BYU softball: Houston completes sweep of BYU in 9-3, 3-2 defeats

By Chris Scheitinger

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 30 2013 8:15 p.m. MDT

PROVO, Utah — The Cougars dropped a 9-3 decision to the University of Houston during game one of the doubleheader followed by a close 3-2 loss in game two at Gail Miller Field on Saturday.

The Cougars (14-18, 4-0 PCSC) had to play catch-up in both games, coming from behind, but were unable to cap a comeback. Houston (22-10) displayed strong pitching on the day to seal the three-game sweep.

“What we need to do is be more consistent on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively,” BYU assistant coach Vaughn Alvey said. “We get behind in counts early in games and give up runs early in games. It takes the air out of everybody’s sails. We need to score early and keep them from scoring early.”

Game one

Despite keeping the score within striking distance for the majority of the game, BYU (14-17) couldn’t overcome a five-run Houston (21-10) seventh inning in the 9-3 loss.

The Cougar pitching staff struggled during the first game with Tori Almond, Katie Manuma and Hannah Howell finding time on the mound. Almond dropped to 5-4 on the season, recording the loss for the Cougars.

Houston pitcher Diedre Outon (3-3) had a solid performance during the opening game, pitching a complete game and giving up three runs. BYU finished with three runs on nine hits, while Houston scored nine runs on 10 hits for the victory.

Houston got off to a hot start during the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader, getting on board in the first inning. Center fielder Haley Outon hit a line drive two-run home run over the center field wall to put the Scarlet Cougars up 2-0.

Houston’s Julia Pecina got on base in the top of the second with a long double over Carly Duckworth’s head. With the bases loaded and two outs, outfielder Reina Gaber squeezed a single into right field to drive in two runs, upping Houston’s lead to 4-0.

The Cougars came close to narrowing Houston’s four-run lead, loading the bases in the bottom of the second and third innings. In the second, Anna Hudson hit into a double play to end the inning, and pitcher Diedre Outon struck out Bailie Hicken to end the third and hold the 4-0 Houston advantage.

BYU’s defense kept the Houston offense off the board in the fourth and fifth innings with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Marissa Bravo got on base for the Cougars with a single into left field. Manuma then singled up the middle to advance Bravo into scoring position before Alexandra Hudson Shamo hit a single into the left-field gap to bring in the team's first run of the game.

The Cougars left Lacey Millett stranded in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth, before Houston caught fire with the bats in the top of the seventh inning. Houston added five insurance runs on five hits to up their lead to 9-1.

Looking to rally in the bottom of the seventh, pinch hitter Jenna Goar singled to shortstop. The Cougars next batter, pinch hitter Megan Arnold, hit a bouncing ball to shortstop to beat out the throw to first. Hicken advanced to first with one out after being hit by Outon from the mound.

BYU’s next batter Tauali’I reached base on a fielder’s choice, driving in Goar to narrow the Houston gap to 9-2. The Cougars scored another run but came up short losing the first game of the doubleheader 9-3.

Game two

Never trailing by more than one run, the Cougars couldn't complete the comeback and dropped a 3-2 decision.

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