Softball Hits Road for First Time in 2007

    The Cougars face Baylor in the first road contest of the 2007 season.
    The Cougars face Baylor in the first road contest of the 2007 season.
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    Feb. 20, 2007

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    HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team opens the road schedule with a doubleheader at No. 16 Baylor. This is the third ranked opponent that the Cougars have faced this season. Houston 1-6 all-time at Getterman Stadium and 0-4 against Baylor.

    "Baylor is going to be a challenge for our team," head coach Kyla Holas said. "We don't have a winning record in Waco, and we're going to have to play our `A' game to be successful."

    Houston tallied a 30-6 (.833) record when putting a dent on the scoreboard first last season but is 3-4 this season when scoring first. The Cougars have still compiled an 87-27 (.763) mark since the start of the 2004 season when scoring first.

    Even though Houston has won at a .763 clip since the start of the 2004 season when scoring first, the Cougars have done well with the opposite effect this season. Houston is 3-0 when the opposition scores first. Christa Raley hit a three-run walk-off home run in the seventh inning against Ole Miss (Feb. 9).

    Houston has compiled a 3-5 all-time mark against Baylor but has lost all four meetings inside of Getterman Stadium. The Bears won two of three games last season.

    After knocking off No. 15 Baylor 4-2 at the Cougar Softball Stadium last season, Houston lost a doubleheader at Getterman Stadium. Baylor won game one 2-0, manufacturing a pair of runs late in the game after Candi Kloecker carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. The Bears won an 8-6 offensive slugfest in the second game, capped by a four-run sixth inning.

    Angel Shamblin became the third pitcher in Cougar history to surpass 300-strikeout mark in a relief appearance against No. 5 LSU (Feb. 17). The historic strikeout came at the beginning off the sixth inning on LSU centerfielder Leslie Klein. The Florida native enters this week's action 32 Ks away from Crystal Briscoe (2003-06) for the No. 2 spot in program history.

    In the last five of the last eight games, head coach Kyla Holas put five of her six sophomores at the top of the batting lineup. Each player brings a unique talent to the Cougar lineup. Below is a glance at each piece. Jessica Valis and Katie Bush are the slappers. Valis has hit safely in all 10 games this season and in 31 of her last 36 outings dating back to last season. The Shiner native paces the squad with 15 hits and enters this week's action 13 hits shy of reaching 100 for her career.

    Bush has recorded a hit in three of her last four games and joins Valis as one of two Cougars that hits over .400 against right-handed pitching this season. She also has used her strong arm from the outfield to gun down a runner at the plate in the season-opener against Texas-Arlington (Feb. 9).

    Even though Elaina Nordstrom is hitting .160 this season, the California native has drawn a team-best nine walks and is third on the squad with a .382 on-base percentage. Nordstrom also has reached base in 66 of her 73 career games.

    Christa Raley provided a three-run walk-off home run against Ole Miss (Feb. 9). She has a knack for getting on-base by any means necessary and has drawn three walks in addition to getting hit-by-a-pitch three this season. The La Porte native already holds the program record and has been hit-by-a-pitch 12 times.

    After going 6-for-12 at the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational (Feb. 9-11), Laurie Wagner started the Crowne Plaza Classic (Feb. 15-18) with a 0-for-14 stretch. She broke out of that mini-slump with a three-run double in the fifth inning against Centenary (Feb. 18). Wagner also provided a two-out two-run double in the first inning against No. 11 Michigan (Feb. 11) that ended up being the game-winning hit.

    Laura Durham provided pop in the middle of the Houston batting lineup last season and has already knocked a pair of home runs this season against No. 11 Michigan (Feb. 10) and Southern Illinois (Feb. 17).

    The Pearland native has tallied 11 career roundtrippers and has matched Ali McDougall (2001-02) for the No. 8 position in program history. She is currently on a three-game hitting streak and has gone 5-for-9 (.556) over that stretch. Four of her five hits have been for extra bases, including three doubles and a homer.

    Lara Lang and Amanda Grote will never forget their debuts with the Cougars. Lang provided an RBI single down the left field line in her first career at-bat against Texas-Arlington (Feb. 9), while Grote followed up with a 2-for-3 performance against Ole Miss (Feb. 9).

    Samantha Cummings first run-producing hit was a two-run double against Centenary (Feb. 18) that put the Cougars on the board in the third inning.

    Live stats for both games from Getterman Stadium will be available on The Cougars return home and play host to the Marriott Houston Hobby Invitational as Iowa State, New Mexico State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and McNeese State make trips to the Cougar Softball Stadium on Feb. 23-25.



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