Thursday, March 18, 2010

Softball Travels to Orlando for First Conference Road Series of the Season

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 18, 2010) Riding an eight-game winning streak, the University of Houston softball team travels to Orlando, Fla., for its first Conference USA road series of the season. The Cougars (15-9, 3-0) take on the UCF Knights (14-11, 1-1) on March 20-21 with the first pitch slated for noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Houston leads the all-time series 9-3 against the Knights with the advantage of a 4-1 road record. Last season, the teams split the series after inclement weather at the Cougar Softball Stadium limited the meeting to a Sunday doubleheader.

The last time the Cougars played at the UCF Softball Complex was on April 5-6, 2008 when Houston went 1-1 against UCF, winning the first game, 5-1, and dropping the second, 5-6.

Conference USA Hitter of the Week Angela Spittler leads Houston with a .359 batting average and .500 on-base percentage. The College Station, Texas native has recorded at least one hit in seven of her last eight games, including a pair of home runs against Southern Miss and North Dakota State. In the Southern Miss matchup, the junior went a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI and three runs.

Freshman Ashleigh Jones follows, batting .358 with a team-high of 29 hits and 81 at bats. The centerfielder went 4-for-7 in Houston’s midweek doubleheader against North Dakota State, driving in an RBI and a run.

Sophomore Melissa Gregson slugs .547 to lead the team in total bases (35), runs (16), RBI (19) and home runs (6). The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., product hit two home runs in game two of the North Dakota State twin bill, tallying three RBI. She was the first Cougar to accomplish this feat since Laurie Wagner belted two over the fence in an 8-3 home win against Baylor on April 16, 2008.

Bailey Watts (8-3) leads the pitching staff with an ERA of 2.50 in 70 innings. Amanda Crabtree worked her way to a winning record this past week, helping the Cougars defeat Monmouth, North Dakota State and Southern Miss twice. The junior pitcher recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts in the first game of the Southern Miss sweep.

Abby McClain leads the Knights with a .317 batting average and 26 total bases. The junior ties for the lead in hits (19) with Natalie Land and runs (15) with Hillary Barrow.

UCF will rely on Ashleigh Cole (9-6) who leads the pitching staff with a 1.58 ERA and 66 strikeouts over 97.2 innings.

The Knights went 1-1 against Memphis last weekend and dropped a midweek matchup against Drake on Wednesday. So far this season, they have claimed wins against two ranked teams, No. 16 Tennessee and No. 9 Alabama.

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