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Friday, September 29, 2023


UH ends weekend with poor play after hot start

After posting a pair of victories Friday at the Marriott Houston Invitational, the Cougars stumbled through the remainder of the weekend and dropped their last three games.

UH defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 2-1 and routed Texas-San Antonio 13-3 to kick off the tournament Friday.

On Saturday, the tables turned quickly, as UH dropped a 4-3 decision to Purdue on the strength of a seventh-inning RBI single from the Boilermakers’ Jenna Alexander.

Then things really got ugly.

Iowa State showed the Cougars no mercy until there were two outs in the sixth inning, when the game was called 9-1 because of the eight-run rule. Freshman Bailey Watts took the loss after being tagged for seven runs (six earned) on nine hits in two innings.

The Cougars’ fortunes didn’t improve Sunday, as No. 15 Texas throttled UH 11-4 to drop it to 4-6 on the season.

Head coach Kyla Holas said despite the staggering disparity in offense, there was more at play than just bad pitching.

“You always have to have two aspects of the game,” Holas said. “You’ve got to be able to hit, pitch and play defense, and if you got two out of three, you’re going to win.

“In our losses, we didn’t have two out of three. On Friday, we did.”

In Sunday’s loss to the Longhorns (11-0), Watts was again roughed up early, giving up a leadoff home run to Courtney Craig before settling down and retiring the next six batters. She started off the third inning much like she did the game, surrendering a leadoff homer to Shelby Savony.

By then, Holas had seen enough and replaced Watts with Amanda Crabtree, but things didn’t get better. Crabtree allowed two more Longhorns to cross the plate before escaping the inning with her team trailing 4-0.

The Cougars finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Melissa Gregson smacked a two-run homer to center field to cut Texas’ lead to 4-2. UH went down in order after that, and Texas tacked on three more runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

Holas said her team shouldn’t be concerned with its opponent’s national ranking or the names on the jerseys and that her inexperienced players need to learn from this weekend’s frustrating losses.

“You’re not scared of them (ranked teams) anymore,” Holas said. “We have 10 top-25 teams on our schedule. That’s a lot to ask for nine newcomers who haven’t been in Division 1.”

Before Saturday and Sunday’s carnage, UH did have some positives to build upon in Friday’s victories.

The first game against Louisiana-Lafayette went into extra innings, adding another chapter to UH’s rivalry with the Rajin’ Cajuns, whom Holas played for before her coaching career.

“That’s always a big game for us, for more reasons than that; my playing days are over,” Holas said. “They’re a good ball club, and they’re always in the top 25. They took us out of the super regionals for the Women’s College World Series two years ago. So for us, it’s personal, and it always will be with them.”

UH will return to the diamond when it hits the road for the first time this season for a doubleheader against Baylor on Tuesday at Getterman Stadium in Waco. The first game is scheduled for 3 p.m., and the finale is slated for 5 p.m.

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