Feb. 24, 2002
HOUSTON, Texas - In a game that went back and forth, the University of Houston baseball team made the most of its opportunities in the final three innings to take a 12-11 win over No. 3 LSU on Sunday in the finale of a non-conference series at Cougar Field.
UH (6-4) scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to three hits and three LSU errors to win the series against the Tigers 2-1 and post a 3-1 week against nationally-ranked opponents.
UH pounded out 17 hits for its fourth straight double-digit hit performance of the week with six players posting at least two hits in the game. Crain went 4-for-6 with three runs, a double and RBI to lead the attack, while Musslewhite went 3-for-6 with an RBI. Michael Bourn, Snyder, Anthony Scalise and Lucas also tallied two hits apiece.
In addition to his hitting prowess, Crain entered the game as a reliever late and stabilized the UH pitching staff. After four previous Cougar hurlers had each given up at least two hits and one run against the Tigers, Crain allowed only one hit in 3.1 shutout innings to improve to 2-0 this season.
LSU reliever Brian Willson collected the loss to fall to 2-1 after giving up three hits and three unearned runs in 1.1 innings of work. The Tigers fall to 8-3 this season.
With the Cougars trailing 11-9 and entering the bottom of the ninth, Gabe Lucas started the rally with a perfectly-placed one-out bunt single and moved to second on Crain's looping single to left center.
Cole Bruce then laced a ground ball through the legs of LSU first baseman Jason Vargas, allowing Lucas to score from second base and pulling the Cougars to within one at 11-10. Chris Snyder then tied the score at 11-11 with a single through the left side of the infield that scored Crain from third base and allowed Bruce to move to second base.
Stuart Musslewhite rapped a sharp ground ball that LSU shortstop Rocky Scelfo bobbled to reach first, but when Bruce strayed too far away from third base after rounding the bag, Scelfo threw behind the Cougar runner to catch Bruce in a rundown between third and home.
However, LSU third baseman Wally Pontiff overthrew catcher Darren Welch in the rundown, allowing Bruce to slide in safely and sending much of the crowd of 3,733 into a frenzy.
The Cougars had jumped out to a 6-1 lead after the first two innings but saw that lead quickly vanish in the sixth inning when the Tigers pounded out eight hits on the way to scoring eight runs and an 11-7 lead.
However, those would be the final runs that the Tigers would score during the rest of the day. UH cut into the deficit with a run in the seventh on Lucas' single up the middle and pulled even closer with another run in the eighth, thanks to a Weylin Guidry wild pitch that allowed Bruce to score and set the stage for UH's ninth-inning heroics.
The Cougars continue their rigorous schedule when they play host to No. 6 Rice at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Game Two of the Silver Glove Series. The Owls took an early 1-0 lead in this season's series with a 4-0 win on Feb. 12.
The Rice game also marks the end of UH's early five-game homestand.