HOUSTON − The University of Houston softball team split its two games Saturday against UTSA and Texas Tech. The Cougars topped UTSA for the second straight game with a 9-5 win, but fell 1-0 to future Big 12 rival Texas Tech.
In his Houston debut, right-handed starter Hannah Todd pitched 3.1 innings with four strikeouts. Todd would make way for right-handed pitchers Megan Lee and Kenna Wilkey. Lee picked up the win after pitching 2.2 innings out of the bullpen. Lee allowed only one hit but walked away with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, making way for Wilkey. Wilkey earned the stoppage by pitching a scoreless seventh inning with the bases loaded.
The Roadrunners opened the scoring when third baseman Camryn Robillard came home on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third inning to lead 1-0.
UH responded immediately late in the third with four runs through right fielder Paige Hulseythird baseman Ja’Naiya Thomas and second baseman Becca Schulte to take the lead at 4-1.
UTSA came back and wasted no time as they reclaimed the lead with four runs in the top of the fourth inning to move up 5-4.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Cougars tied the game at 5-5 as Hulsey scored past the center fielder Aspen Howie was walked on full account with bases loaded.
After a scoreless fifth inning, pinch the batter LA Matthews doubled to left center field as left fielder Bethany Busch scored to give the Cougars a 6-5 lead with two outs.
On the next bat, Schulte picked the left field line to bring Matthews home and extend UH’s lead to 7-5.
On a crazy streak including an error by UTSA shortstop Taylor Medina, Designated Player paigelott and Schulte scored unearned runs to make it 9-5.
Wilkey closed the door in seventh to give the Cougars their second straight victory over the Roadrunners in 2022.
Right-handed pitcher Saleen Flores debuted, pitching 5.2 innings but ended up getting scored for the loss in the 1-run game.
For the second straight game, Wilkey stepped in with the bases loaded to pull the Cougars out of a traffic jam, easing the pressure in the sixth inning to keep Texas Tech just one run. Wilkey stayed in the game, finishing the game with 1.1 innings without a hit in relief on strikes with a batter.
Texas Tech right-handed pitcher Kendall Fritz went no-hitter in six innings before Howie got out to left field in the top of the seventh no-out. Howie would find himself at third base after a sacrificial bunt from Schutle was thrown into foul territory by the Red Raiders. With runners in the corners, the Cougars lined up in a double play, releasing the pressure for Texas Tech in the inning.
Despite the game’s first hit, Fritz stayed on the mound and finished the game with just one hit throughout in the win.
The game was delayed 20 minutes due to a neighborhood-wide power outage in the fifth inning.
The softball team will wrap up the final day of the Houston Invitational with another doubleheader against Dayton and Texas Tech at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 13 at Cougar Softball Stadium.
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