Tigers shut down UH bats
After a three-game series at Texas-El Paso last weekend, the Cougars returned home for the first game of a two-game set against USA Today No. 13 Missouri on Tuesday. The only problem was that they left their offense in west Texas.
After belting out 33 hits and scoring 29 runs last weekend against the Miners, UH only scored one run on six hits while stranding seven base runners in the 9-1 loss to Missouri at Cougar Softball Stadium.
The game was close in the opening innings, with each team limiting each other’s damage. Missouri’s Rhea Taylor reached second base on a throwing error by UH shortstop Jessica Valis to lead off the game. UH pitcher Baillie Lott (6-6) escaped the inning by striking out the next two batters and inducing a fly out to left field.
UH (13-15) missed its own scoring opportunity in the first inning when Katie Bush walked with one out and advanced to third on a two-out Laurie Wagner single. Haley Valis followed with a groundout to shortstop to end the inning.
The Tigers’ Lindsey Ubrun broke the scoreless tie in the top of the second, sending the first pitch of the inning over the centerfield wall to give Missouri (27-4) a 1-0 lead. Andee Allen followed with a double to left-center and Ashley Fleming walked on four straight balls.
Lott again escaped further damage, this time with the help of her defense, as UH third baseman Christa Raley made a diving catch on a bunt by Katie Miles and doubled off Fleming at first base. After walking Julie Silver, Lott induced a groundout to second to end the inning.
UH answered in the bottom of the fourth when Haley Valis homered to left-centerfield with two outs to tie the game at 1.
The Cougars didn’t have to wait long for their next chance, as they loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth. Elaina Nordstrom came to the plate with a chance to reenact her grand slam from last weekend, but grounded out to second to strand three more Cougars.
Missouri (27-4) broke the game open in the sixth, plating six runs on six hits – including a two-run homerun by Micaela Minner – to take a 7-1 lead. UH stranded two more runners in the bottom of the sixth, and the Tigers added two more runs in the seventh to push their lead to 9-1.
From the fifth inning on, UH has been outscored 88-41 this season, something that head coach Kyla Holas has taken note of.
‘I think its guts,’ she said.’ ‘At some point you just have enough within you that you find a way to win, and this team doesn’t seem to have enough of that right now.’
She also believes it may be an issue of mental toughness during the late stages of games.
‘I think it’s a case of someone mentally not being strong. I think it’s more than (losing) focus. The mistakes that we’re making are pitching 101 mistakes, and at this point it’s a big problem,’ she said.
The Cougars will wrap up their series with the Tigers at 3 p.m. at Cougar Softball Stadium.