May 15, 2014
HOUSTON - Houston Softball travels to Waco, Texas for the first round of the NCAA Tournament this weekend hosted at Baylor University. Houston and Tulsa start the regional action, which runs from May 16-18, on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
The winner of Friday’s game takes on the winner between No. 13 Baylor and Northwestern State on Saturday at noon. The losing team of both games meet at 2:30 p.m. in the double-elimination round.
WHERE TO WATCH
Fans can watch the free audio and video broadcasts of all the games throughout the weekend here at BaylorBears.com.
Tickets are available for purchasing day passes or all-tournament passes. All-Tournament chair-back seats are available for $36 or single-day passes can be purchased at $10 apiece per day or $7 per day for students. Fans are encouraged to visit BaylorBears.com and click tickets to get them in advance to avoid lengthy lines for tickets. For any questions regarding tickets, contact the Baylor Ticket Office at 254-710-1000.
Friday, May 16, 2014
4:30 pm Game 1: Houston vs. Tulsa
7:00 pm Game 2: Northwestern State vs. Baylor
Saturday, May 17, 2014
12:00 pm Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
2:30 pm Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
5:00 pm Game 5: Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3
Sunday, May 18, 2014
1:00 pm Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
3:30 pm Game 7: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary)
ON HOUSTON (32-21 | 13-8)
Houston finished the first season of the American Athletic Conference in fourth place posting a 32-21 overall record and 13-8 mark in league play. The Cougars’ season was filled with streaks as the up-and-down season began with UH posting a 9-2 record to start the season as the host of a pair of tournaments. After a rocky road tournament schedule where Houston went 1-7 during the stretch, UH bounced back with a 12-game winning streak and a 16-2 record covering a span with wins over Michigan, Texas, Texas A&M, Louisville and Baylor.
UH leads the league scoring 5.6 runs per game to rank No. 40 in the NCAA and the defense has helped limit the opposition’s chances to score turning the 11th most double plays per game (0.51).
Haley Outon leads the conference with her 15 home runs and 53 RBI as she continues to build her leads in the UH program career records. The senior has been walked the 17th most in the NCAA per game (0.8). Sophomores Katie St. Pierre and Selena Hernandez have helped set the plate for Outon with St. Pierre batting second-best in the conference (.391) and third-best on base percentage (.489). Hernandez, the leadoff batter, has belted a team-best 14 doubles while scoring the second-most runs in the conference with 46. Junior Tiffani McKnight gives the Cougars a fourth .300+ batter in the top of the lineup batting .316.
Diedre Outon leads the charge inside the circle throwing a 15-9 record to the tune of a 2.68 ERA on the year. Sophomore Julana Shrum possesses a 3.35 ERA with a 10-7 mark and the pitching staff as a whole has a 3.11 ERA and .273 batting average against.
ON BAYLOR (42-13 | 13-5)
The No. 13 seeded Baylor Bears are one of 16 schools across the nation to host a regional and carry a 14-6 record at home this season. Baylor finished second in the Big 12 this season under head coach Glenn Moore in his 14th year at BU. This is the ninth NCAA appearance for Baylor.
The Bears finished sixth in the NCAA in team ERA behind the arms of Whitney Canion (26-9, 1.43), Heather Stearns (13-4, 1.69) and Liz Paul (3-0, 1.94). Canion ranks among the Top 20 in the NCAA in strikeouts (244), wins, hits allowed and ERA.
Baylor’s offense combines to bat .309 with Kaitlyn Thurmann’s .405 average leading the way. The Bears rank No. 17 in the NCAA in home runs per game with three batters (Clare Hosack, Linsey Hays and Jordan Strickland) in the double digits with their totals.
ON TULSA (50-7 | 19-4)
Tulsa posted a 50-7 record en route to winning the Conference USA regular season and tournament championships with a 19-4 conference record in 2014. The Golden Hurricane advance to the program’s seventh NCAA appearance under head coach John Bargfeldt, who is in his ninth year leading the team.
TU ranks among the nation’s best in a number of categories including posting the third-best W/L percentage (.877) and carry the fourth best ERA at 1.51. Aimee Creger (27-1, 1.25) leads the NCAA in strikeouts per seven innings (11.9) and forms with Bailey Erwin (13-3, 1.32) and Caitlin Sill (10-3, 2.32) for a strong rotation.
Tulsa sports a strong batting average ranking No. 10 in the nation at .330 highlighted by Jill Barrett’s .453 average, also ranking No. 10 in the NCAA. Eight batters hit above .300 and six members on the team have over 30 RBI. Erica Sampson leads the team with 40 RBIs and 11 home runs this season.
HOUSTON AND TULSA SERIES HISTORY
UH leads the all-time series 14-11 and won three-of-four games last season. Houston won 3-0 over Tulsa during the Conference USA semifinals (May 10) and posted a pair of walk-off wins over TU during the regular series. Haley Outon hit a two-RBI single in a 4-3 win before hitting a home run to give UH the 3-2 win in the doubleheader. The two teams have met for nine straight years after spending the first eight in Conference USA and the two teams will continue the series next year as Tulsa joins the American Athletic Conference. This is the first meeting between the two schools at an NCAA Regional.
