Softball Hosts No. 4 Alabama Wednesday
March 26, 2013
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team is set to host No. 4 Alabama on Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the marquee non-conference home game sold out last week and with no reserved seating, fans are encouraged to arrive early to get their seats. Gates to Cougar Softball Stadium open at 5 p.m.
LAST TIME OUTAfter suffering a midweek road loss at Sam Houston State (4-5), the Cougars rebounded by sweeping ECU over the weekend to improve to a second-best league mark of 8-1. Houston took the first game over the Pirates 7-2 on the strength of a balanced line up that saw every position starter reach base safely. In the second game, Houston won 2-0 behind Diedre Outon's two-hit shutout. UH ran away with the final game by posting a season-best of 14 runs and 16 hits.
ON HOUSTONHouston is 11-3 in their last 14 games and have started out 8-1 in conference action during that stretch, tying for their second best start to C-USA play in school history.
Freshman Katie St. Pierre has gotten into the swing of things as evidenced by her current 14-game hitting streak. Her average dipped to a season-low of .257 on March 1 before the streak started, and she's climbed all the way back to the top of the league leaders with her .375 clip. She has hit 486 during the stretch (18-for-37) and ranks No. 4 in the C-USA with her average, first among freshman.
St. Pierre trails Holly Anderson (.394) for the team lead in the category and C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, Haley Outon, isn't far behind either at .369. Outon has reached base safely in 23 straight games but has been avoided by opposing pitchers with a walk in 13 straight games, including 21 walks during that stretch while she's only recorded 23 official at bats.
Bailey Watts (11-2) has been aces for the Cougars inside the circle lately improving her record to 11-2 on the year and victorious in her last seven games as the pitcher on record. During her last 32.2 innings, Watts has allowed only three runs with 27 strikeouts.
ON THE COMPETITIONAlabama, the 2012 National Champions, opened the season on a 22-game winning streak before falling to No. 4 Florida in a non-conference matchup. The Tide (29-4, 6-3) have only lost to SEC teams so far this year.
The defending champs have a deep line up featuring seven starters batting above .300 and rank No. 10 as a team in the nation (.333). Haylie McCleney is leading the charge at a .481 clip and has scored a team-leading 39 times this year. Jacie Traina (9) and Kaila Hunt (8) have combined for nearly half of their 37 home runs this year.
Traina also dominates in the circle by way of a 14-2 record with a 1.72 era. She's struck out 130 batters in 109.2 innings this year and batters are only hitting .182 off of her.
PROMOTIONSThe game serves as Student Appreciation Night with 200 seats reserved for the student body. The first 100 students will receive free sunglasses holders and a chance to snag a rare Cougar Card. A Kids Zone with inflatables, $1 hot dogs (while supplies last) and Paul Wall throwing out the first pitch are part of the festivities at Cougar Softball Stadium on Wednesday evening. A postgame autograph session will take place on the field following the game.
ALL-TIME SERIESHouston and Alabama have met twice, both times in 2005, with the Crimson Tide winning 7-4 and 5-2.
FOLLOW THE COOGSFollow along with Houston Cougar Softball this season on Facebook (HoustonCougarSoftball), Twitter (@UHCougarSB) and Instagram (houstoncougars). Stay tuned to UHCougars.com for live stats and news on the program.
RPIHouston ranks No. 44 in the first RPI release of the 2013 season.
2013 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMHaley Outon - Preseason Player of the Year, Preseason First Team (C)
Holly Anderson - Preseason First Team (IF)
Reina Gaber - Preseason First Team (DP)
2013 C-USA PRESEASON POLL1. Tulsa (6)
2. Houston (1)
6. East Carolina (1)
7. Memphis (1)
8. Southern Miss
2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch ListHaley Outon was one of 50 student-athletes named to the ASA/USA Softball watch list for Player of the Year honors. The Pflugerville (Texas) native was one of four catchers and the only player from C-USA named to the watch list.
CONFERENCE LEADERSHouston holds the second highest team batting average in C-USA with a .285 clip and the highest on base average at .390. The UH pitching staff is doing their part as well ranking No. 3 among the league with an ERA of 2.17.
The trio of Holly Anderson (.389), Katie St. Pierre (.375) and Haley Outon (.369) give Houston three of the top six hitters in the league. Outon ranks first in slugging (.815), on base (.560) by over 100 points in each category. She also paces her conference competition in home runs (8) and walks (29).
Bailey Watts' 1.66 ERA ranks as the fourth-lowest among qualified pitchers.
NCAA LEADERSHouston has two hitters ranking in the tops in two free passes categories - Haley Outon ranks No. 5 in the walks per game (1.04) and Kendra Cullum is No. 4 in hit by pitches per game (0.50). Outon checks in at No. 16 in on base percentage (.560)
START ME UPHaley Outon (C), Katie St. Pierre (CF), Reina Gaber (RF) and Holly Anderson (3B/2B) are the only starters for UH who yet to miss a start for the Cougars this year. The first three have manned their positions and fielded every inning for UH this year while Anderson has made two starts at second and played two innings at short stop.
RECORD GRADESThe current class of Houston Cougar softball members has increased the team's record GPA each semester since they arrive to campus and the incoming freshman class in the fall only added to that. Thirteen teammates made school honor roll while the team posted a 3.43 cumulative GPA and a 3.59 semester average.
Houston was bestowed with the 2012 Conference USA Sport Academic Award for the highest GPA in the conference as 18 members of the team made Commissioner's Honor Roll.
SCHOOL RECORD WATCHMost doubles
1. 53 - Kristen Glowacz - 2002-05
2. 35 - Laurie Wagner - 2006-09
3. 34 - Reina Gaber - 2010-13
34 - Laura Durham - 2001-04,06
5. 33 - Arelis Ferreris - 2001-04
UP NEXTHouston travels to BYU this weekend in a Friday-Saturday showdown at Provo (Utah). In a classic Cougar showdown, the two teams meet Friday at 7 p.m. (CST) and then play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon. Saturday's games will be shown on BYUtv.