HOUSTON -- The University of Houston Softball team opens NCAA postseason play at the Baton Rouge Regional, starting Friday at LSU's Tiger Park.
The No. 3 seeded Cougars face No. 2 seed Louisiana at 3 p.m., Friday, while No. 4 seed Fordham and top-seeded and No. 11 national seed LSU face off at 5:30 p.m.
The double-elimination schedule continues Saturday with the winners of Game 1 and Game 2 facing off a noon in Game 3. Game 4 pits the losers of Game 1 and Game 2 in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to face the loser of Game 3 at 5 p.m.
Game 6 of the Regional gets underway Sunday with winners of Game 3 and Game 5 facing off at 1 p.m., and should the Game 5 winner defeat the Game 3 winner, the two teams will play a winner-take-all game 3:30 p.m.
All games will be streamed via ESPN3.
|NCAA BATON ROUGE REGIONAL|
Friday, May 18
| Game 1 | No. 3 Houston vs. No. 2 Louisiana, 3 p.m. ESPN3 | Live Stats
Game 2 | No. 4 Fordham vs. No. 1 LSU, 5:30 p.m. ESPN3 | Live Stats
Saturday, May 19
| Game 3 | Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner, 12 p.m. ESPN3 | Live Stats
Game 4 | Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Winner, 2:30 p.m. ESPN3 | Live Stats
Game 5 | Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner, 5 p.m. ESPN3 | Live Stats
Sunday, May 20
| Game 6 | Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 1 p.m. ESPN3 | Live Stats|
Game 7* | Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 3:30 p.m. ESPN3 | Live Stats
On Sunday night, Houston received an at-large bid into the 2018 NCAA Softball Championship. The Baton Rouge Regional marks the eighth NCAA postseason berth in program history and first since 2014.
For a second-straight week, Houston is receiving two votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Cougars previously received three votes in Week 5, also garnering votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 with seven votes in Week 2 and two votes in Week 3.
The Cougars, who are 36-20 overall and were 13-8 in American Athletic Conference play, is coming off a 1-1 showing in The American Championship. Houston defeated No. 7 seed ECU, 3-1, in the Quarterfinals on Thursday, before falling 7-3 to No. 6 seed and eventual champion Tulsa in the Semifinals on Friday.
For their efforts during The American Championship, sophomore second baseman Arielle James and freshman designated player Tierrah Williams were named to the All-Tournament Team. Across two games, James finished 3-for-6 with a home run, walk, two RBI and one runs scored, while Williams went 7-for-3 with a three-run home run and three runs scored.
Prior to The American Championship, junior Savannah Heebner was named The American Co-Pitcher of the Year, as five Houston players garnered postseason honors. Voted on by the league's head coaches based off conference-only statistics, Heebner and sophomore third baseman Sarah Queen were named to The American First Team. James and junior right fielder Maya Thomas were named to the Second Team, and freshman designated player Aspen Howie was named to the All-Rookie Team.
On the season, the Cougars are outscoring the opposition, 253-145.
With her win over ECU in the Quarterfinals of The American Championship, Heebner collected her 25th win of the regular season and 49th of her career. Her 49 wins breaks her tie Bailey Watts (2010-13) for second all-time in program history.
Houston leads The American in hit by pitch (50), while senior left fielder Kaylin Crumpton holds the top individual mark with 20, tied for 11th in the NCAA. Sophomore second baseman Arielle James (15) and junior catcher Brooke Vannoy (6) rank second and tied for seventh in HBP in the conference, respectively. Houston also holds the top mark in walks (162).
Entering NCAA postseason play, Queen leads The American in slugging percentage (.599), while tying for third in RBI (37) and home runs (10), as well ranking fifth in hits (63) and seventh in batting average (.366). Meanwhile, James is tied four third in doubles (12) and walks (27), also sitting fourth in hits (65), fifth in runs scored (37) and eighth in batting average (.363).
In the circle, Heebner leads the Cougars with a 25-9 record and 1.17 ERA. Heebner's wins and ERA both lead The American, ranking tied for 14th and 17th in the NCAA, respectively. On the season, she has tossed 12 shutouts, a mark that is tied for fourth in the nation. Heebner also ranks second in the league in opponent batting average (.204). Pitchers Presley Bell (5-3) and Trystan Melancon (6-8) have 2.19 and 3.17 ERAs, respectively. The staff carries a 1.88 ERA, a mark that leads The American and sits 15th in the NCAA.
ON THE REGIONAL FIELD
No. 1 LSU
Houston is 3-6 all-time against LSU and 1-5 in trips to Baton Rouge, La. The Cougars and Tigers have never met in postseason play.
A national seed for the fourth-straight season, LSU enters its host Regional with a 41-14 overall record and 13-10 mark in SEC play. All 13 SEC teams made the NCAA postseason, with nine garnering national seeds.
