May 5, 2012
HOUSTON - Southern Miss rallied in both games but fell to Houston on Saturday in a doubleheader at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
In the opener, the two teams traded sets of three-run innings but the Golden Eagles (13-32, 4-18 C-USA) could not completely rally and fell 7-5.
A pitcher's duel in the nightcap kept the scoring low before Southern Miss rallied back from a four-run deficit but fell just short again, 4-3.
Houston struck early and often in the opening inning as they tallied three runs on four hits, including a one-out triple off the wall in right field from Haley Outon.
Southern Miss got on the board in the second when Chanell Thurman and Stephanie Shiflet led off with a pair of singles. Following a strikeout and flyout, Thurman came in from second on a failed pickoff attempt as the ball sailed into center field.
The Cougars responded with another three runs in the second, two coming off the bat of Reina Gaber whose single to center cleared the bases to push the lead to 6-1.
In the top of the third, Southern Miss again got a pair of bases runners on and Thurman made it a 6-2 game with a sharply hit grounder that was misplayed by the shortstop, Kendra Cullum, which allowed Caroline Walker to come in from third. Shiflet added another run on a two-out single up the middle to bring in Mackenzie Sher to split the lead in half. After Danielle LaPointe singled to load the bases, Brittany Lilly entered as a pinch hitter to drive in the inning's final run, a line drive into left field.
Caroline Walker got her first homer of the season, a shot over the right field fence, in the fourth to make it a 6-5 ballgame. Houston matched the roundtripper with one of their own from Haley Outon, her 18th of the season, to push their lead back to 7-5.
In the seventh, the Golden Eagles were able to get the winning run to the plate, but stranded a pair of runners on second and third to fall in the series opener.
Beth Dietrich (7-14) suffered the loss after scattering 10 hits and allowing seven runs (six earned) while walking four batters and striking out two. Bailey Watts (13-8) picked up the complete game victory, giving up eight hits and five runs (two earned).
Houston opened up the game with a single from Holly Anderson, but an attempted sacrifice bunt one batter later made its way into the fence allowing Anderson to come across for the game's first run.
The Cougars added a run in the third on double from Melissa Gregson to make it 2-0.
Outon made it a 4-0 game for the home squad with her second home run of the day, her 19th of the season to tie a Houston single-season record.
Sher cut the Houston lead in half in the top of the sixth with a two-run homer of her own, her 4th of the season, over the fence in right center.
Coming in to relieve starter Courtney Ramos, Gabby Luciani was able to sit down the Cougars in the sixth, and with two outs Brittany Lilly on first, Leslie LeJune roped a double to right center to bring in another run and make it a 4-3 lead.
LeJune advanced to third but the Cougars induced a groundout to third to end the threat and take the second game of the series.
Ramos suffered the loss on five innings of work while allowing four runs (three earned) and giving up six hits. Summer Groholski earned the complete game win, giving up just four hits while striking out three and allowing three runs.
The two teams will return to action on Sunday for the series finale set for 12 p.m.