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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Softball

Cougars outscore opponents 42-1 in five-game sweep


Junior Trystan Melancon threw the second no-hitter of her career and became the fifth player in UH softball history to have multiple no-hitters. | Ahmed Gul/The Cougar

Houston had a perfect weekend that saw the team improve to 11-5 with a quintet of victories.

The Cougars’ pitching was nearly perfect and the bats caught fire to rain down a hail of runs against its opponents.

“Tremendous pitching from our pitching staff this weekend,” said head coach Kristin Vesely. “Anytime you only give up one earned run in five games, that’ll put you in a position to win a lot of ball games.”

If Houston’s level of pitching was the icing on the cake, junior pitcher Trystan Melancon’s no-hitter Saturday was the cherry on top.

“I didn’t realize it at first that I threw a no-hitter,” Melancon said. She said it was an exciting feeling once she realized it, but it did not set in until well after the game since it was cut short in the fifth inning due to the run-ahead rule.

Formerly known as the mercy rule, college softball games can end when one team has a lead of eight or more runs in the fifth inning or later, which Houston accomplished in four of its wins.

Houston opened the weekend Friday with a resounding 16-0 victory over Incarnate Word that set the pace for the day’s two games.

Junior Lindsey Stewart nearly had a cycle as she had a single, a triple and a home run in the victory while freshman Rachel Hertenberger earned the first complete-game shutout of her career.

The Cougars kept up the pace against the Huskies of Northern Illinois as Stewart had another three hits and two RBIs in an 8-0 victory. Senior Savannah Heebner earned her second pitching win of the season and contributed a pair of hits as well.

The start of Saturday saw Melancon throw her no-hitter in an 8-0 win against Northern Illinois.

NIU’s pitchers struggled and allowed seven hits and nine walks, which UH quickly capitalized on. No hitter in particular carried the team, but six different Cougars had a hit.

Kennesaw State was the first team to have an answer for Houston and forced the game to go into extra innings tied 1-1 on Saturday night.

Both pitchers went the distance, but it was senior Presley Bell that finished the game with a win.

Heebner started the inning on second base, a college softball rule intended to shorten game time, and was sacrifice bunted to third.

Stewart sent her home with a line drive down the center to keep the Cougars perfect over the weekend and win 2-1.

On the final day, Kennesaw State put two women on base early to threaten Houston, but that would be the closest it would come to scoring in the 8-0 loss.

The Cougars had figured out the Owls and scored in the first inning with some small ball, then it jumped out to a lead with a pair of solo home runs by seniors Rachel Hill and Brooke Vannoy in the second inning.  

Houston kept up the scoring until the sixth inning when it finally sealed the game after a big error by the Kennesaw State first basewoman allowed a pair of runs to score.

Houston will play against Texas A&M at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Strike Out Cancer game to raise money, raise breast cancer awareness and honor survivors of the disease.

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