NCAA

Texas A&M players greet pitcher Kendall Potts after working out of a game. 

 AUSTIN – Houston’s Arielle James hit a three-run homer to lift the Cougars to a 3-1 victory over Texas A&M in opening-round action of the NCAA softball tournament on Friday afternoon at McCombs Field.

James’ line drive, which just cleared the left-field fence, came with two outs in the fifth inning. All the runs were unearned because UH’s Brooke Vannoy reached on a passed ball after striking out. Sarah Barker followed with a one-out single. Lindsey Stewart struck out, but James jumped all over a 3-1 pitch for her sixth homer of the season.

UH (38-17) advances to play Sam Houston State winner at Saturday at 1 p.m. The Bearkats upset host Texas 2-1. The Aggies (28-26) will face host Texas, the national seventh seed, in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m.

James’ homer was the only big hit as both teams struggled at the plate. A&M was 1 of 10 with runners in scoring position and that hit didn’t even produce a run. UH also was 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position but the hit was the difference in the game.

A&M scored its run in the sixth.

Haley Lee had a leadoff single. Morgan Smith with one out reached an error. Blake-Ann Fritsch reached on an infield hit to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Abby Smith struck out. Kelbi Fortenberry should have grounded out, but first baseman Kelli Mongomery dropped the throw, allowing pinch-runner Ashlynn Walls to score. Freshman Kayla Garcia lined out as A&M left the bases loaded for a second time.

UH senior right-hander Savannah Heebner retired the side in order in the seventh for the first time. Heebner (14-8) allowed six hits, striking out seven and walking two. She also pitched a complete game in a 9-3 victory over A&M in March.

Potts (12-13) allowed five hits in five innings, striking out three and walking three. Payton McBride pitched a hitless inning.

Lee had two hits for A&M, while Barker and Maya Thomas each had two hits for Houston.

(3) comments

Florida Mike

No surprise here Coach Evans needs to with back to back one and done playoff games 🤬

Florida Mike

Needs to go

Florida Mike

Clarification we will play Texas in an elimination game tomorrow I understand so we can be hopefully 🤞🤞🤞✌️🤞

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