Rodriguez ripped a single to leftfield to leadoff the third inning, while Barefield reached on an infield single to third base in the fifth. The Lady Demons (10-14) tallied seven hits in the game from seven different players but just couldn’t plate enough runners to keep pace with Houston (12-13).
The Cougars are no stranger to winning, as they claimed the Austin Regional Championship last season over UL-Lafayette and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 after taking down 12 different top-25 or teams receiving votes in 2011. Houston returned nine letterwinners this season from that squad.
Tara McKenney scored the first run of the game in the first frame after leading off with a single up the middle. She advanced to third after a single by Blair Beard and a fielders’ choice by Rodriguez, and crossed home on a wild pitch.
Houston responded with two runs in the second, three in the third and one more in the sixth. Haley Outon highlighted the scoring with a three-for-three evening, including a three-run homer to help the Cougars pull away in the third inning.
Kylie Roos (3-8) allowed four earned runs in three innings and took the loss for NSU, while Bailey Watts (5-4) pitched 6.1 scoreless innings of relief and earned the win. Brooke Boening pitched two shutout innings out of the bullpen for the Lady Demons, allowing just a pair of hits.
NSU will be back in action on Friday when it hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 6 p.m. at the Lady Demon Diamond Complex to kickoff conference play.