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Sunday, October 1, 2023


Softball: Cougars prepare for ECU

Cougar softball gets back into conference play Saturday and Sunday in a three game series against the East Carolina University Pirates (27-18, 5-6 Conference-USA).

In their last conference matchup against Central Florida, the No. 10 Cougars (34-5, 10-1 C-USA) split the games with the Knights and suffered their first C-USA defeat of the season.

"The last time we stepped onto the field in conference, we took a loss," head coach Kyla Holas said.

"You can’t take anything for granted. We’re very focused because this is a big series for us."

Holas said the Pirates play well together on the field and UH is going to have to be prepared at the plate.

"ECU brings great defense, and they’re not going to make mistakes on that side of the ball," said Holas.

"We’ve got to make sure we put in a little extra time here in hitting, making sure we’re seeing the balls and making some good choices."

Junior third baseman Christa Raley slid head first into Texas-San Antonio’s third baseman and injured her nose Wednesday, causing the Cougars to make major adjustments in the infield.

Freshman Jennifer Klinkert was playing first base and senior Amanda Grote was in left field before Raley was taken out.

"Defensively, we need to practice Klinkert at third base and Grote at first since that change happened," Holas said.

Along with adjustments in the defense, the Cougars must be prepared for the strong offense that ECU brings to the plate, said Holas.

"They’re very solid in offense, and they’re one of those teams that can hit the long ball," Holas said. "We’ve got to make sure that we can hang with them in those areas."

Game 1 on Saturday will be the fourth game of the week for the Cougars after facing Team USA on Tuesday and a double header against UTSA on Wednesday.

"Right now we’re focusing on going back to basics," junior shortstop Jessica Valis said. "We’ve been playing a lot of ball, and we’re going to continue to play a lot."

Valis said one of the things that will be most critical to Houston finishing the season strongly is their hitting.

"We’re going to break things down and refocus our bats. That’s what is going to win us ball games towards the end of the season," Valis said.

The double header against the Pirates begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and Game 3 of the series starts at 12 p.m. Sunday at Cougar Softball Stadium.

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