Oklahoma State shuts out Houston
Espinosa, Odom combine to blank Cougars in series opener
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Ashley Boyd hit a two-run double bottom of the fourth and Oklahoma State's pitching staff shut out the Cougars as the Cowgirls defeated Houston 3-0 on Friday evening in the opener of a three game NCAA Super Regional series.
OSU scored its first run in the bottom of the first on a double by Julie Ward. Mariah Gearhart led off the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ari Morrison. With two outs, Ward hit a drive to right center that hit the bottom of the fence, scoring Gearhart.
The Cougars had a runner at second base in five of the seven innings, but failed to score off Cowgirl starter Kat Espinosa. Despite giving up 10 hits, she held Houston scoreless, forcing ground out after ground out.
Amanda Crabtree started in the circle for Houston, but was pulled at the start of the third inning. Freshman Diedre Outon came on in relief and retired the side in the third.
However, in the fourth frame, Alysia Hamilton and Ward led off the inning with back-to-back singles. With two outs, Boyd hit her 10th double of the season just over the outstretched glove of Ashleigh Jones. The Houston centerfielder got leather on the ball, popping it up in the air, but her leap just wasn't high enough.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Espinosa gave up a pair of hits, and head coach Rich Wieligman brought in senior hurler Sarah Odom who retired the next two batters for her third save of the season.