Late rally falls short, ends comeback
The Cougars hoped to build from their first road conference series victory when they took on USA Today No. 23 Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday. But UH couldn’t climb out of a three-run hole, losing to the Ragin’ Cajuns, 4-3, at Lamson Park in Lafayette, La.
UH head coach Kyla Holas was proud of her team’s effort, but felt the early deficit was too much to overcome.
‘You can’t give a good team like that many runs at any point in the game, whether early or late,’ Holas said.’ ‘We just shot ourselves in the foot too early and had plenty of time to come back, but a good team like that just doesn’t give up a lead.’
ULL jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Vallie Gaspard reached base on a bunt single, stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Karli Hubbard. Baillie Lott (14-10) uncorked a wild pitch to the next batter, allowing Gaspard to score and give ULL a 1-0 advantage.
Lott continued to struggle with her control, walking Melissa Verde before giving up a single to Codi Runyan. With runners at first and second with one out, Christi Orgeron drove in Verde with a double to left field. Orgeron scored on a fielder’s choice one batter later, upping the Ragin’ Cajuns’ lead to 3-0.
Lott settled down and gave up only a single during the next four innings, keeping UH (23-22) in the game. Holas was not surprised to see Lott shake off her early struggles.
‘I think that Baillie has enough innings this year and can say that she’s been through every type of situation,’ Holas said. ‘(Tonight’s) situation is only going to make her stronger.” ‘ ‘
Elaina Nordstrom cut the Cougars’ deficit to 3-1 when she led off the fourth with a solo shot to left field.’ UH appeared to be on the verge of tying the game until, one out later, Christa Raley drew a walk.
Melissa Gregson followed with a single down the right-field line, bringing Haley Valis to the plate. ULL’s Brittany Cuevas (5-1) forced Valis to pop up to second and Angela Spittler struck out looking to end UH’s threat.
UH had another chance to tie in the sixth when Gregson singled to center with two outs. Haley Valis followed with a walk and Spittler singled to right field, scoring Gregson and pulling the Cougars within 3-2. Katie Beth Sherman came to the plate with the tying run at third, but grounded out to end the inning.
ULL (36-10) answered with a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the frame, but UH had one last stand in the seventh.
Reigning C-USA Hitter of the Week Jessica Valis led off with a single and advanced to third, one out later, on Nordstrom’s single. Laurie Wagner grounded out, scoring Valis and advancing Jenny Krause, who pinch ran for Nordstrom, to third. Cuevas induced a Raley groundout, leaving the Cougars one run short of completing the comeback.
UH will return home to close out the regular season when it hosts Marshall for a three-game conference set at Cougar Softball Stadium.