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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Softball

Errors, miscues plague Cougars in opening tournament


The Cougars struggled in the field, committing 15 errors in the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

It was an up and down weekend for the Cougars as they opened the season by hosting the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational.

The Cougars went 2-4 to finish fourth in the tournament, picking up wins against UC Santa Barbara and Boston College. They dropped games to Wichita State, Boston College and two to Wright State.

Houston started the tournament 1-1 on Friday, dropping a heartbreaker to Wright St. 4-3 (8) before coming back with a dominant 14-2 (5) performance over UC Santa Barbara.

After three scoreless innings, senior pitcher and utility fielder Shelby Miller hit a two-run blast to left center to give the Cougars an early lead, but Wright St. would tie it up in the sixth.

Miller was the standout for the Cougars offense all weekend, going 7-19 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in six games. On the mound, Miller was effective Friday night, giving up two runs, none earned and striking out two-in-two innings of work.

Things would remain 2-2 as the teams entered extra innings. The Raiders would plate 2 in the top of the eighth and the Cougars were unable to complete the comeback, falling 4-3 (8).

The Cougar offense woke up in the night game, plating eight runs in the first two innings and 14 in the first three before the run-rule took effect in the fifth.

Saturday didn’t go as well for the Cougars as the offense sputtered, scoring six runs total in two losses.

After falling behind 3-0 early, the Cougars responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth against Wichita St. The Shockers would add two more in the top of the fifth, securing the 5-2 victory.

Sophomore outfielder Maya Thomas was seemingly always on base, going 10-17 with four runs scored and a .611 OBP in five games played. The Sugar Land native was a threat on the base paths, going 2-2 in stolen base attempts and currently leads the Cougars with a .588 batting average.

Boston College proved a travel delay would have no effect on them as they dominated the Cougars in their first game of the tournament, 12-4.

The lone bright spot for the Cougars was Miller, who belted her third home run of the weekend, a two-run shot in the second. The Cougar defense was sloppy, committing seven errors that resulted in five unearned runs for the Eagles.

The Cougars would rebound on Sunday, going 1-1 and giving Boston College their only loss of the weekend.

Sophomore pitcher Presley Bell struggled out of the gate, allowing four Wright St. runs, two earned, against only one out before being pulled for freshman Hannah Wolfe.

The Cougars were able to pull it to 4-3 in the sixth before the Raiders added four more in the top of the seventh and putting the game out of reach en route to an 8-5 victory. Sloppy defense was once again the story as five errors led to three unearned runs for the Raiders.

Things looked to start the same against Boston College as the Eagles were able to plate two in the first against sophomore righthander Savannah Heebner. Miller made sure this game was different, blasting a two-run shot to the left to tie it up 2-2.

The Cougars would add five runs over the next three innings while Heebner, settled down, allowing only one more run in the seventh.

The Cougars return to action Wednesday against Houston Baptist before hosting defending national champion Oklahoma this weekend.

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