Feb. 16, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas -
Houston recorded a few timely hits, to include home runs by Jaime Edwards and Selena Hernandez, to defeat Army, 6-2, Sunday afternoon at the Cougar Softball Stadium as the Black Knights (0-5) closed out competition at the three-day Houston Hilton Plaza Classic.
A young Army softball team knew the challenge it would face at the tournament with two NCAA participants among the three teams they faced to include No. 8 Nebraska, who reached the Women's College World Series last year.
Sunday's loss to Houston was it second to the Cougars, but Army denied them a second shutout after bowing 6-0 Saturday night. Also among its losses was a 7-0 defeat to Nebraska and falling twice to Stephen F. Austin (7-1, 9-8).
Houston's Diedre Outon (2-0) picked up her second straight win over Army after scattering eight hits (to include just three over the final four innings), striking out four and did not issue a walk.
Unlike Saturday's shutout loss, Army had eight hits off Outon along with scoring twice early in the game. The Black Knights tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second on Alex Gaff's (2-for-3) single to right field scoring Kasey McCravey, who led off the frame with a double and stole third base.
The Cougars snapped the tie in the top of the third inning on Edward's two-run blast to left field that scored Hernandez, who led off the inning with a double, for a 3-1 lead.
Army opened the home half of the third with Amanda Nguyen and Alee Rashenskas ripping back-to-back singles off Outon. Nguyen was retired on a fielder's choice at third with Rashenskas moving to second and April Ortenzo at first. McCravey's (2-for-3) RBI single scored Rashenskas to draw Army to 3-2, and she moved to second on an error by the catcher with Ortenzo advancing to third.
With Army knocking on the door with players in scoring position, Outon got out safely retiring the next batter on a line drive to the second baseman. The senior hurler for Houston held Army to just three hits over the next four innings and only allowed the Black Knights into scoring position once following Nguyen's two-out triple in the bottom of the seventh. She denied Army on a grounder back to the circle.
Houston padded its lead to 6-2 in the top of the fourth inning when Hernandez (2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored) smacked a three-run homer off Army starter Braetana Roy (0-2). Freshman Kristen West took over the circle in the fifth inning and yielded just one hit throwing shutout ball over the final three innings.
McCravey led Army throughout the tournament batting .563 (9-for-16) with three RBI and three runs scored authoring a .938 slugging percentage and .563 on-base percentage. Four of her hits went for extra bases with three doubles and a home run.
Army collected eight hits with Nguyen, McCravey and Gaff each stroking two.
In the circle, West pitched relief duty in all five games leading the team with 10.2 innings and holding opponents to a batting average of .179. Roy pitched 10.1 innings as a starter in three games.
Army continues its road swing as it heads to North Carolina next weekend to compete at the UNCG Spartan Classic hosted by Greensboro.