Softball Drops Season Finale, 3-1, to Houston
May 7, 2006
Memphis (28-26; 10-13 C-USA) 000 100 0 - 1 6 6 Houston (38-21; 15-9 C-USA) 000 300 0 - 3 8 1HOUSTON, Texas - Memphis made six costly errors that led to three unearned runs in the fourth inning and squandered a solid pitching performance by Jenna Kubesch, as the Lady Tigers fell, 3-1, to Houston in the final game of their inaugural season.
The U of M also missed a golden opportunity to advance to the C-USA Tournament, getting a loss from Southern Miss, but failing to take advantage and getting seventh place in the league by a half game.
The two squads were locked in a tight one throughout, but Memphis made the six errors, including four in Houston's three-run third inning, and could not overcome the miscues, missing several scoring opportunities.
Zeros remained on the board until the top of the fourth, though both Memphis and Houston had opportunities to break the scoring column early in the game.
The Lady Tigers put the leadoff hitter on in each of the first three innings, but could never advance a runner beyond second base, as Houston starter Crystal Briscoe worked out of all three jams.
The Cougars themselves had two chances to score in the first three frames, but Kubesch left a runner on third in the first and induced a double-play to get out of trouble in the third.
Memphis broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth with Tori Gross lining a single down the leftfield line to plate McNulty and give the Lady Tigers a 1-0 lead. McNulty reached on a one-out single up the middle and moved to second on a Kara Ross goundout before Gross battled through a 13-pitch at-bat to put the U of M on top.
Houston, however, responded right away, using three hits and the four critical Lady Tiger errors to score three unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth. Laura Durham logged a one-out single and moved to second on an error by Leandra Hines before stealing third and scoring on a throwing error by Kimmi Hayden. Brooke Johnson walked and later scored on an error by Kara Ross and Brandi Clark reached on an error and came home on a single by Valis to set the final margin of 3-1.
The Lady Tigers mounted an attack in the top of the fifth, putting runners on first and second with two outs and eventually loading the bases with two outs. But Candi Kloecker, who relieved Briscoe in the circle, got McNulty to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat.
Memphis then threatened again in the top of the seventh, as Lindsey Pridgen walked to lead off the fame and Hines followed with a single to put runners on first and second with no outs. But Cara Stiles struck out and Kimmi Hayden hit in to a 5-3 double play to end the inning and the game.
Kubesch took the loss in the circle to finish the year with a 13-12 record. The junior posted a strong effort, but gave up three runs - all unearned - on eight hits, while striking out four in 6.0 innings of work.
Briscoe went 4.2 innings, allowing one earned run on five hits, to improve to 4-0 on the year, while Kloecker worked 2.1, one-hit innings to pick up her first save of the season.
Hines went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles to pace the U of M offense, while McNulty, Gross, Pridgen and Stiles added a hit apiece.
With the loss, Memphis finishes its first season with a record of 28-26 and 10-13 in C-USA play, while Houston improves to 38-21 overall and 15-9 in the league and to claim the third seed in next week's Conference USA Tournament.