UH aims to sink experienced Pirates squad

After posting their first road win of the season, the Cougars will try to defend their home turf when they host East Carolina for a three-game set this weekend. | Kendra Berglund/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars will play their last home Conference USA series of the regular season this weekend when they match up against East Carolina for a three-game set at Cougar Softball Stadium.

The performance delivered in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Texas State, in which freshman righthander Bailey Watts went nine innings and recorded nine strikeouts, gave the Cougars their first road victory of the season.  UH head coach Kyla Holas said it was one of the season’s best performances.

“I thought it was by far one of the best games we have played recently,” Holas said. “To be able to mentally stay in there pitching and those timely hits we got at the end against a real good pitcher … it was a good day.”

East Carolina is returning from posting a 40-15 record in 2009. The Pirates are 30-17 this season and are coming off a doubleheader sweep of in-state opponent North Carolina-Wilmington earlier in the week.  This is the seventh consecutive year that the Pirates have won 30 or more games.  The Cougars (24-21, 8-9 C-USA) are hoping to come out of this weekend’s conference series with some wins.

“We have to find a way to get something,” Holas said. “Especially when you are going against a team that has never won in the conference, you have to make a run for it if you want to be considered for anything postseason.”

ECU is stacked with experience this year. The Pirates boast seven seniors along with junior pitcher Toni Paisley, the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week, so they will not make it easy for the Cougars.  UH leads the all-time series against ECU, 17-10.

“ECU is probably going to be the best they are going to be,” Holas said. “This will be their year if they are going to do something.”

The Cougars focused on offense and on a bit of defense before heading into this weekend’s matchup. The series kicks off with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and Sunday’s finale will begin at noon.

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