Softball Hosts Eighth Annual Striking Out Breast Cancer Game
March 25, 2014
HOUSTON - Houston Softball hosts the eighth annual Striking Out Breast Cancer Game presented by Wells Fargo this Wednesday, March 26 at Cougar Softball Stadium. The annual Pink Game partners Houston Softball and the Susan G. Komen For the Cure with all proceeds from the event given to the foundation. Houston and No. 20/22 Louisiana Lafayette will play a doubleheader starting at 4 and 6 p.m. inside a stadium decked out in pink with the 1,000 fans in attendance receiving free pink t-shirts.
SUSAN G. KOMEN FOUNDATIONNancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Susan G. Komen is the boldest community fueling the best science and making the biggest impact in the fight against breast cancer. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure, the foundation has invested almost $2 billion to fulfill our promise, working to end breast cancer in the U.S. and throughout the world through ground-breaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 50 countries.
For more information about the Komen foundation, visit their website at www.komen.org.
AUCTION ITEMSOver 150 (and counting) items will be available for auction at the game including the pink game-worn jerseys and helmets and pink softball bats with individual player numbers. Autographed Houston Athletics memorabilia will include an Andre Ware football, Hakeem Olajuwon/Clyde Drexler/Elvin Hayes basketball, Case Keenum and DJ Hayden football, Carl Lewis track shoes and much more. The gates open at 3 p.m. and the auction will close at the top of the sixth inning of the second game.
WATCH AND LISTENWednesday's game will be streamed online at UHCougars.com with commentary provided by Crawford and Katy Beth Sherman. Follow the action on GameTracker now available on most mobile devices.
LAST TIME OUTHouston (16-10 | 3-0) enjoyed the beginning of American Athletic Conference action by sweeping Temple this past weekend. The Cougars run-ruled the owls 8-0 twice on Saturday and recorded their second come-from-behind victory of the week to take Sunday's game. Jaime Edwards drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning as Houston won 7-6 over the Owls (7-14, 0-3). The Cougars also posted a three-run, seventh-inning rally to take a 5-4 win over Texas in Austin last week. Three-straight RBI singles by the Cougars offense allowed UH to pick up the program's second win all-time in Austin. Tiffani McKnight batted .500 (6-for-12) for the week, drove in six runs and scored four times to earn American Honor Roll honors for the second time this season.
ON HOUSTON (16-10 | 3-0)
The Cougars are riding a four-game winning streak after sweeping Temple and winning at Texas in Austin last week. The Cougars began the season on a 9-2 run as the host of a pair of tournaments and have since gone 8-8 since. The recent stretch includes a 1-4 mark against Top 10 opponents with the lone win coming against No. 4/5 Michigan for the highest-ranked win in program history.
With seven runners scoring in double digits, Houston ranks third in the conference in runs scored and second in home runs with 23 homers. Haley Outon's home run (6) and RBI (21) totals rank third and fifth in the league and the team-leader in scoring is fifth in the conference with 24 runs scored. Tiffani McKnight (.394) and Katie St. Pierre (.385) lead the team in batting. St. Pierre also leads the team with her 0489 on base percentage and currently has .376 career batting average which is the highest in program history through 200 at bats.
The UH has turned to a trio of hurlers in to get the job done inside the pitching circle. Diedre Outon (5-5), Summer Groholski (4-2) and Julana Shrum (4-3) have thrown 168 innings thus far and Outon's 2.41 ERA ranks as the best on the team.
Houston ranks No. 5 in the NCAA in double plays per game (0.62) and No. 30 in scoring (5.96).
ON LOUISIANA (22-6-1 | 3-0Louisiana enters the doubleheader as winners of seven-straight and have posted wins in 14 of the last 15 games under head coach Michael Lotief. The 12th year coach has led his program to a 565-143-1 record during his tenure.
UL leads the Sun Belt Conference in nearly every offensive category as the Ragin' Cajuns rank No. 1 in the NCAA in home runs per game (1.59). Freshman Hayley Hayden is the team leader with 10 homers and there's a trio of Cajuns at eight. Senior Natalie Fernandez has strung together the third-highest batting average in the nation at .517 as the leadoff hitter enters the game with a 14-game hitting streak.
The Ragin' Cajuns rely on Christina Hamilton (11-1) and Jordan Wallace (9-2) to deal most of their damage from inside the circle as the two starters have combined to throw over 64% of the team's innings this year. Hamilton has allowed just a .154 batting average against and Wallace has thrown a team-best 97 strikeouts.
SERIES HISTORYHouston trails 6-16 in the all-time series against the Ragin' Cajuns as the two teams have enjoyed a thrilling history with one another. Louisiana has won four-straight games in the series over UH dating back to 2011 when Houston beat Louisiana twice at the NCAA Austin Regional. In addition to the history on the field, Houston head coach Kyla Holas was a three-time All-American student-athlete at Southeastern Louisiana, now known as Louisiana Lafayette, from 1991-94. Holas posted a 104-20 career record for the 18th best winning percentage (.839) in NCAA history ERA while her 0.23 ERA as a sophomore at UL ranks as the No. 20 best in NCAA history.
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'TKendra 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 75 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 three 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 her second of the inning as Houston batted around the lineup. 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.
RECORD GRADESHouston 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)
OUTON BOMBSHaley 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 TEXAS TEAMSThe 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.
FAMILIAR FACESSix starters for Houston have been on the lineup card for all 26 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.
LEADING THINGS OFFHouston is 8-1 on the season when leading after the first inning having outscored their opponents 21-11 in the opening frame this year. The team as a whole bats .500 when leading off an inning highlighted by Kendra Cullum's .786 reaching base clip followed by Selena Hernandez .619 clip.
LOOKING BACK TO 2013Houston 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 returns to conference play this weekend when Louisville enters Cougar Softball Stadium for a three-game series. Saturday's doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. with Sunday's finale set for noon.