Cougars combat cancer, fall to Aggies

Even though the Cougars (8-9) fell to USA Today No. 17 Texas A&M 6-2 on Wednesday, the real winner was the Susan G. Komen Houston Affiliate because all proceeds from the third annual Striking Out Breast Cancer game benefitted the foundation.

UH catcher Elaina Nordstrom’s mother, Veronica Nordstrom, and assistant coach Kim Nesloney’s cousin, Taryn Nesloney – both breast cancer survivors – threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Elaina Nordstrom said having her mother participate gave her and the team a little more motivation.

‘Playing this game is for a great cause, and we always try to have a lot of fun with it,’ she said. ‘It’s really inspiring and that’s why we do this kind of stuff to try and bring motivation and bring support.’

The Cougars fell behind in the top of the first thanks to three-run homer by Texas A&M’s Erin Glasco with one out. After walking the next batter, UH pitcher Amanda Crabtree (4-5) settled down to strike out the next two batters.

UH (8-9) and Texas A&M traded hitless innings until the top of the fourth, when the Aggies struck again. After Alex Reynolds reached on an error by UH second baseman Haley Valis, Crabtree struck out Kara Rau. ‘

After this, Texas A&M (14-8) strung together three consecutive one-out singles, scoring another run and loading the bases in the process.

Baillie Lott inherited the bases-loaded one-out jam when she replaced Crabtree, but she induced a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Rhiannon Kliesing. Kelsea Orsak also scored on the play when third baseman Angela Spittler made a muffed throw, upping the Aggies’ advantage to 6-0. Lott escaped further trouble when Holly Ridley grounded out to end the inning.

The Cougars got their first base runner of the game in the bottom of the fourth when center-fielder Katie Bush walked to lead off the inning. One out later, Elaina Nordstrom singled up the middle.’

After Jessica Wagner grounded out, Jessica Valis walked to load the bases, giving the Cougars an excellent opportunity to cut into their deficit, but Haley Valis struck out, ending the Cougars’ threat.

UH finally got on the board with two outs in the bottom of the fifth when Christa Raley, who pinch hit for Mary Tyler Dobson, singled to score Katie Beth Sherman. Elaina Nordstrom followed with her second hit, scoring Bush. Laurie Wagner fouled out to end the inning and the scoring for the night.

Head coach Kyla Holas said the early deficit played a role in the Cougars’ offensive struggles.

‘Any time you’re chasing runs, I think that’s a different mentality offensively,’ she said. ‘You get on the defensive instead of being aggressive.’

UH opens conference play this weekend when its travels to Greenville, N.C. for a three-game series against East Carolina. The series begins with a double-header at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and concludes with a noon contest on Sunday.

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