Cougars hit road to tussle with Texas A&M
After dropping an extra-inning affair to LSU last weekend, the Cougars hope to get back on track today against Texas A&M in College Station.
Head coach Kyla Holas hopes competing against the No. 19 Aggies motivates her team to join A&M as an upper-echelon squad.
“A&M has always been one of the benchmarks here in the state of Texas,” Holas said. “A&M and Texas tend to get the top recruits, so they’re the type of program we all want to be.
“For us, playing against them is going to be a tough environment, so we have to make sure to step it up and play our best softball.”
Although A&M is ranked in the top 25, Holas said no one aspect of its team stands out; instead, the Aggies rely on all-around strength.
“A&M’s not flashy. They don’t come with the best of anything. They’re just really solid top to bottom,” Holas said. “Their ninth hitter can hit as many home runs as their leadoff hitter.
“The same with the pitching staff. They’re all equal. They all throw good strikes, and they all stay ahead of hitters. They’re just a really balanced ball club.”
With UH’s record at 7-8, Holas says she can see her team making progress.
“Last weekend, we had a few errors here and there, but were much improved. Some of the things that were happening were game stuff, not routine ground balls,” Holas said. “I think we’re improving defensively. (The pitchers) put up some good numbers, and they’re doing their job.
“Offensively, we’re continuing to get better. It’s just about getting those timely hits. I think we’re getting better and playing good softball right now.”
Junior catcher Lauren Strickland logged her first playing time as a Cougar last weekend. Holas hopes newcomers such as Strickland take advantage of the situation when their name is called upon.
“Nothing can replace experience. As many opportunities we can give them this year, the better they’re going to be next year,” Holas said.
Holas said she wants to see freshman shortstop Brooke Lathan perform up to her offensive capability.
“She was recruited to be a power hitter for us,” she said. “She needs to make sure she’s getting on base enough to do those kinds of things.”
The Cougars took a day off from practice Monday and hope to rest up this weekend after today’s contest.
“Any time you can rest after you have played this kind of schedule, being able to give us a break heading into conference (play) will help us be fresh,” Holas said.