HOUSTON -- The University of Houston Softball team will play its first midweek game of the 2018 season with a 4 p.m. first pitch, Wednesday against Texas Southern at Memorial Park.
|UP TO THE PLATE|
Wednesday, March 7
| 4 p.m. | Houston at Texas Southern|
Houston is coming off its second straight 4-0 showing in a home tournament. The Cougars went 4-0 in the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational with wins over Yale, Syracuse, UNLV and UTSA to open its home schedule and followed with a pair of wins over Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Houston Red & White Showcase last week. Houston's 8-0 start at Cougar Softball Stadium is the program's best home start since 2008.
For the weekend, sophomore second baseman Arielle James led the Cougars with a .462 average, going 6-for-13 with one home run, three RBI and four runs scored. For her efforts, she was named to the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll for a second consecutive week.
On Saturday, junior Presley Bell carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and ended the game allowing just two hits while striking out a career-high six batters and issuing no walks. She also logged a scoreless inning of relief against the Islanders on Sunday. For her efforts, she was also named to The American Weekly Honor Roll.
As an offense, the Cougars outscored their opponents, 20-2, in the Houston Red & White Showcase. Through eight home games, Houston has scored 39 runs to its opponents' 3. On the season, the Cougars are outscoring the opposition, 72-27.
Entering Week 5 of the regular season, Houston is receiving three votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Cougars were previously receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25, garnering seven votes in Week 2 and two votes in Week 3.
Individually, sophomore third baseman Sarah Queen ranks second in The American in batting average (.438), while James (fourth, .420) and junior right fielder Maya Thomas (10th, .375) rank in the top 10. James (.517) and senior left fielder Kaylin Crumpton (.510) rank second and third in the conference in on-base percentage, respectively. The pair also rank first and third in hit by pitch with Crumpton (6) taking top honors and James (4) sitting third.
In the circle, Savannah Heebner (1.07), Trystan Melancon (1.17) and Presley Bell (1.21) rank third, fourth and fifth in The American in ERA, respectively. The trio also ranks in the top five in opponent batting average with Bell (.183) leading all pitchers and Melancon (.209) and Heebner (.211) ranking third and fifth, respectively. Heebner is tied for third in the conference with six wins.
As a team, Houston leads The American in hit by pitch (15), ranking second in batting average (.317) and on-base percentage (.384), and third in slugging percentage (.415) and hits (138). As a staff, the Cougars rank second in ERA (1.14), a mark that sits 11th in the NCAA. Houston leads the league in opponent batting average (.203), allowing the fewest runs scored (27), hits (83) and walks (21) amongst conference members.
Houston is 17-1 all-time against TSU. The Cougars are playing the Lady Tigers on the road for the first time since 2001, the first year of the Houston Softball program.
Cougar Softball Stadium
Cougars Shutout Texas Southern Twice
The University of Houston Softball team picked up its fourth and fifth straight shutout, sweeping Texas Southern, 1-0 and 6-0, in a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Cougar Softball Stadium.
ON THE OPPONENT
TSU enters the midweek matchup with a 7-3 record and is coming off a 3-0 showing in the National HBCU Softball Classic in Oklahoma City, Okla., over the weekend. The Lady Tigers lead the SWAC in ERA (2.73), ranking second in bating average (.288) and slugging percentage (.343).
After Wednesday, the Cougars return to Cougar Softball Stadium to host Iowa State, Lipscomb, Northwestern and Penn State in the Houston Hilton Plaza Classic across March 9-11.
COUGAR SOFTBALL STADIUM UPGRADES
Thanks to a record year for the Diamond Club, Houston Softball announced the addition of an LED, Daktronics video board (completed) and indoor practice facility as major upgrades to Cougar Softball Stadium.
According to Daktronics, the new outfield video board will be the fifth largest at an on-campus softball stadium in the country and the largest in the state of Texas. The board, which will sit just beyond the left-field wall, will stand 29-feet-3.1-inches tall and measure 24-feet-4.0-inches wide with 576 square feet of space (24-feet by 24-feet) for live video, instant replays, statistics and scoring information, graphics and animations, and sponsor messages. The display features a 13HD pixel layout for crisp, clear imagery for a great view from every seat at the stadium.
The indoor facility, which will replace the current batting cage down the right-field line, will measure 70-feet by 80-feet. The 5,600-square-foot space will feature five batting cages, measuring 60-feet long by 15-feet wide each, with retractable nets for the space to be used in a variety of ways. The facility will have a synthetic turf floor and will be temperature controlled.
In total, the two capital projects represent $1.2 million in upgrades.
The Houston Athletics Ticket Office is once again proud to offer the Shasta Pass for the 2017-18 season. For just $80, Cougar fans can purchase one Shasta Pass, which allows season-long general admission entrance to all Houston Volleyball, Soccer, Women's Basketball and Softball home games.
The Shasta Pass offers Houston fans a substantial saving as single-game tickets start at $5 for all four sports. To purchase a Shasta Pass, call 713-GO-COOGS or CLICK HERE.
JOIN DIAMOND CLUB
Fans can help support the Houston Softball program by joining the Diamond Club. To find out more information about the Diamond Club, visit UHCougars.com or call Cougar Pride at (713) 743-GoUH. For more information, CLICK HERE.