Cougars unleash fireworks to shut down Southern Miss
The Cougars left Hattiesburg, Miss. with another conference series win under their belt after beating Southern Miss, 12-3, Sunday and splitting a doubleheader with the Golden Eagles on Saturday.
With a 6-2 lead going into the fifth inning of the rubber game, Houston (23-21, 10-9 Conference USA) belted out six runs to solidify its win after five innings. The game was called early because of the mercy rule, which states teams that trail by eight or more runs after five at-bats must concede.
With the win, sophomore Baillie Lott improved to 14-9 on the season. She gave up five hits and three runs while striking out three in five innings.
UH took the early lead with a three-run outburst in the second inning. With the score tied at 1 after the first, Katie Bush hit a two-out single that scored Casey Willow and Katy Beth Sherman, who both reached base on singles.
Jessica Valis, who singled to reach base, advanced to third on Bush’s single and scored an unearned run when Elaina Nordstrom reached base on a fielder’s choice, giving Houston a 4-1 lead.
Southern Miss (24-24, 10-10-1 C-USA) cut its deficit to 4-2 when Megan Hill doubled to score Britney Dinelt, who reached base on a walk, but the Golden Eagles would not come any closer.
UH upped its lead to 8-2 with two runs in the fourth and capped off the victory with six more in the top of the fifth. Southern Miss pitcher Samantha Davis walked Melissa Gregson to start the inning, and Haley Valis tripled to score Gregson. Valis scored on a wild pitch by Lana Vaughn, who replaced Davis after Valis’ triple.
Vaughn gave up a double to Willow and walked Sherman to put runners at first and second. Jessica Valis singled to load the bases.
Courtney Ramos replaced Vaughn, but the Cougars continued their offensive onslaught. Bush drove in Willow with a groundout, and Laurie Wagner followed with a double that plated Sherman and Jessica Valis.
Christa Raley doubled off Vaughn to score Wagner and cap off the inning, giving Houston a 12-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth.
Southern Miss answered with a run when Ashley Razey hit a double off Lott with two outs to score Leslie Lejune, but Lott struck out Lauren Castellvi to end the game.
Davis (11-8) gave up eight runs (six earned) on 11 hits in four innings. Vaughn gave up three runs on two hits without recording an out, and Ramos surrendered one run on two hits in one inning. Ramos was the only Southern Miss pitcher to record a strikeout against UH.
The Cougars dropped the first game of the series, 4-3, but rebounded for a 7-2 victory in the finale of Saturday’s doubleheader. Lott gave up eight hits and four runs (three earned) in six innings in UH’s loss, but yielded only four hits and two runs in seven innings in the Cougars’ win.
Houston jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the second game when Gregson hit a three-run shot, one of her two home runs on the day, down the left-field line. Gregson finish the game 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs. She has eight home runs which is tied with Wagner for tops on the team.