After defeating Louisiana-Lafayette in their first game of the NCAA tournament, the Houston Cougar softball team knocked off #3 national seed Texas-Austin on Saturday afternoon, 1-0.
Cougar lead-off hitter Katy Beth Sherman started off the bottom of the first with a bunt single, and came around to score on a Melissa Gregson RBI grounder. That was all the offense the Cougars would get, and it was all the offense they would need. Houston pitchers Donna Bourgeois and Amanda Crabtree combined on a three-hit shutout.
The key point in the game came in the top of the fourth, when the Longhorns put runners on second and third with one out against Bourgeois. Even though her starter had not yet allowed a run, UH head coach Kyla Holas recognized the importance of the situation, and brought in Crabtree, more of a power pitcher, and Houston's all-time single-season strikeout leader. After giving up a walk to load the bases, Crabtree lived up to her reputation, recording back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
NCAA regionals are set-up in a double-elimination format, so Texas-Austin still has life. First-day losers Texas State and Louisiana-Lafayette will face off this afternoon, with the loser going home, and the winner advancing to play the Longhorns tonight. The winner of that game will survive to face the Cougars tomorrow.
Houston will need just one win out of two potential games against that team to advance to their second Super Regional in four years.