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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Softball: UH drops Washington, advances to first super regional

The UH softball team has the talent needed to compete in a College World Series.

Now, all the Cougars need to get there are two more wins.

The top-seeded Cougars claimed the Houston Regional championship after defeating second-seeded Washington 2-1 in the regional final on Sunday at Cougar Softball Stadium. UH (53-9), which is seeded eighth nationally, advances to the first super regional in the program’s eight-year history.

The Cougars will host Louisiana-Lafayette, the winner of the Baton Rouge (La.) Regional, in a best-of-three super regional series, starting at 7 p.m. Friday at Cougar Softball Stadium. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) will be played at noon and 3 p.m., respectively, Saturday.

The winner advances to the College World Series (May 29-June 4) in Oklahoma City.

"I really don’t have words for how surreal it has been," said Holas, who was doused with the contents of a water cooler after Sunday’s game. "It’s been an amazing year, it’s been crazy, and we’ve tried not to look back or forward. We’ve tried to stay in the present as much as possible and enjoy each and every moment and each and every day."

The Cougars went 3-0 in the Houston Regional, thanks mostly to senior righthander Angel Shamblin, who started and completed all three games. She held the Huskies (30-25-1) to only one run on two hits and struck out seven batters Sunday.

Shamblin (35-3), who recorded a 0.33 ERA and 23 strikeouts during the regional, was supported by a solid defense, which made only one error in three games.

"Defense has definitely played well behind me all year, but especially this weekend, I felt like they made big plays when we needed them the most," Shamblin said. "They came through for me."

The Cougars struggled to scratch out hits against Washington starter Caitlin Noble (13-9), but went ahead 1-0 when junior second baseman Haley Valis crushed a solo home run in the fifth inning.

The Cougars added a crucial insurance run in the sixth when Katie Bush scored from third on Laurie Wagner’s bases-loaded walk off Huskies reliever Aleah Macon.

Washington pulled within a run when Morgan Stuart hit a solo shot off Shamblin with one out in the top of the seventh, but the righthander retired the next two batters with ease to set off a celebration that the Cougars have been waiting ages for.

"We knew that we were going to regionals, and now that we’re (in a super regional), it’s scary that we could be two games away from the World Series," Valis said. "It’s amazing, and I just don’t know what else to say about it."

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