HOUSTON - A three-run homerun by junior Chris Iriart was the difference maker as No. 3 Houston Baseball came from behind in its third straight game to earn a 3-1 win over No. 20 Alabama at Cougar Field Friday night.
The win lifted the Cougars to a 5-0 record this season, while Alabama dropped to 3-1.
Houston's three runs were the first allowed by the Alabama pitching staff in its first four games as they entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in ERA at 0.00.
It was Iriart's third homerun of the season that gave Houston the sixth-inning lead as the Cougars managed to hold Alabama scoreless in the final three frames to close out the victory.
The sixth inning scoring effort began when junior Josh Vidales doubled down the left field line with one out. He was followed up by a walk by junior Jacob Campbell. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Iriart belted the homerun to left field to put Houston ahead 3-1.
Alabama scored the game's first run in the fourth inning following a leadoff double, fielder's choice and RBI-single into left field.
Sophomore starter Andrew Lantrip (7.0,7,1,1,1,5) was dominant in his second start of the year, earning his second win to improve to 2-0 after allowing just one run through 7.0 complete innings with one walk and five strikeouts - matching his total from the Minnesota win a week ago.
Lantrip was helped by a strong combined relief effort by junior Kyle Dowdy (0.1,0,0,0,0,0,0) and freshman Seth Romero (1.2,1,0,0,0,1) - who allowed one hit in 1.2 innings of work with one strikeout to earn his second save of the season.
Houston was held to just four hits on the night by Alabama starter Taylor Guilbeau (6.0,4,3,3,2,7), who fanned seven Cougars. Of the four hits, two were for extra bases as Iriart (1x3, R, 3 RBI) lead the charge with three RBI on one hit and scored a run, followed by Vidales (2x3, R) who had two of Houston's four hits. Junior Ashford Fulmer (1x4) would chip in with the other lone base knock.
A scoreless game and what proved to be a pitcher's duel through the first three innings, led to a 0-0 game until Alabama broke loose for one run in the fourth. Houston's first hit came on a Vidales' single in the fourth, but nothing came of it as he was left stranded.
Houston's pitching staff worked around two late Crimson Tide threats - both in the eighth and ninth frames. In the eighth, Alabama - down 3-1, had its first two hitters reach on back-to-back singles, which relieved Lantrip of this starting effort. Dowdy came in and induced the first out - a flyout to left and then handed the ball over to Romero - who forced 1-3 groundout and a 4-3 putout to keep Alabama off the board.
Looking to close out the ninth, the Crimson Tide made it interesting when their second hitter reached on a 1-out error by the Cougars. A strikeout swinging by Romero followed for two outs, but a single put runners at first and second. A final groundout to shortstop ended the game.
Houston and Alabama will continue its three-game series on Saturday. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 21 - H-Day | READ MORE ABOUT THE DAY
Fans have the chance to be named the Coogs' Most Dedicated Fan.
The day features five home events on the UH campus: Women's Basketball (2 p.m. - SMU), Softball (3 p.m. - New Mexico, 5:30 p.m. - Texas A&M-Corpus Christi), Baseball (6:30 p.m. - Alabama) and Men's Basketball (8:30 p.m. - Cincinnati), along with the 38th annual "H" Association BBQ (4-7 p.m.).
Fans can purchase an all-inclusive H-Day Ticket, which includes admission to all five UH games on the day and the "H" Association BBQ, for just $50 at UHCougars.com/hday. Tickets to the "H" Association BBQ can be purchased for $15, along with single-game tickets to all five home events for the day, at UHCougars.com/tickets.
- Baseball Bingo ... play Bingo all game long, win Prizes!
Sunday, February 22 - Daddy/Daughter Day - Kids Day
Kids have the chance to take part in Anthem Buddies, Run the Bases and postgame autographs.
**University of Houston students - FREE with your Student ID.
Saturday, February 21
Houston: RHP Jake Lemoine (Jr., Bridge City, Texas) - 0.00 ERA, 1-0, 5.0 IP, 0 BB, 6 K
Alabama: RHP Will Carter (Jr., Gray, Tenn.) - 0.00 ERA, 1-0, 7.0 IP, 3 BB, 6 K
Sunday, February 22
Houston: RHP Aaron Garza (Sr., Galveston, Texas) - 5.40 ERA, 0-0, 5.0 IP, 1 BB, 2 K
Alabama: RHP Geoffrey Bramblett (So., Hoover, Ala.) - 0.00 ERA, 1-0, 6.0 IP, 2 BB, 3 K
With 31 home games set for 2015 at Cougar Field and a Top 10 nationally-ranked preseason program representing the University of Houston, the Cougars are proud to announce that single-game tickets are now on sale at UHCougars.com/Basetickets.
