March 21, 2014
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball program (13-10) opens up American Athletic Conference play this weekend when Temple (7-11) comes to town for a three-game series. Saturday’s doubleheader starts at 1 p.m. followed by Sunday’s Daddy-Daughter game at noon. Fans can purchase one adult and one youth ticket for just $10 for Sunday game and have access to the field following the game to play catch and take photos.
LAST TIME OUT
Houston (13-10) enters the weekend series fresh off a 5-4 win against Texas in Austin on Wednesday evening. The Cougars used a three-run, seventh-inning rally to help earn the victory.
After Houston gained a 2-0 lead in the third inning, the Longhorns (18-15) posted a pair of two-run outings in the fifth and sixth innings to take their first advantage of the game. The lead didn’t last for long as three-straight singles by Jaime Edwards, Kayla Holland and Sydney Gerbracht brought the Cougars back and gave Houston their second-ever win against UT in Austin.
Diedre Outon started the game for Houston lasting five innings and throwing four strikeouts. Sophomore Julana Shrum entered in relief during the sixth and threw two innings of scoreless relief to pick up her fourth win of the year (4-3).
ON HOUSTON (13-10)
Houston took an 11-day break from action following the Judi Garman Classic before toppling Texas 5-4 in Austin to improve to 13-10 on the year.
With five runners scoring in double digits, Houston ranks second in the conference in runs scored and first in home runs per game. Haley Outon’s home run (6) and RBI (21) total lead the American.
Sophomore Katie St. Pierre leads the team with a .370 batting average, ranks second on the squad with a .471 on-base percentage and is one of five Cougars with double digit runs (16). Haley Outon leads the team in scoring as the catcher has crossed the plate 23 times on the season, six times coming via a home run, while sporting a team-best .476 on-base and .613 slugging percentage.
UH has turned to a trio of hurlers in Diedre Outon (5-5), Summer Groholski (4-2) and Julana Shrum (4-3) to pitch the ball. Outon’s 2.41 ERA ranks as the best on the team.
The Cougars began the season on a 9-2 run as the host of a pair of tournaments and have since gone 4-8
while spending 10 of those games at road tournaments. The recent stretch includes a 1-4 mark against Top 10 opponents during the rough stretch of the season.
Houston ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in double plays per game (0.68).
ON TEMPLE (7-11)
Temple enters the weekend series sporting a 7-11 record with a number of games being cancelled or postponed due to weather issues this season. The Owls finished the 2012 season with a 32-26 mark within the Atlantic 10 conference, finishing third in the league at 15-7. Fourteen letterwinners return including starters and four pitchers.
Kelsey Dominik is the top offensive and pitching threat for TU. Dominik leads the team in batting average (.364), on base (.453), ERA (1.95) and carries a 4-4 record into the contest. Only two Owls have posted double-digit RBI totals including Dominik (10) and Leah Lucas (13). Lucas also possesses the team-lead with three home runs.
Temple won 6-5 over Saint Peter’s and dropped an 8-0 decision to Akron the last time they took to the field, 14 days ago at the Rebel Spring Games tournament hosted in Winter Haven, Fla.
This is the first meeting in program history for the two teams.
USA SOFTBALL TOP 50 “WATCH LIST”
Houston’s Haley Outon is one of 50 student-athletes that has been named to the “Watch List” for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award awarded by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball.
This is the second-straight season the senior catcher has been named to the Preseason Watch List. Outon is one of four American Athletic Conference student-athletes named to the list along with Katie Keller (Louisville), Sara Nevins (South Florida) and Stephanie Pasquale (Temple). The Top 25 Finalists for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 9.
DODGE, DUCK, DIP, DIVE, DODGE...OR DON’T
Kendra Cullum was a three-sport athlete at Conroe High School but dodgeball was not one of those. Cullum has taken a beating on her way to first base as she’s totaled 73 hit by pitches in her career including 63 while wearing the Red and White. She set a school record with 21 bean balls in 2012 and then broke her own mark in 2013 with 38 bean balls. The 38 bean balls rank as the third-most in a NCAA single-season.
Cullum moved into second place in the NCAA history for career hit by pitches (1. 92 Mariah Gearhart, Oklahoma State) when she took body shots against Stephen F. Austin on Feb. 16, 2013. The three times she was hit by a pitch is the 15th time she’s been plunked multiple times in a game and the record-setting beanball was the second of the inning she received. Against Northwestern (May 19) in the 2012 NCAA Regionals, Cullum was hit by a pitch four times to set another program record in the category.
Houston was recognized as one of the 2013 NFCA Top Ten All-Academic Teams. UH ranked eighth in the nation with a 3.53 cumulative team GPA which was an all-time record for the Cougars. Houston softball tied for the UH sport program lead with a fall semester GPAs of 3.48 while sporting the second-highest cumulative GPA behind the tennis team. Haley Outon earned the Team’s Academic MVP and was named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team.
Ten Cougars earned NFCA All-American Scholar Athletes in 2012-13 (Holly Anderson, Jaime Edwards, Reina Gaber, Sydney Gerbracht, Ashleigh Jones, Diedre Outon, Haley Outon, Katie St. Pierre, Tess Soefje and Bailey Watts)
Haley Outon has established herself as the program’s premier long-ball hitter as she moved into first place in the record books with her 48th career home run against Nicholls State on Feb. 22. Outon’s fifth home run of the year added to her impressive weekend where she went 6-for-13 (.462) with three home runs, nine RBI and seven walks. Outon now holds the career and single season (22, 2011) Houston records.
She also shares two NCAA records thanks to her power prowess. She became the fifth player in NCAA history with home runs in six-straight games (May 1-11, 2012) and the eighth to hit two grand slams in a single game (April 13, 2013 at UTEP).
FACING TEXAN COMPETITION
The Cougars carry a 4-2 record against fellow Texan teams this season with wins over Texas (5-4), Sam Houston State (11-5, 13-5) and SFA (7-3) and losses coming to North Texas (1-6) and Texas (1-5). The Cougars have 11 games remaining against teams from the Lone Star State facing Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Houston Baptist, Lamar and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Six starters for Houston have been on the lineup card for all 23 games this year in their respective positions - Kendra Cullum (LF), Katie St. Pierre (CF), Selena Hernandez (SS), Kayla Holland (2B), Jaime Edwards (1B) and Haley Outon (C). St. Pierre and Outon started all 61 games at both of their positions in 2013 while Outon has started 163 consecutive games dating back to April 9, 2011. The catcher started the last 20 games of 2011 (56 overall), all 59 games in 2012, all 61 in 2013 and 23 this season.
LOOKING BACK TO 2013
Houston went 41-20 advancing to their third-straight NCAA Regional for the first time in program history. Houston competed in Conference USA for the 13th and final season while finishing second during the regular season (19-5) and tournament. Houston went 1-2 in the Austin Regional earning a win against Army while falling to South Carolina twice while posting a 12-14 against tournament teams during the year.
Houston hosts No. 20/23 Louisiana Lafayette on Wednesday, March 26 for the eighth annual Striking Out Breast Cancer game with the first game of the doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Houston will wear pink uniforms and help raise funds for the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation with a live auction, raffle prizes and more. Louisville enters Cougar Softball Stadium for a three-game weekend series on March 29-30.