Feb. 22, 2014
HOUSTON - With a pitchers' duel on hand through nine complete innings between Houston Baseball and Michigan at Cougar Field Saturday evening, the Cougars would use a walkoff bunt to plate the game's lone run in the 10th inning for a 1-0 victory to clinch the weekend series and move to 6-0 on the season.
The 6-0 start for Houston continues to be the best start since the 1993 season when the Cougars opened at 10-0. With the loss tonight, Michigan fell to 1-4-1 on the year and 0-2 in the weekend series and 1-10 all-time vs. the Cougars.
It took until the 10th inning for either team to score, but it was Houston's effort on the base paths that led to a late-game score. Sophomore Ashford Fulmer drew his third walk of the game in the 10th inning and later went first to third on sophomore Josh Vidales' third hit of the game, a single up the middle. With runners at the corners and just one out, sophomore Kyle Survance laid down a perfectly-executed bunt to score Fulmer for the walkoff win.
Despite only tallying six hits on the night, led by Vidales' three in his 3-for-5 effort, Houston used sound defense and another impressive pitching effort to shutout an opponent for the fourth time this season.
Continuing to keep Michigan off the scoreboard and notching now 18 straight scoreless innings vs. the Wolverines, Houston's pitching staff began tonight by sophomore starter Jake Lemoine (7.2,4,0,0,1,8) who tallied a career-tying eight strikeouts in 7.2 innings pitched, allowing no runs on just four scattered hits, which didn't begin until the fifth inning, and one walk. The Bridge City, Texas native left in the eighth with a no-decision.
Senior Aaron Stewart (1.1,0,0,0,0,2) was lights out in his 1.1 innings out of the pen as the lefty saw action for the first time since 2012 after redshirting last season due to injury. Stewart helped Lemoine out of a critical jam with a huge two-out strikeout to strand a Michigan runner at third base in the eighth. He entered the ninth and went 1-2-3.
Relieving Stewart was junior transfer Jared Robinson (1.0,1,0,0,0,2) who tossed a scoreless 10th inning with two strikeouts - earning his first career victory as a Cougar to improve to 1-0. Robinson has now fanned eight in 4.2 total innings this season without allowing a run in three appearances.
Joining Vidales in the hit column was senior Casey Grayson (1x4) who has now hit safely in all six games. Sophomore Justin Montemayor (1x4) and senior Caleb Barker (1x4) added base knocks in the effort.
Houston stranded seven runners on base, including a chance to score on a ball that nearly landed fair off the bat of Montemayor in the ninth - but it was key strikeouts and a caught stealing late that helped Houston keep Michigan off the board.
Both teams had a few opportunities to score throughout the game as the Cougars left two runners on base in both the second, sixth and ninth innings.
Michigan starter Evan Hill (7.0,3,0,0,1,7) pitched 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just three hits and one walk to accompany his seven strikeouts. He was relieved by James Bourque (2.1,3,1,1,2,2) who suffered the loss after surrendering one run on three hits, two walks with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
Thoughts on the game
"Well I told the team after the game I was going to give them the same speech either way. The reason we have a chance to be pretty good this year is because we play hard. One challenge I handed to them last night was sometimes when things get tough we tend to relax. Tonight we got kicked in the seat of our pants as many times as you could, and we kept dusting ourselves off, and kept fighting. Michigan is a really good team. You're not going to find many teams that match the energy level we try to bring, and they've matched us toe to toe. (Jake) Lemoine - I'm really proud of him, another outstanding pitching effort. (Aaron Stewart) Stewie came in, hasn't pitched in a while, but he was outstanding. (Jared Robinson) J-Rob came in and did his deal. We'll have to come ready to play tomorrow, but I'm proud of the effort tonight."
On Kyle Survance bouncing back at the end
"We have a saying in our program which is, 'So what?' and the past never equals the future. The only thing you can control is the next pitch. In this game you have to be able to flush pitches, at bats, and games. He had about as bad of a night as you could possibly have at home plate, but when you come up in that situation it doesn't matter."
On his outing tonight
"I wasn't trying to do too much tonight. I wanted to just pound the zone, and let the hitters get themselves out. The defense was absolutely phenomenal tonight. They had my back throughout the entire game."
On the pitching staff's performance so far this season
"It's a great confidence booster for us to keep going out and not letting anyone score. It's crazy to think we've only given up three runs the amount of games we've played."
On your performance at the plate tonight
"Well last night I struggled at the plate a little bit. Tonight I came out, slowed my feet up so that my hands could work. I wanted to jump on fastballs, and work the count tonight. I tried too simply everything up just like coach (Todd) Whitting said, and it worked out tonight."
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 wrap up the three-game set with Michigan on Sunday. Reminder: It's Kids Day at the Ballpark - Inflatables and KidZone, Anthem Buddies, Post-Game Run the Bases and Autographs.
NOTE: First pitch is set for 11:30 a.m.
Any kid 8th grade and under wearing a Houston Baseball Camp t-shirt to any home game will received FREE ADMISSION!