Baseball Cruises to Opening Day Win at Minute Maid Park
Feb. 13, 2004
HOUSTON - Travis Tully and Brett Cooley each rapped out two hits with two RBIs apiece to help lead the University of Houston baseball team to a 12-4 win over Kansas State during the opening game of the 2004 Minute Maid Park College Classic.
After falling behind early, the Cougars struck for four runs in the fourth inning and added five more runs in the sixth to take a commanding lead. UH outhit the Wildcats 14-8 in the game with four players rapping out two hits each and four players recording at least two RBIs.
Making his first career start as a Cougar, senior righthander Matt Varner earned the win after allowing eight hits with three runs and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Varner became the first first-year Cougar pitcher to start Opening Day since Jason Hart accomplished the feat in 1991.
Making its 58th Opening Day appearance, UH improved to 35-23 all-time in its first game of the season.
The Cougars continue their stay at the tournament when they meet Texas Tech at 3 p.m., Saturday, at Minute Maid Park. The game can be heard live on KAXF 88.3 FM or over the Internet at www.UHcougars.com. Fans also can follow the action through live stats by clicking on the Gametracker at the bottom of the main page at www.UHCougars.com.
Junior righthander Garrett Mock is expected to start for the Cougars. A year ago, Mock threw to a 5-4 record with 66 strikeouts and a 4.50 ERA in 86.0 innings of work. He was the only Cougar named to the Coaches' Preseason All-Conference USA squad.
Texas Tech is slated to throw righthander Randy Gattis (1-0, 0.00 ERA).
Tully finished the day 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs, while Cooley batted 2-for-5 with a run, double and two RBIs. Cole Bruce batted 2-for-3 with a run and double, and Rob Johnson hit 2-for-5 with a run and RBI. Stuart Musslewhite and Patrick Breen also added two RBIs apiece.
Kansas State struck for the game's first two runs in the third inning on Marc Chabot's RBI-double to left center and Josh Dent' sacrifice fly.
The Cougars roared back in the next half inning and took the lead with four runs. Cole Bruce led off with a monster double that forced KSU outfielder Josh Dent to run up the hill in center field. Two batters later, Nick Bott plated the Cougars' first run of the season with an RBI-single up the middle.
Matt Farrrington walked and Kyle Rudy slapped an infield single in the hole to load the bases before Travis Tully was plunked by a Bagley offering to tie the game at 2-2. With the bases still loaded, shortstop Stuart Musslewhite smashed a two-RBI single to center field for a 4-2 UH lead.
KSU pulled to within a run in the fifth inning on Chabot's single to right field. However, that would be as close as the Wildcats would get the rest of the game. In the next half inning, UH exploded for five runs. Rudy started the rally by reached on an infield error and moved into scoring position on Tully's single to left center.
Cooley then laced a two-run double down the left field line to plate both runners and came around himself to score on KSU's second infield error of the inning. Patrick Breen then blasted a home run to right field to hand the Cougars a comfortable 9-3 lead.
UH added another run in the seventh inning on Tully's RBI-groundout and two more in the eighth on RBI-singles from Matt Farrington and Johnson. KSU plated its final run of the game in the eighth inning on Eli Rumler's sacrifice fly.
Chabot batted 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, while Saunders went 2-for-2 with a double to lead KSU.