April 11, 2014
|HOUSTON (24-11 | 9-0) at MEMPHIS (17-22 | 2-6)
||Saturday, April 12 | 1 & 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 13 | 11 a.m.
||Game 1 | 2 | 3
||Houston leads, 20-6
|| Houston Notes
The American Notes
HOUSTON - Houston Softball heads to Memphis, Tenn. for a three-game series against the Tigers (17-21 | 2-6) this weekend. The Cougars (24-11) are looking to improve upon their perfect 9-0 start to American Athletic Conference action.
LAST TIME OUT
Houston saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end last time out as the squad split Tuesday’s doubleheader with No. 12 Baylor. The winning streak ended similar to how it got started - an extra inning affair with a top 15 team. The streak lasted one month from Houston’s 5-4 win at Texas following an eight-inning loss to No. 7/8 Arizona.
Baylor took the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader 3-0 with all three runs and hits coming in the extra frame. Sophomore Julana Shrum threw a no-hitter through the first seven innings before gave up a hit and then the runs followed. Houston bounced back in the second game posting a 3-2 win over the Bears. Haley Outon drove in two runs and Kendra Cullum took two HBP - driving in a run with one and scoring off the other - for the Cougars to close out Tuesday’s doubleheader with a win.
ON HOUSTON (24-11 | 9-0)
The Cougars are in first place in the American Athletic Conference having won the first nine games to start the league. Houston is one game ahead of UCF (5-1) in the loss column and four in the win column as Houston has enjoyed its second-best start to conference play in school history.
Haley Outon paces the program in the power categories with nine home runs and 37 RBI as she continues to improve upon her school career records. The cleanup batter has three batters above .300 ahead of her with Katie St. Pierre (.412), Tiffani McKnight (.344) and Selena Hernandez (.316) setting the table. Hernandez ranks second with her five home runs and leads the team at 10 doubles.
Diedre Outon has been reliable inside the pitching circle for UH throwing an 11-5 record with a 2.42 ERA. The senior now has 40 career wins tying former teammate Bailey Watts for fifth-most in school history. Julana Shrum has steadily improved as the season has progressed lowering her ERA two full runs over the past month bringing it down to 3.25.
Houston leads the conference and ranks No. 16 in the nation in scoring (6.39) while ranking No. 7 in double plays per game (0.55).
ON MEMPHIS (17-22 | 2-6)
The Tigers enter the series after winning their first American Athletic Conference series taking two of three from Temple last weekend.
Lindsay Crowdus at the top of the order has the team’s best batting average at .358 and ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in triples with seven. Memphis sports a .245 batting average and has hit 15 total home runs on the year.
The Memphis pitching crew has a 2.98 team ERA led by Ellen Roberts 2.31 rate of surrendering runs. Roberts also has thrown a team-best 118 strikeouts in 14 complete games this season.
Houston leads the all-time series 20-6 and have won the seven straight and 12 of the last 13 against the Tigers. UH swept Memphis in Tennessee last season winning 7-4 and 6-0 (2x) before meeting up with the Tigers in the Conference USA Championship where Houston posted a 9-1 (5) win.
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 77 hit by pitches in her career including 71 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 was the 15th time she’s been plunked multiple times in a game (and 16 after Louisville) 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.
Head coach Kyla Holas is nearing a milestone as she has amassed 499 career wins and 199 conference victories. Overall she holds a .618 winning percentage (499-308-1) over her 13 years at the helm of Houston Softball. Her first win came in a 7-1 decision over Bethune-Cookman on Feb. 9, 2001.
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). Haley has totaled 179 career RBI to rank first in program history.
FACING TEXAN COMPETITION
The Cougars carry a 6-3 record against fellow Texan teams this season with wins over Texas (5-4), Texas A&M (2-1), Baylor (3-2), Sam Houston State (11-5, 13-5) and SFA (7-3) and losses coming to Baylor (0-3), North Texas (1-6) and Texas (1-5). The Cougars have 6 games remaining against teams from the Lone Star State facing Houston Baptist, Lamar and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
For the first time since 2011 and the second time in program history, Houston recorded wins over Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor in the same season.
Houston moved up 2 spots in the latest RPI climbing to No. 34 after the 4-0 week. The Cougars have a 8-8 record against Top 60 RPI opponents this season with six of those games coming against Top 15 opponents (2-6).
Six starters for Houston have been on the lineup card for all 29 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 169 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 29 this season. Outon is the only batter in the lineup to hold the same spot (cleanup) all season-long.
LEADING THINGS OFF
Houston is 11-1 on the season when leading after the first inning having outscored their opponents 27-13 in the opening frame this year. When scoring first, Houston is 18-2 on the year.
The team as a whole bats reaches base at a .471 clip led by Kendra Cullum’s (.765) and Katie St. Pierre’s (.636) averages.
LOOKING BACK TO 2013
Houston went 41-20 advancing to its third-straight NCAA Regional for the first time in program history. The Cougars competed in Conference USA for the 13th and final season while finishing second during the regular season (19-5) and tournament. The schedule included a 12-14 against tournament teams during the year including the results at the Austin Regional where UH went 1-2 with a win against Army while falling to South Carolina twice.
Houston travels to Beaumont, Texas and faces Lamar for a midweek doubleheader on Wednesday before returning home to host USF for a three-game conference set. The Cougars and Bulls play a doubleheader on Friday at 1 and 3 p.m. before wrapping up the series on Saturday at noon.