Houston Baseball Earns 4-1 Win Over Northeastern Behind Arm of Pruitt
Feb. 16, 2013
HOUSTON -- Senior right-handed starting pitcher Austin Pruitt pitched a 6.0-inning shutout gem, helping Houston Baseball to a 4-1 victory over Northeastern on Saturday evening at Cougar Field.
FINALWith the win, Houston improved to 2-0 on the weekend, while Northeastern fell to 0-2. That win also marked the eighth straight Opening Weekend win under head coach Todd Whitting since 2011. The Cougars swept both Opening Weekend series in 2011 (UTA) and 2012 (Delaware).
NUMBERS OF NOTE
1 Junior Tyler Ford recorded his first career save for the Cougars.
1.50 The combined earned run average of the Houston starting pitching staff through the first two games of the season.
4 Senior Austin Pruitt had four strikeouts and allowed four hits in his 4th career win on the mound for the Cougars.
7 Freshman second baseman Josh Vidales has reached base in seven of his 10 plate appearances as leadoff man for the Cougars on the year.
81 Starting pitcher Austin Pruitt needed just 81 pitches in six shutout innings to earn his first win of the season.
The Cougars tallied nine hits in Saturday's win for 19 total in the last two games. Houston was led by junior Caleb Barker's 2-for-5, one RBI effort. Also contributing at the plate with a base knock were freshman Josh Vidales (1-3, R, RBI, 2 BB), juniors Landon Appling (1-3, RBI, BB) and Frankie Ratcliff (1-5, R), freshmen Kyle Kirk (1-, BB), Ashford Fulmer (1-3, R, BB), and Kyle Survance (1-4, R).
As the ideal leadoff guy, Vidales has reached base seven of his 10 plate appearances over the last two games and holds a team-leading .625 average after tacking on another hit tonight.
Pruitt (6.0,4,0,0,1,4) continued his magic on the mound, shutting down Northeastern for his six innings of work. The Woodlands, Texas native, wrapped up his first start of 2013, finishing with a four-hit shutout with four strikeouts and just one walk for his fourth career win as a Cougar.
Houston jumped out early with two runs in the first after Vidales and Appling opened the game with back-to-back walks.
Barker's RBI groundout made it a 2-0 game following a Northeastern error that plated the game's first run.
Pruitt pitched out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout and a nice running grab by Fulmer after two Husky singles and a catcher's interference call.
Survance picked up his first collegiate hit in the latter half of the inning on an infield single. He went on steal second and score on a Vidales single up the middle for his fifth hit in just six at-bats as a Cougar.
After leading off the fourth with an infield single and stealing second, Appling drove in Fulmer on a clutch 2-out RBI single to right field to extend Houston's lead to 4-0.
The Cougars threatened again in the fifth, but were unable to push across a run after stranding the bases loaded. Freshman Jake Lemoine (1.2,4,1,0,1,0) made his collegiate debut in relief of Pruitt, tossing 1.2 innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits.
Northeastern's only run came in the seventh inning. With a runner on, Lemoine was able to escape the inning with no more damage. The Huskies put their leadoff runner on in the eighth, but Lemoine was able to induce a 5-4-3 groundout double play with featured three freshmen. That defensive spark set up the final two innings for junior Tyler Ford.
Ford (1.1,0,0,0,0,3) faced four batters and fanned three en route to his first save as a Cougar. With two on in the eighth, the Huskies had a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat, but Ford fanned the final hitter on a 3-2 count to escape any Northeastern rally.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
On the starting pitching this series
"The thing I love about (Austin) Pruitt is that I know what I'm going to get out of him when he pitches. The challenge I made to the team was to play well last night, and come out and play well tonight. We came right out of the gates, and scored two runs in the second, then another in the third. I was proud of their effort on that. Pruitt is a tempo guy and he found command of his pitches early and competed really well. That's the same old same old Pruitt."
On the play of Josh Vidales
"He's making me look like a genius putting a freshman in the one hole. He's a gritty player and he's done exactly what we've asked him to do. He is the player he is and he works on his game. He still has to get better at a few things, but I'm proud of the tone he's set at the top of our lineup."
Senior starting pitcher Austin Pruitt
On tonight's performance
"My curveball was working well for me. Early in the game I wasn't hitting my spots as much as I would have wanted too, but my curveball got me through the tough times."
Junior catcher Caleb Barker
On the newcomers making contributions early in the year
"All the newcomers know their role and know what's going on. They've really accepted that. It's a team first team last type deal and everything is about Houston Cougar baseball. Everyone has accepted that and working towards it.
On the depending on different people each night
"It's great the depth we have top to bottom. Any night anybody can step up and have a big night for us. Our focus is on having quality at-bats, passing the bat to the next guy, and scoring a lot of runs that way."
SUNDAY KIDS DAY
· Every Sunday is Kids Day at Cougar Field.
· Bring the family and enjoy an afternoon of baseball with the Houston Cougars.
· Kids will have the opportunity to participate in National Anthem Buddies, Kids Run the Bases, as well as a special post-game autograph session with the team.
Single-game tickets begin as low as $6 for youth and $8 for adults in general admission seating (Level 200) and as low as $8 for youth and $10 for adults in reserved seating (Level 100). Premium games for the Cougars will include the Baylor-New Orleans weekend, which runs from March 15-17, Texas on March 19 and the Rice series on April 19-21. Premium games begin as low as $8 for youth and $10 for adults in general admission seating (Level 200) and as low as $12 for youth and $15 for adults in reserved seating (Level 100).
For single-game ticket information, click here or contact the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).