HOUSTON -- The University of Houston Softball team returns to American Athletic Conference play with a three-game series against Wichita State starting Friday at Cougar Softball Stadium.
The Cougars will hold their annual "Alumni Weekend" on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, all former letterwinners in attendance will be recognized on field pregame. A slowpitch game will also be held after Saturday's contest. On Sunday, Houston will recognize the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 NCAA Super Regional Team with a special ceremony pregame.
|UP TO THE PLATE|
| Houston (25-15, 4-5 The American) vs. Wichita State* (22-15, 5-4 The American)
Cougar Softball Stadium
| Live Stats: Game 1, Game 2, Game 3|
Live Stream: Game 1, Game 2, Game 3
Houston, which is 25-15 and 4-5 in The American, is coming off a doubleheader split at Lamar on Wednesday. The Cougars fell 3-2 in nine innings in the first game, before winning 6-3 in 11 innings in the nightcap. Juniors Savannah Heebner and Maya Thomas each collected four hits across the twin bill. Heebner led the team with two multi-hit games, going 4-for-9 with a double, triple, walk, two runs scored and a stolen base, the first of her career.
Last week, sophomore second baseman Arielle James went 10-for-15 with one double, four RBI, three runs scored, two stolen bases and a hit by pitch. For her efforts, she was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week. The conference nod is the first of her career and second for the Cougars on the season after senior shortstop Mariah Garcia picked up the laurel after opening weekend.
On the season, the Cougars are outscoring the opposition, 185-106.
Houston leads The American in hit by pitch (39), while senior left fielder Kaylin Crumpton holds the top individual mark with 17, ranking sixth in the NCAA. James (11) and junior catcher Brooke Vannoy (6) rank second and tied for fifth in HBP in conference, respectively.
Entering the weekend, James leads The American in doubles (12), also ranking second in hits (55) and third in batting average (.404), while sophomore third baseman Sarah Queen is tied for sixth in home runs (6) and hits (46), and sits 10th in slugging percentage (.547). As a team, Houston is batting .290.
In the circle, Heebner leads the Cougars with a 16-6 record and 0.93 ERA. Heebner's ERA leads The American and sits 17th in the NCAA, while her total wins rank third in the conference and also sit 17th nationally. On the season, she has tossed seven shutouts, a mark that is tied for eighth in the nation. Heebner also ranks second the league in opponent batting average (.191). Pitchers Presley Bell (3-3) and Trystan Melancon (6-6) have 2.17 and 2.88 ERAs, respectively. The staff carries a 1.78 ERA, a mark that leads The American and sits 16th in the NCAA.
Prior to the season, Houston was tabbed second in The American Preseason Coaches' Poll, garnering two first-place votes.
The Last Meeting
February 11, 2017
Cougar Softball Stadium
Houston is 0-2 all-time against Wichita State and 0-1 when hosting the Shockers at Cougar Softball Stadium after falling 5-2 in 2017.
The Shockers, who are receiving two votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll, enter the weekend with a 22-15 overall record and 5-4 mark in The American. Wichita is coming off a 7-6 decision at No. 2/2 Oklahoma on Wednesday.
The Shockers are hitting .280 as a team and hold a 3.68 ERA in the circle. Wichita leads the conference with a .469 slugging percentage and 39 home runs.
Laurie Derrico ranks second in The American in home runs (8) and fifth in slugging percentage (.598), while Mackenzie Wright leads the team in batting average (.361). In the circle, Bailey Lange ranks fourth in the nation with five saves. Lange is 12-9 overall and has a 3.18 ERA.
The Shockers are led by Head Coach Kristi Bredbenner, who is 192-173 in her seventh year at the helm. A 13-year coaching veteran, Bredbenner is 518-274 all-time as a head coach.
Wichita was picked fifth in The American Preseason Coaches' Poll.
After the series, the Cougars host Tulsa in a three-game set across April 20-22 at Cougar Softball Stadium.
COUGAR SOFTBALL STADIUM UPGRADES
Thanks to a record year for the Diamond Club, Houston Softball announced the addition of an LED, Daktronics video board (completed) and indoor practice facility as major upgrades to Cougar Softball Stadium.
According to Daktronics, the new outfield video board is the fifth largest at an on-campus softball stadium in the country and the largest in the state of Texas. The board, which sits just beyond the left-field wall, stands 29-feet-3.1-inches tall and measure 24-feet-4.0-inches wide with 576 square feet of space (24-feet by 24-feet) for live video, instant replays, statistics and scoring information, graphics and animations, and sponsor messages. The display features a 13HD pixel layout for crisp, clear imagery for a great view from every seat at the stadium.
The indoor facility, which will replace the current batting cage down the right-field line, will measure 70-feet by 80-feet. The 5,600-square-foot space will feature five batting cages, measuring 60-feet long by 15-feet wide each, with retractable nets for the space to be used in a variety of ways. The facility will have a synthetic turf floor and will be temperature controlled.
In total, the two capital projects represent $1.2 million in upgrades.
The Houston Athletics Ticket Office is once again proud to offer the Shasta Pass for the 2017-18 season. For just $80, Cougar fans can purchase one Shasta Pass, which allows season-long general admission entrance to all Houston Volleyball, Soccer, Women's Basketball and Softball home games.
The Shasta Pass offers Houston fans a substantial saving as single-game tickets start at $5 for all four sports. To purchase a Shasta Pass, call 713-GO-COOGS or CLICK HERE.
JOIN DIAMOND CLUB
Fans can help support the Houston Softball program by joining the Diamond Club. To find out more information about the Diamond Club, visit UHCougars.com or call Cougar Pride at (713) 743-GoUH. For more information, CLICK HERE.