Houston defeats Auburn 2-1 in game one at NCAA Austin Regional
May 18, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sophomore Bailey Watts tossed a complete-game effort in the circle while junior third baseman scored the winning run on an illegal pitch in the top of the seventh inning to lead the University of Houston softball team to a 2-1 victory against Auburn in the opening game of the NCAA Austin Regional on Friday afternoon at Red and Charline McCombs Field. Houston recorded its seventh consecutive victory in NCAA Regional play dating back to the 2008 season.
With Friday's win, third-seeded Houston (35-22 record) advances to Saturday's winner's bracket game at Noon Central against the winner of this afternoon's Texas-Northwestern contest. Second-seeded Auburn (33-22) will play in an elimination game on Saturday at 3 p.m. Central against the Texas-Northwestern loser.
Watts (16-8) earned the victory for the Cougars, going the distance and allowing one run on eight hits, while striking out four and walking two. Reliever Lauren Schmalz (9-9) took the loss for the Tigers, tossing 2.1 innings and allowing one run on two hits, while striking out one and walking one.
Houston grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Haley Outon led off the frame with an infield single, advanced to second on a Reina Gaber sac bunt and stole third base. With two outs, Outon came home on a wild pitch by Auburn starter Jenee Loree.
Auburn evened the score in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, centerfielder Branndi Melero sent the 0-1 pitch over the wall in left field for her third home run of the year.
Houston answered back with a single run in the top of the seventh. Diedre Outon led off the inning with a single. After Angel Bunner replaced Schmalz in the circle for Auburn, Diedre Outon advanced to second on an illegal pitch. An Anderson walk and an Ashleigh Jones single loaded the bases with no outs. Auburn retired the next two batters, before Bunner was called for an illegal pitch on a 2-2 count that plated Anderson from third base.
The Tigers got the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh, as Brooke Lathan led off the frame with a single. Watts then retired the next three batters with a strikeout, fly out and ground out to end the contest.