Along with the online option, fans can purchase tickets by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office at TDECU Stadium Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or can call 713-GO-COOGS.
Houston Baseball will offer variable pricing on its single-game tickets and group rates.
For the first time ever, the pricing breakdown will be determined whether or not you purchase your single-game tickets online vs. at the gate the day of the game as well as whether the Cougars play on a weekday (Monday-Thursday) or weekend (Friday-Sunday).
Weekday: Monday-Thursday; Weekend: Friday-Sunday.
As noted in the table, variable pricing occurs. For weekday (Tuesday nights) online purchases, fans can take in a game, ranging from $5-$7 depending on the choice of seating. If you choose to purchase the day of the game as a Weekday Walk-Up, you will pay roughly $2 more than the online price ($7-$9).
Weekend (Friday-Sunday) online pricing will range from $6-$8 per game, while Weekend Walk-Up pricing the day of the game will run a fan anywhere from $8-$10.
Group rates are also available (as noted in the table). Weekday (Tuesday) and Weekend (Friday-Sunday) pricing occurs. Groups of 10-24 are set at $4-$5 per person, while groups of 25+ are $3-$4 per person.
With single-game tickets available now, Houston Baseball still encourages supporters to become Season Ticket members and enjoy the attractive pricing and rewards that come with up-front purchasing for the entire 2015 season.
WHY ARE SEASON TICKETS MORE ATTRACTIVE?
Season Tickets are as low as $99 for general admission seating and the program offers an Anytime Tickets package that allows fans to use the 31 tickets how they choose (1 per game, multiple per game or all in one game). The Anytime Tickets are only available in general admission seating.
For just $200, you can enjoy reserved chairback seating on the lower level of the concourse at the stadium.
A new additional "Reserved 2" seating option for the 2015 season is also available with an assigned seat in sections 200, 201 and 202 for $150.
If you breakdown the season ticket pricing of $99 General Admission, the pricing of $150 for Reserved 2 or even the pricing of $200 for Reserved 1 (chairback), you are spending less money per game than purchasing single-game tickets.
HOW TO PURCHASE
To purchase tickets in advance, fans must visit the Athletics Ticket Stadium Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or you can call 713-GO-COOGS.
JOIN THE DUGOUT CLUB
Nationally-ranked Houston Baseball would like to encourage those wishing to support the efforts and success of the baseball student-athletes to consider joining the Dugout Club for as low as $25 a month or $300 annually.
For a minimum monthly installment of $25 or a minimum one-time gift of $300, supporters can take advantage of the Pinch Hitter level, which will guarantee an invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball team apparel.
For a minimum monthly installment of $100 or a minimum one-time gift of $1,000, supporters can take advantage of the Diamond level, which will guarantee batting practice passes for two to any home game, invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball apparel.
**Cougar Pride points will be applied accordingly.
For more information on joining the Dugout Club, please contact the Houston Baseball office at (713) 743-9396.
For more information regarding Cougar Pride, please call (713) 743-GOUH.
A LOOK AT THE 2015 SCHEDULE
For the ninth consecutive season, Houston will open its slate at Cougar Field, having accumulated a winning record of 14-6, which includes three straight weekend sweeps the past three seasons under Whitting - who will begin his fifth season at the helm.
"I'm really excited about this year's schedule," Whitting said. "It is probably one of the most competitive ones we have made since our staff took over in 2010."
Houston will open the season hosting Minnesota on Feb. 13-15. The Cougars and Gophers will meet for the first time since 1987 as they have met 25 previous times.
The home slate for the Cougars will continue with their third straight weekend series at Cougar Field when it welcomes first-time opponent Columbia for a four-game series, set for Feb. 27-March 1.
"Our fans will have a great opportunity to see us play against great opponents here in our city," Whitting said.
31 home games; 36 in the city of Houston
First seven games of the season played at Cougar Field
19 of first 21 games played in the city of Houston
First five weekends played in city of Houston - four at Cougar Field
Houston will host Opening Weekend for the ninth consecutive season
Cougars are 14-6 all-time during Opening Weekend under Whitting
Cougars have swept the last three Opening Weekend series under Whitting
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.