Feb. 7, 2006
HOUSTON - University of Houston junior Brad Lincoln blasted a three-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Cougar Baseball team to a dramatic 11-10 win over Texas-San Antonio in the season opener for both teams at Cougar Field.
The Cougars (1-0) rallied twice late in the game, taking advantage of home runs. With UH trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning, sophomore outfielder Bryan Tully blasted a 3-2 offering from reliever Noah Tritz over the wall in left field to knot the game at 7-7.
When it appeared that the Cougars had grabbed all the momentum, UTSA (0-1) struck back for three runs in the top of the 10th inning. Michael Rockett reached second to lead off after a UH miscue in the outfield and grabbed an 8-7 lead after a pair of UH wild pitches. J.R. Voyles plated James Keithley with an RBI-single up the middle, and Lee Todesco's sacrifice fly - his third of the game - scored Phillip Allen to hand the Roadrunners a comfortable three-run cushion.
But the Cougars would not go quietly. Mark McGonigle reached on an UTSA infield error to lead off. After a pair of strikeouts, Jake Stewart lined a single into right field to score McGonigle and pull UH to within two. UH newcomer Isa Garcia continued the Cougar rally with a sharp single into left field to put runners at first and second.
After a UTSA pitching change, Lincoln smashed the first pitch he saw from reliever Blake Brannon into the trees in right field to send most of the crowd of 1,219 into hysterics.
Junior southpaw Clint Corrigan collected the win for UH in his first career appearance as a Cougar after striking out the only batter he faced in the 10th inning. Brannon picked up the loss and fell to 0-1.
Lincoln finished the game 2-for-6 with two runs and a game-high four RBIs. His dramatic homer overshadowed a dominating pitching performance. Making his second straight Opening Day start, Lincoln threw the first five innings, holding the Roadrunners to only two hits with seven strikeouts in five shutout innings.
Freshman catcher Luis Flores batted 3-for-5 in his collegiate debut, while Garcia went 2-for-6 with a pair of runs.
Voyles went 2-for-3 with two runs and a pair of RBIs to pace the UTSA offense, which scored 10 runs off only six hits. Todesco led UTSA with three RBIs, while Michael McKennon finished 2-for-5 with an RBI.
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m., Friday when they meet No. 7 Texas in the opener for both teams at the 2006 Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. From there, the team will face No. 21 TCU at 3:30 p.m., Saturday before facing Texas Tech at 11 a.m., Sunday.
All three games can be heard live on www.UHCougars.com with Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans also can follow live stats by clicking on the "Gametracker" link at www.UHCougars.com.
The Cougars grabbed the early lead in their first at bat. After Stewart drew a leadoff walk and Garcia slapped a single into left field, Lincoln gave UH an early advantage with an RBI-single into right field. Two batters later, Matt Weston lifted a sacrifice fly into right field to plate Garcia for a 2-0 lead.
The score remained that way until the fourth inning when Stewart's sacrifice fly into right field scored McGonigle who reached on a one-out single and moved all the way to third on Flores' first hit of the day.
In the sixth inning, UTSA struck for its first run of the game when Todesco's first sacrifice fly plated Phillip Allen who led off by reaching on the first of four Cougar errors on the day.
In the bottom of the frame, though, UH pushed its lead back to three runs. Stirneman smashed a double down the right-field line and moved to third on a wild pitch. McGonigle then grounded out but not before Stirneman scored for a 5-1 UH lead.
Things began to unravel in the eighth inning for the Cougar bullpen as UTSA took advantage of two infield errors, four walks and only one hit to score four runs. The Roadrunners added two more runs in the ninth inning, thanks to Voyles' RBI-double and Todesco's final sacrifice fly of the night, for a 7-4 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Lincoln reached on one of UTSA's five errors and moved up a base on a wild pitch. When Dustin Kingsbury's ground ball was misplayed in the infield, Lincoln raced all the way from second base, and Kingsbury moved up on an errant throw from the outfield.
Working his way to a full count, Tully then blasted his first collegiate home run over the wall in left field.