HOUSTON - No. 3 Houston Baseball scored six unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to notch an impressive comeback en route to a 14-9 win over No. 20 Alabama on Saturday evening in front of 2,463 fans at Cougar Field.
The win was the fourth straight game Houston had to play from behind and came away with a victory to improve to 6-0 on the year. With the win, the Cougars have clinched the weekend series with the finale slated for Noon on Sunday.
A game that saw 23 runs, 23 hits and seven errors and lasting one minute shy of the 4-hour mark, Houston Baseball was able to use its late-inning heroics to overcome a four-run deficit (9-5) in the seventh, scoring six runs, countering Alabama's four in the upper half of the frame.
What proved to be an offensive-minded game opened with Houston holding a comfortable 4-0 lead through four complete inning, highlighted by three RBI from Vidales, while starter Jake Lemoine (4.0,3,4,3,2,3) dealt, retiring his 12 hitters he faced.
Alabama would find a way to get to Lemoine and used a four-run fifth on three hits and one error to tie the game and force a pitching change. Senior Jared Robinson (2.0,1,4,1,1,2) wrapped up the fifth, stranding a runner at third, keeping the score tied at 4-4.
Houston responded with a run in the fifth following a leadoff walk by Montemayor, who later scored on a two-out RBI by freshman Corey Julks - credit junior Ashford Fulmer with a critical sacrifice bunt in that inning.
The seventh inning alone saw 10 runs and six combined hits, but it was Houston's six runs that would eventually break the game open. Alabama took its first lead of the night when it plated four runs on two hits and two crucial errors by Houston to go up 9-5.
Junior reliever Bubba Maxwell (3.0,6,1,0,0,4) made his second appearance of the year and did his job out of the pen, limiting the damage by Alabama in the seventh and holding the Crimson Tide scoreless in his final two frames of work, allowing just one unearned run on six hits and four strikeouts for his second win of the season, improving to 2-0 on the year.
The Cougars never let down and quickly bounced back with the largest inning-run total of the year with six plated in the latter half of the inning. Four free passes were issued and a big two-out, two-run single by junior Ian Rice - off the bench - tied the game at 9-9. Montemayor then reached on an infield single and Fulmer delivered the go-ahead run with two outs and dwon in the count to make it 11-9.
The eighth added three more runs on two walks and two hit-by-pitches - both scoring runs to make it 14 total runs for the Cougars.
Alabama reliever Thomas Burrows (0.1,3,2,2,1,0) was credited with the loss out of the pen.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
"You prepare for these kinds of games every single day. The message to the team is always that you never stop playing. We were up by four, we didn't stop playing, we had some things go wrong for us and we ended up going ahead and we just kept playing. That's all you can do.
"I'm proud of our offense with our double-digit hits and runs, but we also had double-digit walks and hit batters. We had a lot of things good offensively tonight and we got to learn to keep pounding the zone. That's where we had trouble was doing the basic things. We were walking guys and not getting outs on bunts."
On reliever Bubba Maxwell
"He was good in spurts for us last year. The torch has been passed to him from (Chase) Welbrock and (Tyler) Ford in the back of that bullpen. He has done a good job for us thus far."
On series win over #20 Alabama
"You are trying to build your resume for the entire season so there is a good resume boost for us. We are barely into this thing. It's a good feeling to win a series, anytime you can win a series against anybody it's an accomplishment."
"You would be surprised that I don't tell them anything, all we do is keep operating the way we operate."
JUNIOR Ashford Fulmer
"It takes a lot of mental discipline, one swing is not going to change the game, so we just like to take it pitch by pitch and stack them up on top each other and that is what we did."
On energy in the dugout throughout game
"It was kind of like a panic-focusedness. We knew we were down but we realized that we had work to do and stayed locked in for the rest of the game."
"It feels good to get the win but this one isn't on the staff, it's on the offense, you can't say enough about those guys. I wouldn't want to go into battle with any other group in the country. Our group of hitters ... I'm glad they're on my side."
On his pitching effort tonight
"It's important that your approach never changes. Things are going to go south, especially in this game. You are going to have ups and downs and things not go your way on both sides of the ball on offense and defense. It's important that as a staff we keep our same mentality and approach which is that we come out of the bullpen and put the ball in the zone. My fastball, slider, changeup were all working tonight."
On getting the call from the bullpen
"It's good to get the ball and it is good to get an opportunity to help your team out. I just try to contribute any way I can."
Houston and Alabama will wrap up its three-game weekend series on Sunday at Noon.
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.
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.