Sunday, May 29, 2011

Close But No Cougar Championships

I spent the day pulling for my UH women's softballers and men's baseballers hoping they would emerge victorious today, but it was not to be for either team. 

The Cougar women were up in Stillwater, OK in a super regional against Oklahoma State.   They were playing  for the opportunity to advance to our school's first Women's College World Series.  

Despite banging out 10 hits in the first game of the series, they couldn't get the key hit they needed to score some runs and were shut out 3-0.  It also didn't help that UH's ace pitcher Amanda Crabtree had to leave Game 1 with a reinjured wrist after only two innings..

That put the Cougars in the position where they had to win Game 2 or go home, and they did so with a 1-0 shutout win courtesy of Donna force the decisive third game.

Donna Bourgeois got the start in Game 3 because Amanda Crabtree still wasn't able to go    She got pulled after the Cowgirls loaded the bases in favor of freshman Diedre Outon.

The Cowgirls built a 3-0 first inning lead but the Cougars clawed their way back into it with two runs in the bottom of the first and took a 4-3 lead courtesy of a Jennifer Klinkert two run homer in the third inning.

The Cowgirls struck back in the fifth with three runs to retake the lead 6-4.  UH made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh when Baillie Lott blasted a solo shot to narrow the margin to 6-5.    Unfortunately Houston native and Cowgirl ace Kat Espinosa retired the next three Cougar batters to preserve the victory and clinch the trip to Oklahoma City and the WCWS.

A few hours later the UH baseball team was in Pearl, MS trying to snap a 14 game losing streak against the top seeded Rice Owls in the C-USA tournament championship game.  

Rice has had to overcome slow starts in their tournament games and repeated the pattern against a determined Cougar squad by falling into a 3-0 hole thanks to UH starter Jared Ray pitching a masterful game.  He only allowed one earned run and three total over eight innings. 

After the Cougars stranded a runner on second base in the top of the 10th, the Owls got the game winning hit in the bottom of the 10th to secure their 4-3 win and another C-USA tournament title.

It was close but no championships for both Cougar squads.   The women softballers finished with a 44-18 record, were C-USA regular season co-champs, and considering they were playing without their ace pitcher, came within a few outs of making it to the school's first women's CWS.  

The baseball team was 27-32, has battled injuries all season, but fought and scrapped their way to the C-USA championship game and made the Owls earn it..   

Proud of both teams and hope y'all have better results next season.

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