Preview: Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational

Feb. 22, 2018

HOUSTON -- The University of Houston Softball team will open its home schedule with the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational across Feb. 23-25 at Cougar Softball Stadium. The Cougars will host Syracuse, UNLV, UTSA and Yale across the three-day tournament.


Friday, Feb. 23

 • 10:30 a.m. | UNLV vs. Syracuse | GameTracker logo
 • 1 p.m. | Syracuse vs. Yale | GameTracker logo
 • 3:30 p.m. | UTSA vs. UNLV | GameTracker logo
 • 6 p.m. | Yale at Houston | GameTracker logo | Video icon

Saturday, Feb. 24

 • 9 a.m. | Yale vs. UTSA | GameTracker logo
 • 11:30 a.m. | UTSA vs. Syracuse | GameTracker logo
 • 2 p.m. | Yale vs. UNLV | GameTracker logo
 • 4:30 p.m. | Syracuse at Houston | GameTracker logo | Video icon
 • 7 p.m. | UNLV at Houston | GameTracker logo | Video icon

Sunday, Feb. 25

 • 9 a.m. | Syracuse vs. Yale | GameTracker logo
 • 11:30 a.m. | UNLV vs. UTSA | GameTracker logo
 • 2 p.m. | UTSA at Houston | GameTracker logo | Video icon

• For the tournament, each day has its own ticket, and that ticket will get you into all of the games on that particular day. For example, a ticket purchased on Friday is good for every game on that day.

• Houston is coming off a 1-3 showing in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the program's first-ever international trip. The Cougars defeated No. 15/18 Ole Miss, 6-0, while falling to No. 3/3 Oregon, 1-0, Rutgers, 4-3 (8 Inn.), and Texas, 7-3. For their efforts, sophomores Arielle James and Sarah Queen, and redshirt junior Sarah Barker were each named to the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge All-Tournament Team.

• Sophomore Trystan Melancon was named the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced Monday. The native of Tomball, Texas, posted a 1-1 record with a 1.75 ERA across eight innings pitched, including being part of a 6-0 shutout against No. 15/18 Ole Miss. Melancon limited the Rebels to just five hits across six innings. The honor is the first of Melancon's career, while the conference nod is the second for the Cougars on the season after senior shortstop Maria Garcia was named The American Player of the Week for opening weekend.

• In addition to being named to the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge All-Tournament Team, Queen was also named to The American Weekly Honor Roll. She led the team with a .545 batting average, going 7-for-11 with a double, RBI and run scored across four games in Mexico. Against Rutgers on Saturday, the Houston native tied her career high with three hits.

• For a second-straight week Houston is receiving votes in the Softball Collegiate Top 25. Entering Week 3, the Cougars are receiving two votes in the poll.

• Individually, Queen leads The American in batting average (.478) and ranks second in on-base percentage (.520) and third in hits (11). Garcia leads the league in RBI (9) and is tied for first in home runs (2), while sitting second in slugging percentage (.750) and total bases (18), and sixth in batting average (.375). Senior left fielder Kaylin Crumpton leads the conference in hit by pitch (3) and is third in on-base percentage (.519).

• As a team, Houston leads The American in batting average (.293) and on-base percentage (.361), and is second in hits (67), triples (2) and hit by pith (7), and third in slugging percentage (.371) and runs scored (33). As a staff, the Cougars rank third in ERA (2.04), while allowing the fewest walks (12) and second-fewest runs scored (24) amongst conference members.

• Houston is 10-7 all-time against the tournament field. The Cougars are 9-6 all-time against UTSA and 1-1 all-time against UNLV. Houston has never met Syracuse nor Yale before on the diamond.

After the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational, the Cougars will host the Houston Red & White Showcase across March 2-4, welcoming Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to Cougar Softball Stadium. Mississippi Valley State and Southern will also participate in the tournament but will not play Houston.

Thanks to a record year for the Diamond Club, Houston Softball announced the addition of an LED, Daktronics video board (completed) and indoor practice facility as major upgrades to Cougar Softball Stadium.

According to Daktronics, the new outfield video board will be the fifth largest at an on-campus softball stadium in the country and the largest in the state of Texas. The board, which will sit just beyond the left-field wall, will stand 29-feet-3.1-inches tall and measure 24-feet-4.0-inches wide with 576 square feet of space (24-feet by 24-feet) for live video, instant replays, statistics and scoring information, graphics and animations, and sponsor messages. The display features a 13HD pixel layout for crisp, clear imagery for a great view from every seat at the stadium.

The indoor facility, which will replace the current batting cage down the right-field line, will measure 70-feet by 80-feet. The 5,600-square-foot space will feature five batting cages, measuring 60-feet long by 15-feet wide each, with retractable nets for the space to be used in a variety of ways. The facility will have a synthetic turf floor and will be temperature controlled.

In total, the two capital projects represent $1.2 million in upgrades.

The Houston Athletics Ticket Office is once again proud to offer the Shasta Pass for the 2017-18 season. For just $80, Cougar fans can purchase one Shasta Pass, which allows season-long general admission entrance to all Houston Volleyball, Soccer, Women's Basketball and Softball home games.

The Shasta Pass offers Houston fans a substantial saving as single-game tickets start at $5 for all four sports. To purchase a Shasta Pass, call 713-GO-COOGS or CLICK HERE.

Follow Houston Softball on Twitter and Instagram at UHCougarSB, and "Like" UHCougarSB on Facebook.

Fans can help support the Houston Softball program by joining the Diamond Club. To find out more information about the Diamond Club, visit or call Cougar Pride at (713) 743-GoUH. For more information, CLICK HERE.



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