Houston comes back to sweep UAB

The Cougar softball team made it five in a row, sweeping Conference USA rival Alabama-Birmingham this weekend at Cougar Softball Stadium.

Houston battled back from behind in all three of its games against UAB to move to 18-16 (7-4 C-USA) on the season.’

‘It was the first sweep of the season. It felt nice,’ senior Christa Raley said. ‘It’s good for us to stay at the top of the conference and give ourselves a chance to take it all.’

The Blazers (11-23, 4-11 C-USA) built an early lead with a two-run second inning in Sunday’s contest, but Houston answered with three consecutive one-run innings.’

In the bottom of the fourth, Melissa Gregson hit a double to right field to score Haley Valis, who reached base on a single.’

After UAB pitcher Kayla Harris put two Cougars on base in the bottom of the fifth – Katy Beth Sherman reached first on a bunt and Raley singled – freshman Lindsey Croft came in to pitch for Harris.’

In the next two at bats, Katie Bush sacrificed and Elaina Nordstrom grounded out, but Croft walked Laurie Wagner to load the base. Haley Valis followed with a walk, allowing Sherman to score and tie the game at 2.

In the bottom of the sixth, Jessica Valis tripled and came home on Raley’s sacrifice fly to left field to give Houston a 3-2 lead.’

The Cougars dashed the Blazers’ chances for a comeback with a one-two-three top of the seventh, wrapping up the one-run victory.

‘We got key hits at key times,’ Wagner said.

The same held true for Houston in the first two games in the series. The Cougars battled back from a 6-0 deficit after the top of the second in game one of a doubleheader Saturday.’

Raley hit a grand slam in the bottom of the second to put the score at 6-4 and give her six home runs on the season, tied for first on the team with Melissa Gregson.

‘The girls did a good job loading the bases. I was just going for a little hit,’ Raley said.’

Nordstrom and Wagner hit three-run homeruns in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, to give Houston the 11-6 win.

Playing from behind once again in game two, Wagner hit her second homerun of the day (a solo run in the bottom of the sixth) to tie the game at 1 and put her in a three-way tie for most home runs on the team.’

Blazer infielder Maegan Hornsby gave UAB a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh when she reached base on a walk, scoring off outfielder Catherine Douglass’ single. However, that lead didn’t last long. Nordstrom came through on the final play of the game, scoring Raley and Bush on a fly out to take the game.

Baillie Lott (9-6) gave up 14 hits and eight runs in Games 1 and 3 and Lindsey Olsen gave up six hits and two runs in seven innings in her first full game.’

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