run cushion.
"I feel we did everything we could," Houston head coach Kyla Holas said. "We knew it was going to come down to a game of offense, and the numbers were very close. It wasn't a very high strike out game. It was about who got the brakes."
Houston (39-25) had several opportunities to cut into the lead, the first coming in the bottom of the sixth inning when Michelle Keith got a pinch hit single and Jamie Adams picked up a two out infield single. The Cougars however did not capitalize on the opportunity as Kristen Glowacz popped up to center field to end the inning.
Houston made a last ditch effort in the bottom of the seventh inning as Brandi Clark ripped a double to left center field which forced Melissa Lynch to third base. Lynch was on first base after entering the game as a pinch runner for Jenilee Skender who had singled.
Senior Arelis Ferreris then lofted a deep fly ball down the right field line which was caught on a dive by Illinois right fielder Erin Montgomery. Taking advantage of the sprawling Montgomery, both Lynch and Clark came around to score. Clark put the second run on the board for Houston with a text book slide, that just beat the tag of catcher Janna Sartini.
The two runs was as close as the Cougars could put up in the final frame, as sophomore Jaci Gonzalez stuck out swinging to end the game.
The Cougars 39 wins mark an all time high in school history and their win against Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the opening game of the day, was the first NCAA Tournament win for the program.