UH softball goes 3-2 at Houston Invitational to open the season
UH softball opened the 2023 season going 3-2 at the Houston Invitational over the weekend at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
Game one vs. South Dakota State
The Jackrabbits scored a pair of runs in the top of the second inning and continued their momentum into the next inning, scoring another run to take a 3-0 lead.
With two Cougars on base in the bottom of the third, senior first baseman Britaney Shaw cut the deficit to one with a single to right field scoring sophomore shortstop Brooke Lorenzo and sophomore third baseman Turiya Coleman.
Trailing 3-2 entering the seventh, the Cougars tied the game up with sophomore outfielder Ja’Naiya Thomas’s two-out clutch single to left center to score Lorenzo and send the game to extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth inning, South Dakota State retook the lead on an RBI double to left center.
Sophomore LA Matthews came in to pitch hit for junior outfielder Amanda Carden and delivered a one-out RBI single to tie the game up again.
Coleman followed with a double to left center, advancing Matthews to third. After a Thomas walk, Shaw stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered a walk-off single as the Cougars grabbed their first win of the season with a 5-4 comeback victory.
Game two vs. Lamar
The momentum carried on to the second game for the Cougars as Lorenzo singled to left center and scored senior center fielder Paige Hulsley to grab an 1-0 lead in the second inning.
The Cougars bats continued to stay hot in the bottom of the third. Shaw hit a single, driving in Coleman. Matthews followed with a double to left-center to drive in Thomas and Shaw. Later in the inning, graduate catcher Kati Ray Brown added on an insurance run bringing in Matthews on a RBI single to right, extending UH’s lead to 5.
Hulsey singled to drive in freshman Bella Farina in the fourth. Senior Katy Repa delivered a pinch hit RBI double to make it 9-0 Cougars.
Junior right-handed pitcher Taylor Edwards started her season off strong in the circle, striking out six over five innings, allowing three hits and one earned run.
Game one vs Nebraska
Graduate right-handed pitcher Kenna Wilkey got off to a rough start against Nebraska, giving up a leadoff solo home run on the first pitch to straightaway center.
After the first inning, Wilkey started to settle in and did not giving up another run until the sixth.
The Nebraska defense was strong early, limiting the Cougars even when they made contact with the ball. In the fourth inning, Janaya Thomas reached on an error by Nebraska’s starting pitcher Courtney Wallace and ended up stealing second base but was left on base.
The sixth inning hurt UH, as Nebraska added three runs. Wilkey left the game after 5 and 1/3 innings, giving up 6 hits and 4 earned runs. Senior right-hander Mattie Boyd came in in relief but gave up an infield single to Nebraksa’s Billie Andrews, making it 4-0 after six innings.
The struggles continued for Boyd in the seventh inning, as Nebraksa blew things open with three more runs.
Game two vs Virginia
UH softball started their first game of the season versus Virginia on Thursday, however, due to a light outage at Cougar Softball Stadium, the came was postponed in the middle of the third inning with Virginia leading 8-1.
The game picked back up on Saturday night.
While the Cougars rallied with six runs across the third and fourth inning, Virginia used a 5-run seventh to hand UH a 14-7 loss.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon against Delaware, Wilkey starred in the UH 1-0 win, pitching a complete 7-inning shutout, giving up only 5 hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts.
UH managed to score the game’s only run in the bottom of the sixth inning courtesy of a sacrifice fly from senior second baseman Bree Cantu.
With the 1-0 win, the Cougars finished out the Houston Invitational on a high note, going 3-2 on the weekend overall.