HOUSTON AND BAYLOR SERIES HISTORY
Houston is 10-15 against Baylor with the two teams splitting the season series over the past two years. Baylor ended the Cougars season-high 11-game winning streak claiming a 3-0 win in eight innings back on April 8. Julana Shrum tossed a no-hitter through the first seven innings but ultimately took the loss. Houston bounced back in game two winning 3-2. The two teams have never met in the post season.
ON NORTHWESTERN STATE (30-20 | 15-10)
Northwestern State advances its fifth NCAA tournament by virtue of winning the Southland Conference Championship after posting a 30-20 record on the year and 15-10 to finish second in the league.
Donald Pickett leads the team in his sixth year at the helm.
The Lady Demons have slugged the 12th most home runs in the NCAA per game this year (1.24) with Cassandra Barefield, Kelly Kincannon and Brittney Jones all posting over 10 long balls. Leadoff batter Tara McKenney has a team-best .396 batting average and has stolen 15 bases.
The pitching staff has a combined 3.39 ERA and .259 batting average against. Kaylee Guidry is the team’s ace with a 12-3 record and 2.57 ERA.
HOUSTON AND NORTHWESTERN STATE SERIES HISTORY
UH leads 3-2 in the all-time series with the two teams last playing at Houston on March 14, 2012. UH won 6-1 in the game with Haley Outon hitting a three-run homer in the game.
HOUSTON NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY (13-12)
Houston carries a 13-12 record in NCAA tournament games and an 11-8 record during regional play. This is the second time Houston has earned a trip to Waco where the Cougars earned their first postseason bid back in 2004. This is the fourth-straight season UH has advanced to the postseason and the seventh time in the program’s 14-year history.
2004Waco Regional 1-2
Seton Hall L, 2-4
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi W, 1-0 (8)
No. 17 Illinois L, 2-3
2005College Station Regional2-2
Louisiana W, 4-3 (9)
No. 7 Texas A&M W, 8-1
Texas A&M L, 13-2 (5)
Texas A&M L, 5-0
2008Houston Regional 3-0
Delaware State W, 9-0 (5)
No. 25 Washington W, 2-1
Washington W, 2-0
2008Houston Super Regional 1-2
No. 16 Louisiana L, 4-6
Louisiana W, 6-5
Louisiana L, 0-4
2011Austin Regional 3-0
No. 24 Louisiana W, 7-2
No. 6 Texas W, 1-0
Louisiana W, 4-1
2011Stillwater Super Regional 1-2
No. 22 Oklahoma State L, 0-3
Oklahoma State W, 1-0
Oklahoma State L, 5-6
2012Austin Regional 1-2
Auburn W, 2-1
No. 8 Texas L, 1-10 (5)
Northwestern L, 9-13
2013Austin Regional 1-2
South Carolina L, 4-6
Army W, 7-5
South Carolina L, 1-5
Sisters Diedre and Haley Outon both picked up First Team All-American Athletic Conference honors with Haley being selected as the top catcher and Diedre earning P/Utility first team honors. Shortstop Selena Hernandez earned second team honors. Haley’s first team distinction is the third of her career and she’s the fifth Cougar in school history to be selected three times.
DODGE, DUCK, DIP, DIVE, DODGE...OR DON’T
Kendra Cullum was a three-sport athlete at Conroe High School but dodge ball was not one of those. Cullum has taken a beating on her way to first base as she’s totaled 87 hit by pitches in her career including 81 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. She’s been hit multiple times in a game 18 times and the beanball to move into second place on the NCAA all-time list, was the second time she was hit in that inning. 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.
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. 23. 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 Houston records for home runs and RBI.
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).
Twice this year Haley has hit multiple times in a game (at Memphis, April 12 and at UConn, April 5) joining her sister Diedre as the only Cougars to hit multiple home runs in a game this season - a feat they accomplished three straight weeks.
FACING TEXAN COMPETITION
The Cougars carry a 10-4 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), SFA (7-3), Lamar (5-2, 7-1) and HBU. Houston has losses coming to Baylor (0-3), North Texas (1-6), Texas (1-5), HBU (6-5) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (9-4). 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.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
The Cougars has played 12 tournament teams this season (Arizona, Baylor, Florida State, Long Beach State, Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota State, Texas, Texas A&M, UCF, USF) and are 7-14 against tournament teams. Houston dropped four spots to No. 47 in the final RPI of the season. UH has 8-15 record against top-60 teams this season.
Six starters for Houston have been on the lineup card for all 53 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 193 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 52 this season. St. Pierre has started all 113 of her games for Houston in center field.
Head coach Kyla Holas picked up her 500th win leading Houston to a 12-5 win in 11 innings over Memphis on April 12, 2014. She has been at the helm for all 500 of the Cougars wins and earned the 200th conference victory over the Tigers with the win.
LEADING THINGS OFF
Houston is 15-3 this season when scoring in the first inning and 22-8 when scoring first. As a team, the Cougars are reaching base at a .450 clip to start an inning lead by Kendra Cullum (.594) and Katie St. Pierre’s (.636) averages.
The Cougars have posted a 27-1 record when leading after four innings and 21-2 record when leading after six. Diedre Outon has picked up two saves this season and almost had another against HBU on April 25 but due to being the pitcher on record, Outon could not record her third save of the season.
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 was recently named to the 2014 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.
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.