Feb. 21, 2014
HOUSTON - An all-around gritty effort led Houston Baseball to a 2-1 series-opening victory over Michigan on Friday night at Cougar Field helping the Cougars to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1993.
It took pitching down the stretch and the use of key base hits in the fourth inning to lift Houston over Michigan after the Wolverines took the lead in the first. Michigan fell to 1-3-1 on the year with the loss with Houston remaining perfect with its 5-0 start.
The Cougars out hit the Wolverines, 7-6, led by sophomore Kyle Survance's two-hit night. Driving in runs with an RBI-hit for Houston was junior Michael Pyeatt (1x1, RBI), while senior Jacob Lueneburg (0x2, RBI) drove in a run on a fielder's choice. Adding hits to the mix were seniors Casey Grayson (1x3, R, BB), Landon Appling (1x1, BB) and sophomores Justin Montemayor (1x3, R, BB) and Ashford Fulmer (1x3, 2B).
Another solid effort by the Houston pitching staff led to another win as junior Aaron Garza (6.1,5,1,1,1,5) improved to 2-0 on the year with his 6.1 innings as the starter. The Galveston, Texas native allowed just five hits and one walk to accompany his one run allowed and five strikeouts. He finished his outing throwing 5.2 innings of scoreless baseball and handed the ball over to junior college transfer Jared Robinson.
Robinson (1.2,1,0,0,0,2) was again lights out in his effort, allowing just one hit in 1.2 innings with two huge strikeouts to keep Michigan off the board in the seventh and eighth frames.
Senior Chase Wellbrock (1.0,0,0,0,0,1) took over in the ninth and shut Michigan down 1-2-3, fanning one to pick up his second save in just his second outing of the year.
Michigan took an early 1-0 lead in the first following two base knocks and sacrifice fly. In the latter half of the frame, the Cougars narrowly missed an opportunity to tie the game when Survance and Grayson were left stranded at third and first after reaching from a single and walk, respectively.
The Wolverines had a chance to take a 2-0 lead in the third following a one-out walk, stolen base and single, but Fulmer used a laser to Barker from centerfield that held the Wolverines from adding to their lead.
After remaining scoreless for the first three frames, the Cougars used a leadoff single up the middle by Grayson to start the fourth inning rally, which saw singles from Grayson, Montemayor, and Pyeatt, while Barker laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and Lueneburg plated Houston's second run on a fielder's choice.
Up 2-1, Garza settled in to retire six of the next seven Wolverines, which included three by a strikeout. With the Cougars holding onto the one-run lead, Michigan gave Houston a scare when its leadoff hitter in the seventh reached on an error and eventually made his way around to third.
Robinson then entered in relief of Garza and shut Michigan down with back-to-back strikeouts to end any scoring threat the Wolverines may have had in sight.
Despite not having a runner cross in the latter half of the seventh, Appling opened the frame with a single, which was followed by a one-out double down the right field line to put runners at second and third. However, Michigan escaped without a Cougar crossing home.
Robinson worked out of two jams in the eighth when a runner reached second after a single and stolen base, but the Midland College transfer picked the Wolverine off for the second out of the inning. Michigan kept things alive drawing a hit-by-pitch and then its second stolen base of the inning, but Robinson worked his way around that base runner and earned a 4-3 groundout to end the inning, preserving the Cougars' 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Wellbrock came in and earned his second save with his quick 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Michigan starter Trent Szkutnik (6.1,7,2,2,2,2) fell to 0-1 on the year with his 6.1 innings tossed.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
On the game
"We played great, a win is a win. I'm very proud of the effort today. We had a couple opportunities which we addressed, but we scrapped our way to a win. (Aaron) Garza was outstanding tonight, and J-Rob (Jared Robinson) right behind him with the pickoff at second late in the game was huge. I thought he pitched well, and (Chase) Wellbrock slammed the door on them. It was a well played clean game. We had the one error that didn't hurt us. Right now we're playing hard, and getting after it. That Michigan team is a good bunch. They play hard, they're out of the snow, and they're glad to be down here where it's warm so we're going to have our hands full tomorrow."
SINGLE GAME TICKETS
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 midweek game (Tues., March 11), the Rice midweek game (Tues., March 25) and the Louisville weekend series (April 11-13). Premium games begin as low as $7 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).
By visiting UHCougars.com, clicking the Tickets link, and then Purchase Tickets, while following the appropriate links to the Baseball page or by clicking here, fans can begin purchasing tickets for single games at Cougar Field this season.
FAMILY PLAN TICKET PACKAGE
Families can purchase the Family Plan for just $399, which includes two adult and two youth General Admission tickets to each of the remaining 30 home games.
General Admission seats include 33 "Anytime Tickets". You may use one ticket to each home game, 33 tickets to one game, or any combination in between.
General Admission season tickets start for as low as $150 (33 home games/$4.50 per ticket), while Reserved season tickets start at only $200 (33 home games/$6.00 per ticket).
To purchase, visit the Tickets tab, Purchase Tickets, while following the appropriate links to the Baseball page under Season Tickets or by clicking here.
For questions or concerns, call or visit the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275).
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.
Houston will continue its three-game series with Michigan at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. It's Bingo at the Ballpark ... Come out, play bingo, win prizes.
Any kid 8th grade and under wearing a Houston Baseball Camp t-shirt to any home game will received FREE ADMISSION!