#35 Houston Softball 2015 Preview

Houston Cougars

Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #4 American
#35 Houston Softball 2015 Preview
Houston Team Page


The Cougars are coming off of their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, one that ended in a Regional loss to Tulsa. Houston brings back an upperclassmen-laden squad, with 13 of the team's 21 players being either juniors or seniors. The squad starts its second season as a member of the American Conference, trying to improve on its third place finish last season.

2014: 33-23, 13-8
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kyla Holas

Field Players:
The Cougars bring back five of their top seven hitters from last season, each of whom started over 53 games in 2014. Four of the five started every game of the season. Katie St. Pierre is the type of hitter that you want to leadoff for your squad, as she sprays the ball all over the field. The junior finished the year with a .381 average, which was fourth in the conference, as well as knocking out 61 hits, which was also tops on the team. Selena Hernandez finished second on the team in hits with 60, home runs with seven and RBI with 42. Her 16 doubles were not only more than double the second place finisher on her squad, but good enough for second in the conference. While the Cougars don't have a ton of speed on the team, they did steal 69 bases last season,  

Diedre Outon started 23 games, a team-high, but she has graduated. That leaves Julana Shrum and Summer Groholski, each of whom started double-digit games, to take over the rotation. Shrum was 10-7 with a 3.69 ERA and 69 strikeouts, while Groholski was 8-5 with a 3.36 ERA. The Cougars brought in two pitchers to compete for spots in the rotation as well, freshman Kayla Maxwell and Shelby Miller, a transfer from D-II Southern Arkansas University, where she was named an Honorable Mention All-American.  

Who to Watch:
Houston lost its main power source, Haley Outon, to graduation. Outon finished her senior season with 16 of the squad's 45 home runs and 55 RBI. Hernandez will be looked at to provide some more power. Tiffani McKnight might be another player the Cougars look at to provide some power. The squad used a three pitcher rotation last season. Can one of this year's pitchers take the reigns as ace?

Final Projection:
The Cougars can make the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season if they can find replacements for the Outons. If they can't replace the power, do they become more of a "small ball team?" They'll have to figure out quickly because Houston didn't do itself any favors schedule-wise. The team plays Florida Gulf Coast, Alabama and South Alabama, amongst others the first weekend. That's followed by a tournament with UMass and DePaul in it and then a doubleheader with Oregon. Other matchups with Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas and Louisiana-Lafayette. The Cougars will be ready for American Athletic Conference play that's for sure.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Selena Hernandez, IF, 194
Hits: Katie St. Pierre, OF, 61
Home Runs: Selena Hernandez, IF, 7
RBIs: Selena Hernandez, IF, 42
Runs: Selena Hernandez, IF, 48
Stolen Bases: Katie St. Pierre, OF, 12

Wins: Julana Shrum, P, 10
Innings Pitched: Julana Shrum, P, 134.2
Strikeouts: Julana Shrum, P, 69
Complete Games: Julana Shrum, P, 10


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