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Volume 68, Issue 141, Friday, April 25, 2003

Sports

Cougars look to shoot the Birds in Louisville

By Keenan Singleton
The Daily Cougar

The Cougar softball team is learning how to thrive with a serious case of Touretteis Syndrome. Its sporadic offensive outbursts have had foes hearing evil -- the relentless "ping" of their aluminum bats -- and seeing it on the scoreboard.


The team easily handled its last opponent, the Texas Southern Tigers, 25-0 and 11-3 Wednesday. The doubleheader against TSU gave UH the Conference USA record for home runs in the regular season (50, previously held by Southern Miss).

Unfortunately for UHis next opponent, the Louisville Cardinals, a cure for Touretteis has yet to be found.

UHis 3-4-5-6 hitters have the worse cases on the team. Kristen Glowacz (.372 batting average, 14 homers, 46 RBIs -- all team-highs) Jenilee Skender (.336, 6 HRs, 22 RBIs), Jeanie Davis (.292, 9 HRs, 28 RBIs) and Arelis Ferreris (.313, 8 HRs, 36 RBIs) offend opposing pitchers constantly, spraying bullets all over the field.

With only 2.5 games separating the two teams for third place in the conference standings, this three-game series carries extra importance in terms of postseason conference standing. If the Cougars are able to sweep, it will place them in a favorable position heading into next weekendis season-ending series against South Florida, which currently occupies second place in C-USA.

While the starting nine produce the bulk of UHis offensive production, head coach Kyla Holas has found ways to utilize her potent bench. Junior outfielders Michelle Whipple and Candis Turnbo and senior second baseman Amber King have stepped in times of injury or unforeseen slumps.

The Cougar pendulum doesnit stay strictly on the offensive side; UH boasts the conferenceis only three-man rotation. And what an impressive rotation it is.

Opponents dread seeing the three-headed monster that is juniors Jamie Falco (12-8, 1.32 earned run average), Jenny Johnson (11-6, 1.74) and freshman Crystal Briscoe (9-4, 2.20) approach the mound. Each holds opposing hitters to batting averages under .200.

But the hurlers proved they could swing the bat a little too. In her first-ever collegiate at-bat Wednesday, Johnson slammed a home run and Falco got a base-hit.

UH has struggled without its medication -- the cozy confines of the Cougar Softball Complex -- where home runs fly as often as airplanes do out of Hobby Airport. The Cougars are 18-7 at home, compared to an 8-7 clip on the road. (Theyire 7-4 on neutral sites.)

Offensively, the Cardinals are led by junior college-transfer Shannon Nord (.343, four triples and nine stolen bases), utility player Keola Calderson (.324, three home runs, 19 RBIs) and Sara Bausher (.302, five home runs, 20 RBIs). As a team, the Cardinals hit .268.

Senior Jessica Rak (11-9, 2.30) and sophomore Krystle Herold (4-9, 2.29) specialize in pitching, not neurology, but will be asked to find a cure for UHis Touretteis problem.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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