UH shakes off offensive struggles in tournament finale

After began the Marriott Houston Hobby Classic with a 1-0 win over No. 14 Ohio State on Friday at Cougar Softball Stadium, UH dropped its next three games before downing Sam Houston State 1-0 Sunday evening.

Lost in the disappointing 2-3 showing was the standout performance of freshman pitcher Bailey Watts, who posted a 2-1 record over the weekend, including a three-hit, nine-strikeout complete game against the Ohio State.

Head coach Kyla Holas said she wasn’t at all surprised by Watts’ immediate impact.

“She’s a kid our players like playing behind, and we’re excited to have her,” Holas said. “I think she’s only going to get better.”

Sunday’s finale against the Bearkats featured a recurring theme for the Cougars — struggles at the plate. Locked in a scoreless game in the top of the sixth inning, catcher Melissa Gregson homered to center field with one out to give UH a 1-0 advantage.

UH wasn’t able to add any insurance in the top of the seventh, and Sam Houston mounted an attack in the bottom of the frame.

After retiring the first two batters, Watts walked Hailey Wiginton on a full count to bring the potential winning run to the plate. Wiginton advanced to second on Watts’ wild pitch. Amy Brown followed with a hard-hit line drive to left field, but Katie Beth Sherman made her third spectacular leaping catch of the weekend to preserve the win.

Despite the victory, the offense remains a concern.

“We were by far the worst offensive team this weekend, and that can’t happen,” Holas said. “Hitting is a mentality, and right now we need a lot of work on our mentality. We need to make sure we make good choices because we can’t win many ball games with only one run.”

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