The Houston Cougars fought Conference USA’s top softball team tooth and nail but came up short of a triumph.

Fifth-seeded Houston saw its C-USA Tournament run end in the semifinals with a 4-3 loss to no. 1 seed Tulsa on Friday in Birmingham, Ala.

The Cougars (34-22) trailed the Golden Hurricane (40-12) by a score of 3-0 after four innings but made a late charge back in the ballgame. Holly Anderson hit a two-RBI double to score Julia Pecina and Jennifer Hooker to narrow the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

In the sixth, sophomore catcher Haley Outon blasted a solo homer, her 22nd of the season, to tie the game 3-3. Outon extended her single-season school record with the blast and recorded her 63rd RBI, also a school-record.

Tulsa outfielder Jessica Stoelke drove in the winning run on a bases loaded groundout scoring Skylar Swanson.

So now, Houston will wait to see its postseason fate. The Cougars are on the NCAA Tournament bubble with an RPI of 43 coming into the tournament. The tournament field will be unveiled during the NCAA’s selection show at 9 p.m. on Sunday on ESPNU.

The storm that passed through the city put a halt to the Cougars’ baseball tilt with Tulane on Friday night.

The teams got through six-and-a-half innings before the game was suspended for lightning. Houston trails Tulane 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning and the teams will continue the game at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Cougar Field.

Admission will be free to the final two-and-a-half innings when the teams restart on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to arrive early (probably around 3 p.m. is best) to avoid any traffic or parking difficulties as UH is conducting graduation ceremonies nearby at Hofheinz Pavilion. The final ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday and should conclude around the 4 p.m. first pitch.

After the conclusion of Game 1, the stands will be cleared and fans with a ticket for the originally scheduled Saturday game will be allowed to return.

Houston (16-28-1, 4-13-1 Conference USA) is fighting for the final spot in the C-USA Tournament and is two games ahead of last-place Marshall, which fell 8-6 to C-USA leader Central Florida on Friday.

Austin Pruitt threw the first seven innings for the Cougars on Friday, scattering nine hits and allowing three earned runs. Senior catcher John Cannon, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Friday and also graduated on Friday morning, capped off the day with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to pull the Cougars to within a run.

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On the track front, first if you missed my story Friday on UH distance runner Nate Pineda, be sure to check it out.

The Cougars began competition at the C-USA outdoor championships on Friday in New Orleans with the multi-events and field events taking center stage. So far, UH’s Megan Frausto leads the women’s heptathlon going into Saturday and Kevin Johnson is second in the men’s decathlon to Rice’s Clayton Chaney going into the second day of competition.

You can follow live results here throughout the C-USA championships, which conclude on Sunday.

Source : Cougars fall to Tulsa, await fate; baseball suspended for weather – Houston Chronicle (blog)