Softball faces Memphis in AAC Championships
After closing out the regular season last weekend, the Cougars will compete at the American Athletic Conference Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Cougars finished the year at 9-9 in conference play and 26-28 overall. The former earned them the fourth seed at the AAC Championships.
UH will meet the University of Memphis Tigers, whom they swept in their regular season series, in the first round of the tournament for the second straight year. The Cougars outscored the Tigers 12-5 in three games this year.
The Tigers went 7-11 in conference play after starting 4-2 and finished 26-30 overall.
Although starting pitchers for the game have not been announced, it is likely that the Tigers will start sophomore pitcher Molly Smith. Smith owns a 2.92 ERA for the season and has 123 strikeouts, which is good for fifth in the AAC.
The Cougars have a few more options at pitcher such as senior Julana Shrum and freshmen Savannah Heebner and Presley Bell. The three earned wins against Memphis during the regular season and shared similar stats.
The trio’s ERA is separated by less than 0.1. They also have similar averages in strikeouts and hits allowed.
In conference play, the Cougars’ offense and defense were better than the Tigers considering they scored 17 more runs and allowed five fewer runs.
Juniors Lindsey Stickrod and Lindsay Crowdus will look to get things going for the Tigers on offense. Stickrod and Crowdus are one and two in batting average and make up nearly 25 percent of the team’s hits, home runs and RBIs.
In the Tigers regular season series with the Cougars, Stickrod and Crowdus combined to go .368 at the plate, but only had one RBI and zero runs.
Two seniors, Katie St. Pierre and Courtney Klingler, and freshman Maya Thomas have used their bats to power the UH offense.
Thomas leads the team in batting average and hits, while Klingler has the most home runs and RBIs. St. Pierre is in the AAC top 10 in nine offensive statistical categories and leads the team in walks and on-base percentage.
Last season, the Cougars were 1-2 against Memphis in the regular season before beating the Tigers 1-0 in the AAC tournament.