|Friday - Feb. 15|
|10 a.m.||Texas vs. DePaul||Gametracker|
|12:30 p.m.||Illinois vs. Texas||Gametracker|
|3 p.m.||DePaul vs. Houston||Gametracker|
|5:30 p.m.||Houston vs. Illinois||Gametracker|
|Saturday - Feb. 16|
|10 a.m.||Illinois vs. DePaul||Gametracker|
|12:30 p.m.||Texas vs. Illinois||Gametracker|
|3 p.m.||Houston vs. DePaul||Gametracker|
|5:30 p.m.||Texas vs. Houston||Gametracker|
|Sunday - Feb. 17|
|9 a.m.||DePaul vs. Texas||Gametracker|
|11:30 a.m.||Illinois vs. Houston||Gametracker|
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball program will serve as host for the Hilton Houston Plaza Invite this weekend as they welcome DePaul, Illinois and Texas to Cougar Softball Stadium.
The Cougars (4-2) faces DePaul (4-1) and Illinois (3-2) on Friday, DePaul and Texas (6-0) on Saturday and the final game of the tournament against the Illini on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Both Friday and Saturday's sets are back-to-back with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. both days.
Houston struggled in the field over the first two days of the tourney, committing eight errors in four games before shoring up the defense in the final day and making only one mistake in the field.
Four pitchers threw for the Cougars over the weekend and Summer Groholski led the crew with a 2-0 record and 11 strikeouts in 12 innings of work. Freshman Julana Shrum threw a shutout against Texas State in her first appearance in the circle wearing the UH letters.
The Houston hitters are batting .279 as a team with Holly Anderson (.471) and Reina Gaber/Katie St. Pierre (.350) leading the way. Three home runs with Haley Outon, Kendra Cullum and Kayla Holland each chipping in one.
DePaul (4-1) opened their season with just one run allowed in their four wins, while falling 8-2 to No. 18 Louisville at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic. The Blue Demons picked up wins over UCF, UNLV, Minnesota and Texas Tech, outscoring their opposition 26-1 in the victories. Kristen Verdun leads the team in batting average (.533), hits (8), total bases (14) and is the ace in the circle for the demons with a 3-1 record.
Illinois (3-2) took on No. 1 Alabama in their opening game of the 2013 season and suffered a 2-7 setback against the defending national champions at the UNI Dome Tournament hosted by Northern Iowa. The Illini picked up wins against North Dakota State, Green Bay and Northern Iowa inside the dome while falling to Drake as well. The Illini have are a perfect 19-for-19 on the base paths this year.
Texas (6-0) began their season hosting the Texas Classic and won all five games played at their own park. The Longhorns snuck in a 6-0 win over Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday this week. UT has put up 37 runs while only allowing five so far this year. Brejae Washington leads the team batting .500 with 10 steals, tied with Kim Bruins in the team lead in the same category. Bruins hasn't allowed a run while pitching.
Against the former Conference USA foes, DePaul, Houston is 4-14. UH won the 2008 series 2-1 the last time these two teams faced off. Houston is 0-2 all-time against Illinois with a 2004 loss (2-3) to the Illini knocking Houston out of the Waco (Texas) NCAA Regional.
The junior Outon led the team in batting en route to establishing new school records in the home run (22) and RBI categories while the trio combined for a .360 batting average, 188 hits and 133 RBI.
Freshman Jaime Edwards made the C-USA All-Freshman team batting .325 with and RBI every five at bats before her rookie campaign was cut short with an injury. The native of Austin (Texas) returns healthy and rejoins starters fellow infielder Kendra Cullum who made 51 starts at shortstop in her first year with the program. Cullum's claim to fame in 2012 came the hard way as the Conroe (Texas) native took first base care of the bean ball 21 times to set a school record.
Junior Bailey Watts, a 2010 C-USA All-Freshman selection, leads Houston in the pitching circle bolstered by a young but experienced pitching crew including junior Diedre Outon, sophomores Summer Groholski and Ty'ara Law. The group threw every pitch last year and welcome freshman Julana Shrum to the mix.
Mizzou transfer and Pearland (Texas) native Taylor Duplechain, freshman Katie St. Pierre (Flower Mound, Texas), Jessica Snyder (The Woodlands, Texas) Tess Soefje (Frisco, Texas) are set to earn their first UH letters this year.
Holly Anderson - Preseason First Team (IF)
Reina Gaber - Preseason First Team (DP)
2013 C-USA Preseason Poll (1st place votes)
1. Tulsa (6)
2. Houston (1)
6. East Carolina (1)
7. Memphis (1)
8. Southern Miss