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Volume 71, Issue 132, Friday, April 21, 2006


Crunch time comes for UH softball team

by Lourdes Castillo
The Daily Cougar

In the run for a chance at a Conference USA title, the Cougars currently hold the fifth spot, trailing behind Marshall in fourth with this week's opponent Southern Mississippi holding the second spot. Tulsa and Alabama-Birmingham currently hold the first and third spots, respectively.

"Right now every game counts, and we still have two big ones. Southern Miss and UAB are both ahead of us so we've got to do some big things over the next week and a half," head coach Kyla Holas said.

With hopes of accomplishing their goal of earning higher spot, UH (28-18, 9-6 C-USA) will welcome the Golden Eagles (24-27, 10-5 C-USA) at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday. 

Senior Jaci Gonzalez has a .246 batting average with 19 hits and 6 RBIs. She will enter the next game six hits away of reaching 119 career hits and taking the No. 5 spot all-time in program history.

"Sometimes we are happy (about playing at home) and sometimes we aren't. Southern Miss is going to be a really big series for us, it always is. We are always rivals, but it's going to be a lot of fun," Holas said.

The Golden Eagles will travel to Houston after fighting their last non-conference battle at home on Wednesday against Southeastern Louisiana. 

The Golden Eagles improved to 25-27 thanks to a 3-2 win in front of 502 supporting fans. 

Down 0-2 in the fourth inning, Southern Miss' Jennifer Fox and Ashley Davis teamed up for back-to-back singles as soon as the Lady Lions brought pitcher Jessica Sander in the game. A sacrifice fly by Southern Miss' Kristin Pilgrim cut the deficit to 1-2. 

The Golden Eagles continued to fight for a win in the fifth when Ashley Brenan doubled to right center, scoring Charity Butler with two outs. Jessica Huerta's RBI double to left Center gave Southern Miss the necessary run to finish on top of the Lady Lions.

The Cougars are coming off a 2-1 performance (3-0, 6-2, 1-5) at Marshall on Friday and Saturday. 

"We've been practicing really solid. We finally took an off day and I think everyone is getting used to the heat and it's just one of those things where we are working as hard as we can," Holas said.

During Game 1, sophomore Angel Shamblin fired her second shutout of the season and improved her record to 11-6, while freshman Christa Raley finished 2-for-3, driving home two RBIs.

Game 2 saw senior Jaci Gonzalez go 2-for-2 with a two-run homer and two runs. Freshman Elaina Nordstrom contributed with two runs. Junior Candi Kloecker (8-9) was tagged with the Game 3 loss after Allowing six hits, two strikeouts and all five runs with 15 at-bats. 

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