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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Softball

UH softball splits with Lamar in season-opening double header


Houston catcher Kati Ray Brown watches a ball as it heads over the fence. The UH softball team opened its 2021 season on Friday against Lamar. | Deaunte Johnson/The Cougar

Houston catcher Kati Ray Brown watches a ball as it heads over the fence. The UH softball team opened its 2021 season on Friday against Lamar. | Deaunte Johnson/The Cougar

The Houston softball team started its season with a double-header matchup against Lamar on Friday at Cougar Softball Stadium.

Junior right-hander Rachel Hertenberger took the mound for UH in game one and got off to an efficient start by setting down the first three Lamar batters, striking out two of them.

The Cougars offense got to work early with a lead-off triple from redshirt senior outfielder Lindsey Stewart-Vaughn. Senior infielder Rock Benavides singled in on the next pitch to take an early 1-0 lead.

The UH softball team took advantage of several miscues by Lamar’s infield and sprinkled in a timely two-run single from junior outfielder Bethany Busch that saw the team go up 5-0 after the first inning.

Hertenberger gave up her only run of the game when she surrendered a sacrifice fly after walking the first two batters of the top of the second inning, making the score 5-1.

The Cougars didn’t waste time getting that run back and then some after they erupted for another five-run inning that was highlighted by a two-run double that was blistered by freshman Paige Lott.

Houston scored four more runs in the bottom of the third giving Hertenberger plenty of run support as the junior pitched the entire game, finishing with four strikeouts, two walks, one earned run and only one hit allowed. UH run-ruled Lamar 14-1 after five innings.

Among the standouts in the offensive outburst was Stewart-Vaughn, who finished with an RBI and reached base all four times she batted and came up just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Busch and sophomore Katy Repa each contributed to the win with three RBI’s each.

Game two

Both teams traded scoreless innings before the UH softball team took advantage of a lead-off walk and stolen base by Busch after Shaw hit an RBI single to give them the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.

The lead did not last long as the Cougars encountered a challenging top of the third inning, starting with an infield error that allowed a baserunner on. Lamar hit back-to-back singles, promptly tying the game 1-1.

UH surrendered an RBI double, followed by a two-run home run that soared over the left field wall to give Lamar a 4-1 advantage.

Sophomore right-hander Megan Lee came in to relieve starting sophomore Logan Hulon and was eventually able to work through some traffic to get her team off the field. Lamar scored again in the top of the fourth inning after another RBI double.

UH scratched away at the deficit with an RBI infield single by Benavides in the bottom of the fifth, but they ended up giving that run back in the top of the sixth off an infielder’s choice, giving Lamar a lead of 6-2.

The UH softball team mounted a comeback in the bottom of the sixth after an RBI double by Repa and a sacrifice fly by sophomore infielder Paige Hulsey got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh before Lamar got the final out to end the game.

The Cougars have now won their first game of the season in each of the last four years and are set to continue their weekend-play when they take on Texas Southern University this Saturday at 1 p.m.

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