April 3, 2012
The University of Houston softball team hosts the Texas State Bobcats for a doubleheader at Cougar Softball Stadium starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The showdown will be the third and fourth time these two teams have met as the Bobcats topped UH 5-0 and 5-4 at the Texas A&M Invitational on March 2.
LAST TIME OUT
Facing the Conference USA leaders, the Cougars took two of three from UAB to improve to 9-3 in C-USA, good for third in the league.
Houston dropped the first game of the series 3-2 before rebounding to take the final two games and deliver the Blazers their first conference losses of the season.
The Cougars will return to Birmingham next month for the Conference USA Tournament and bring a two-game winning streak over the Blazers after stopping an eight-game losing skid to the team.
Houston holds the series edge 9-8 including this year's losses. Last year the two teams squared off twice, with each team run-ruling the other in San Marcos.
The Bobcats handed Houston their only loss of the year when trailing after six innings (13-1) this season as Teas State scored three in the seventh inning to come back over the Cougars.
Texas State (22-12 | 8-2) has won 13 of their last 15 games to rise to No. 45 in the latest RPI standings.
Chandler Hall and Anne Marie Taylor both bring in sub-2.00 ERAs into the midweek game, with 25 complete games and 14 shutouts between the two. With nearly identical stats, Texas State has relied on their two aces to shoulder the load of their winning record.
Junior second baseman Anna Hernandez leads the team with a .326 batting average including 30 hits, 14 RBIs and 13 runs scored. Hernandez is the only Bobcat hitter above .300 and the team has a .240 average.
FOLLOW THE COUGARS
Live stats for all games will be available at UHCougars.com or fans can follow @UHCougarSB on Twitter for live in-game updates.
Houston is batting .310 as a team and No. 33 in the NCAA. Halley Outon and Melissa Gregson lead the team with their identical .351 marks. Houston also ranks No. 30 in slugging percentage (.471) as Outon ranks No. 55 in the NCAA and paces the team with her .430 clip. Outon is the team leader in home runs (10) and right behind her is Holly Anderson (8).
Diedre Outon (2.52 ERA, 7-3) and Bailey Watts (2.84, 9-6) lead Houston in the circle as the sophomores have combined to throw seven complete games a piece and earned a save for one another in starts this year.
COMING UP CLUTCH
71 of the Cougars 163 RBIs this year have came with two outs and Haley Outon and Holly Anderson are major reason for this. The two rank one and two on the team in runs driven in and highlighted by 14 of Anderson's 32, and 19 of Outon's 34 have came in the clutch situations.
Reina Gaber is hitting .524 with runners on base (22-of-42) and .516 with runners in scoring position (16-of-31).
Houston inched up the RPI list to No. 63 and have a chance to increase that number with the road ahead as No. 45 Texas State comes to town.
The Cougars moved up to No. 9 in the NCAA in double plays per game (0.51) after turning four over the weekend. Houston's single-game high for DPs is three against UL. First baseman Jaime Edwards has been involved in all 17 of the Cougars twin-killings this season, and Jennifer Klinkert (10) and Holly Anderson (9) have been involved in the most of the other position players.
Following the action on Wednesday, the UH athletics staff will compete in a home run derby. Last year, Rusty Laverentz (Director of Operations, Women's Basketball) and Brandon Maddux (Assistant Director of Ticket Operations) tied for the title.
SEASON STORY NOTES
Head coach Kyla Holas reached career and program win number 400 on opening day as Houston defeated Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 10-0. Holas had to wait an extra day to get a crack and No 400 as Houston's first scheduled game of the year against North Texas was cancelled due to rain.
For the second year in a row, Houston set a program attendance record at the annual Striking Out Breast Cancer Game. The mark surpassed last year's crowd of 1,672,
NEED FOR SPEED
Heading into the 2012 offseason, Houston looked to improve their scoring potential with a new approach on the base paths. The Cougars have racked up 60 steals this year and rank No. 25 in the NCAA per game in the category (1.66). Led by Ashleigh Jones (13-for-14) and Jennifer Klinkert (8-10), Houston is on pace to break the program record for steals in season (70 - 2008).
CONFERENCE USA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Diedre Outon was named the C-USA Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 13) after the opening weekend of play at the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic. Outon went 2-0 with a save over four appearances.
Outon again earned the weekly honor (March 26) as she threw a no hitter against Memphis with eight strikeouts.
Reina Gaber was named the C-USA Hitter of the Week (Feb. 21) after hitting .571 (8-for-14) with six runs and five batted over the four games during the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational.
BEAT THE STREAK
Houston beat No. 21 Texas A&M in College Station earlier this year to end the Aggies NCAA-leading home-winning streak of 34 games.
The Houston pitching staff has thrown two no hitters thus far this year. Bailey Watts threw a hitless game against Louisiana Monroe, her second of her career, on Feb. 18
Seven freshman have made starts for Houston this year including Jaime Edwards who has started at first base every game this season. Sydney Gerbracht ranks second among the rookies with 15 starts coming at DP.
Big production from freshman is nothing new for Houston as nearly every returning starter has been named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team - Diedre and Haley Outon (2011), Bailey Watts (2010), Jennifer Klinkert (2008; Freshman of the Year), Ashleigh Jones (2010) and Reina Gaber (2010).
IN A PINCH
Redshirt freshman Sydney Gerbracht has came up huge for Houston off this season. While the Torrey Pines, Calif., native has made 19 starts and owns a .400 batting average, she has made her biggest hits as a pinch hitter. All three home runs by Gerbracht this year have come in that role.
The Cougars have their bye weekend this week and return to play next Tuesday as they host Texas A&M - Corpus Christi at 4 and 6 p.m. for a doubleheader.