LSU, which garnered the No. 11 national seed, is ranked No. 12 in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll and No. 11 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.
Allie Walljasper, Aliyah Andrews and Taryn Antoine all earned All-SEC honors. Walljasper was named First Team. Sophomore Aliyah Andrews earned Second Team and All-Defensive laurels, while freshman Taryn Antoine garnered All-Freshman distinction.
Amanda Doyle leads the team in batting average (.335), slugging percentage (.538), doubles (14) and RBI (44), while Andrews is tied for 10th nationally in stolen bases (38).
In the circle Walljasper is 16-5 on the season and ranks seventh in the nation in ERA (1.00), while Carley Hoover 16-6 and owns a 1.26 ERA. Hoover sits 23rd in the nation in shutouts (8). As a staff, LSU ranks eighth in the NCAA in ERA (1.42).
The Tigers are led by Head Coach Beth Torina, who is 313-133 in her seventh season at LSU. A 10-year coaching veteran, Torina is 442-224 all-time as a head coach.
The Last Meeting
April 17, 2013
No. 2 Louisiana
Houston is 6-16 all-time against Louisiana and 4-2 when meeting in the NCAA postseason. The two teams last faced off in the 2011 Austin Regional where the Cougars won 7-2.
The Ragin' Cajuns enter the weekend with a 38-14 overall. Louisiana finished 21-6 in the Sun Belt and added a runner-up finish in the Sun Belt Championship.
Louisiana is ranked No. 21 in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.
Alissa Dalton was named the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year, as she, Summer Ellyson, Kara Gremillion and Kourtney Gremillion were named All-Sun Belt. Dalton, Ellyson and Gremillion were each named to the First Team, while Gremillion was selected to the Second Team.
Dalton leads the team in batting average (.376), slugging percentage (.486), doubles (11) and RBI (30).
In the circle, Ellyson anchors the staff with a 21-8 record and 1.43 ERA. Ellyson's ERA ranks 26th in the national, while her total wins sit 33rd.
The Ragin' Cajuns are under the direction of first-year Head Coach Gerry Glasco. Glasco coached the previous nine seasons in the SEC between Auburn (2017), Texas A&M (2015-17) and Georgia (2009-14).
No. 4 Fordham
Houston and Fordham have never met before.
The Rams, winners of six-straight Atlantic-10 Tournament Championships, enter with a 33-21 overall record and went 18-4 in A-10 play.
Paige Rauch was named the A-10 Rookie of the Year, as she and three Rams were named A-10 All-Conference. Raugh and Chelsea Skrepenak were named to the First Team, while Madi Shaw and Madie Aughinbaugh were named to the Second Team. Rauch was also named to the All-Rookie Team.
Forham is tied for 15th in the nation with 59 home runs.
Skrepenak led the team in batting average (.329), while Rauch (16), Skylar Johnston (14) and Shaw (13) all finished with double-figure home runs.
In the circle, Rauch is 14-2 with a 1.55 ERA, and Madie Aughinbaugh is 16-7 and owns a 2.75 ERA.
The Rams are led by Head Coach Bridget Orchard, who is 624-376-1 in her 17th season at Fordham. A 20-year coaching veteran, Orchard is 753-418-3 all-time as a head coach.
ON THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Regionals for the 2018 NCAA Division I Softball Championship will be held May 18-20 on 16 campus sites. At each campus site, a four-team, double-elimination tournament will be conducted with the 16 winning teams advancing to the Super Regionals.
2018 NCAA Baseball Regional Host Sites:
Eugene, Ore. (Oregon)
Lexington, Ky. (Kentucky)
Columbia, S.C. (South Carolina)
Tempe, Ariz. (Arizona State)
Seattle, Wash. (Washington)
Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Alabama)
Fayetteville, Ark. (Arkansas)
Norman, Okla. (Oklahoma)
Los Angeles, Calif. (UCLA)
Tucson, Ariz. (Arizona)
Baton Rouge, La. (LSU)
Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida St.)
Athens, Ga. (Georgia)
Knoxville, Tenn. (Tennessee)
College Station, Texas (Texas A&M)
Gainesville, Fla. (Florida)
Super Regionals will be held May 24-27 on eight campus sites. At each site, two teams play in a best-of-three game format. The winners from each site advance to the NCAA Women's College World Series.
The WCWS will be held at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium - OGE Energy Field in Oklahoma City, Okla., across May 31-June 5/6. The eight teams will compete in a double elimination bracket with the final two teams then competing in a best of three format. This is the 37th annual NCAA Division I Softball Championship and the 28th time that Oklahoma City and USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium - OGE Energy Field will host this premier college softball championship event.
For the complete bracket, CLICK HERE.
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 sixth largest at an on-campus softball stadium in the country and the second 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.