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Friday, January 21, 2022

Softball

Lathan leads UH to split


Freshman Bailey Watts took the brunt of the No. 12 Yellow Jackets’ offensive onslaught, surrendering seven runs in two innings as the Cougars dropped the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, 7-1. UH rebounded to take the nightcap 2-1. | Kendra Berglund/The Daily Cougar

Heading into Tuesday’s doubleheader against No. 12 Georgia Tech, the Cougars knew they would need a complete effort to knock off the talented Yellow Jackets.

UH got anything but that in the first game, falling 7-1 at Cougar Softball Stadium. After the opener, head coach Kyla Holas told her players to tighten their defense and make some adjustments at the plate. And the Cougars responded, earning a 2-1 victory in the second game to salvage a split.

“Defensively, we did really well, (but) we left the bases loaded,” Holas said. “We have to make sure that we capitalize on those runs.”

After roughing up UH’s pitchers in the opener, Georgia Tech had no answer for Amanda Crabtree (6-6). The junior righthander recorded nine strikeouts in the victory and allowed no runs until the sixth inning.

Meawhile, the Yellow Jackets’ pitching had no solution for freshman Brooke Lathan, whose solo home shots in the second and sixth innings lifted UH to victory.

A solid defensive performance by the Cougars sealed the deal, snapping their game four-game losing streak.

“We felt like we were doing some soul searching after going 0-3,” she said of being swept by Central Florida last weekend. “So if you turn around and do something like this, it does give you a little bit more momentum, a bit more confidence when you thought that you were struggling.”

Prior to winning the nightcap, UH (16-13) was definitely struggling. The Cougars scored only two runs in a three-game sweep at UCF and found themselves in another early hole in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.

The Yellow Jackets (25-5) started strong with a solo home run in the first inning to take a1-0 lead. Georgia Tech’s offense broke the game open in the second inning, scoring six runs off six hits — including a grand slam and solo home run — to take a commanding 7-0 lead.

After laboring through the first two innings, freshman Bailey Watts (8-5) held the Yellow Jackets at bay for the rest of the opener.

Offensively, the Cougars manufactured only three hits, but showed a sign of life by avoiding the shutout with a ninth-inning run.

“We have to have better pitching, and we can’t make those mistakes,” Holas said. “Your season is not over when you lose three games.”

The Cougars will resume Conference-USA play when they host UTEP for a three-game series. The action begins with a doubleheader Saturday. First pitch for the opener is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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