#38 Houston Softball 2014 Preview

Houston Cougars

Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #3 American
#38 Houston Softball 2014 Preview
Houston Team Page


The Cougars posted a fine year in 2013, reaching the C-USA final and receiving an At-Large NCAA bid to the Austin Regional. Posting an average of over five runs a game overall, the Cats finished one half games behind in conference play, posting a solid 19-5 record and winning six of the seven conference series they played. Houston was not, however, a come-from-behind team, going 27-0 with the lead after six innings but posting a 1-16 record when trailing entering the seventh frame. Houston also committed 89 errors in 61 games, which could be cause for concern.

2013 Record: 41-20, 19-5 C-USA
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kyla Holas

Field Players:
Senior Catcher and reigning C-USA Player of the Year, Haley Outon, will lead the Cougars on and off the field in 2014. The field general led the conference in home runs with 15 and in RBIs with 62. Then-freshman Katie St. Pierre joined Outon on the All C-USA first team, and will try to avoid the sophomore jinx. As a freshman, St. Pierre hit .361 with a 21 game hitting streak, both good for school records. Outon and St. Pierre were also named to the NFCA All Region Second-Team, and home-grown Kayla Holland returns, having hit .313 while collecting 51 hits and 24 RBIs. Senior Kendra Cullem returns at shortstop, and while hitting only .235, earned an incredible 68 free passes via walk (30) and hit by pitch (38).

Senior Deidre Outon brings back the most experience in the circle with 119 innings pitched and 11 complete games in 17 starts in 2013. She gave up more than a hit per inning (129) and issued 58 walks. Outon was honored with Pitcher of the Week in March for her work against Memphis and a ranked Baylor team. Along with junior Summer Groholski (6-4, 72.2 IP) and sophomore Julana Shrum (3-2, 35.2 IP), the returning pitchers will need to lower their combined 2013 ERA of 2.96.

Who to Watch:
St. Pierre and the pitching staff. If St. Pierre can set the table like she did in 2013 with Outon and Holland behind her, Houston will again be hard to keep off the board. The pitching staff has that extremely difficult non-conference schedule staring them in the face, and will need to keep their confidence level up no matter the win/loss record early in the year.

Final Projection:
The Houston Nine, if nothing else, will be battle tested. The Cats play seven teams that finished in the Top 25 in 2013, three of which reached the World Series (Texas at #3, Michigan at #6 and Nebraska at #8.) A return to the conference championship is realistic, and another NCAA At-Large bid is very possible if they don’t win their way in.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Katie St. Pierre, OF, 178
Hits: Katie St. Pierre, OF, 67
Home Runs: Haley Outon, C, 16
RBIs: Haley Outon, C, 62
Runs: Kendra Cullem, SS, 52
Stolen Bases: Katie St. Pierre, OF, 15

Wins: Deidre Outon, P, 13
Innings Pitched: Deidre Outon, P, 119.1
Strikeouts: Deidre Outon, P, 119.1
Saves: Deidre Outon, P, 1

Madness 2014 NPF Draft Rankings:
#10 Haley Outon


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