Softball Lands Pitcher of the Year Transfer from Louisiana-Lafayette
Dec. 8, 2010
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball program announced Wednesday that two-time Louisiana Sports Writer Association (LSWA) Pitcher of the Year Donna Bourgeois will pitch for the Cougars this spring.
"Having a senior who has played almost every inning since her freshman year and had a lot of success, such as going to the Women's College World Series and being in the (NCAA) Super Regionals every year, is a big statement for us," head coach Kyla Holas said.
The 2009 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year spent the first three years of her career playing for the husband and wife coaching tandem of Michael and Stefni Lotief at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Louisiana's program is one with which Holas is very familiar, as she posted a 104-20 record pitching for Louisiana-Lafayette (then Southwestern Louisiana). In 1993, she led the Ragin' Cajuns to a third-place finish at the NCAA Women's College World Series. Holas' .839 career-win percentage still ranks in the Top 15 in the NCAA record books.
Bourgeois carts a heavy list of accolades with her to Houston, including three years as a member of the Sun Belt All-Conference Team, two years on the Sun Belt All-Tournament Team and last season's Sun Belt Tournament MVP.
The Lafayette, La., native has also made a name for herself on the regional scene. Following her sophomore and junior seasons, Bourgeois was named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Region Team and earned a spot on the Baton Rouge All-Regional Team last season. Aside from being a three-time member of the All-Louisiana Team, Bourgeois was the Louisiana Freshman of the Year in 2008.
Her accomplishments only add to what Holas knows about her incoming pitcher. Bourgeois will likely have an immediate impact on the outlook of the season, becoming a go-to option on a pitching staff that already includes senior Amanda Crabtree and 2010 All-Conference USA All-Freshman Team member Bailey Watts.
Crabtree led the team with 198 strikeouts in 152 innings of work last season, while Watts held the lowest ERA on the team (2.85). With a lineup projected to consist of several freshmen and sophomores, Bourgeois will be looked upon to help relieve the pressure on a young offense.
"She is such a compliment to (Amanda) Crabtree," Holas said. "Amanda throws curves and rise, and Donna throws drop. She's just such a competitor. All of our pitchers can stand to see someone whose expectation levels are that high every single day. I don't want to put too much pressure on her and say that's she is the one piece (that we need), but I always say you can't have too much pitching."
Holas also attributed a large amount of credit to Dr. Simon Bott and the university faculty, as Houston's strong pre-med program was one of the deciding factors in her newest addition's decision. Bourgeois will major in pre-med at Houston and plans to specialize in homeopathic medicine.
"Being so late in her career, she was really deciding between softball and school," Holas said. "Dr. Bott in chemistry did a great job of helping to sell her major and what she's wanting to do here. He showed her what the University of Houston has to offer. We appreciate him because he was a big deciding factor for her. At Houston, she found that she can do her major the way she's wanting to and play softball."
As she heads into her final year with a new team, Bourgeois will look to improve on career numbers that are already not far from flawless. As a rookie, her 0.93 ERA led the Sun Belt Conference and ranked eighth in the country while helping the Ragin' Cajuns advance to the WCWS.
She nearly doubled her win total as a sophomore in 2009, going 30-9 with a 1.07 ERA in 235.1 innings. Posting monster numbers, Bourgeois ranked seventh nationally in victories and eighth in ERA. Last season, Bourgeois threw 31 complete games and earned a 23-10 record with a 2.01 ERA.
This February, Bourgeois will start her senior season as a Houston Cougar with a career record of 69-24 (.742).
"When you look at all of the things that had to align for this to happen you kind of know that this was the place for her to be," Holas said. "I'm really glad that it worked out because she's a great kid and a great competitor. She is going to finish out her senior year how she wants."
Bourgeois and the Cougars are scheduled for a doubleheader against the Ragin' Cajuns on March 30, 2011.