Feb. 28, 2014
HOUSTON - An eight-run seventh inning accompanied by hustle plays and a dominating pitching performance by junior Aaron Garza lifted Houston Baseball to a convincing 9-0 shutout win over No. 26 Texas Tech on Friday in Game 1 of the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
The win improved the Cougars record to a perfect 8-0 on the year, continuing to be the best start since a 10-0 start back in 1993. The shutout was the fifth of the year, the most since 2002 when the Cougars notched eight.
Garza (8.2,6,0,0,0,7) was outstanding in today's win, improving to 3-0 on the year and nearly tossing a complete game shutout when he finished with 8.2 shutout innings, allowing just six scattered and no walks. His seven strikeouts is a career-high, surpassing his previous of six, which happened six different times in his career - last vs. Nicholls State on Opening Night.
Offensively, Houston pounded out 10 hits, including four extra base hits that led to a combined total of eight RBI on the day. Leading the way offensively was senior Jacob Lueneburg with three base hits and three RBI to finish 3-for-4 with two doubles, one run scored and three RBI.
The Cougars scored eight runs in the seventh inning on four hits. The last time Houston scored at least eight runs in a single inning came in the first inning at McNeese State back on May 7, 2013.
That offensively-sound seventh inning began on a one-out walk by sophomore Josh Vidales, followed by a bunt single by sophomore Kyle Survance and was followed by an RBI-single off the bat of senior Frankie Ratcliff for his second hit of the day. Senior Casey Grayson continued the inning with a walk and was put out on a fielder's choice groundout off the bat of sophomore Justin Montemayor, which plated two for the Cougars. Up 4-0, Lueneburg blew open the game with a bases-clearing double into right field to extend the lead by seven runs.
Hitting in the nine hole, sophomore Ashford Fulmer found the Crawford Boxes for the first homerun of the College Classic and the second of his short career. The homerun lifted Houston to a nine-run lead, which stood.
The Cougars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Ratcliff reached on a two-out infield single. Grayson followed with a two-out double down the left field line, scoring Ratcliff after he battled to a 2-2 count.
Four Cougars finished with a multi-hit day. Behind Lueneburg's three base knocks were Grayson (2x4, RBI, BB) and Ratcliff (2x5, 2 R, RBI) with two each, joining Survance (2x5, R) with multiple. Fulmer finished the day with a 1-for-4 effort, driving in two and scoring a run on the homerun, while three Cougars in Montemayor and seniors Caleb Barker and Landon Appling all scored runs without registering a hit, drawing either walks or hit-by-pitches.
The Houston defense behind Garza held Texas Tech to just six hits, while not allowing the Red Raiders a runner in scoring position until a stranded runner at third in the ninth.
Senior reliever Tyler Ford (0.1,0,0,0,0,0) worked the final hitter into a flyout to right field, stranding runners at first and third to combine with Garza for the nine-inning shutout.
Texas Tech starter Dominic Moreno (5.0,5,1,1,0,3) allowed just one run on five hits, but would suffer the loss to fall to 0-2.
"Great win today for the ballclub. Obviously Aaron Garza goes out, and was outstanding on the mound. He's been extremely consistent this year pounding the zone with all of his pitches, and he's extremely competitive. You have to tip your hat to him against a good hitting team."
"Offensively, I thought early in the game we were having good at-bats. I felt like we would cash in on them at some point. We had the bases loaded early, and (Ashford) Fulmer lines out, and we don't come away with anything. Our team is resilient, and they play really hard. Today was won on hustle. We hit the ball, and Frankie (Ratcliff) scores from first, and then Monty (Justin Montemayor) beats out the double play which scores two runs on that play. Hustle plays win games."
On his performance today
"I wanted to command the zone today. I had the two seam fastball, and the slider working for me today. I mostly wanted to just live down in the zone. It was working pretty well by keeping them off balanced. Luckily, that combination worked out today. Our confidence is really high right now. We take each game one pitch at a time no matter what the score is. That's the type of mindset we have."
On the win today
"Great team win today. Aaron Garza, hats off to him, he was outstanding on the mound. Our offense came around today, finally showing some signs of what we're capable of. Coach (Mike) Taylor has us on the right path of seeing the ball well. We have more of this to come."
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
Saturday, March 1
Houston: RHP Jake Lemoine (So., Bridge City, Texas) - 0.00 ERA, 1-0, 14.2 IP, 2 BB, 12 K
Texas: RHP Parker French (Jr., Dripping Springs, Texas) - 0.82 ERA, 1-1, 11.0 IP, 4 BB, 12 K
HOUSTON vs. TEXAS ALL-TIME
- Two teams will meet for the 125th time in program history for the fifth-most played series in Houston Baseball record.
- Texas owns the all-time series at 91-31-2.
- The two teams split the 2013 series, each earning wins at their home field.
- Houston and Texas last met in the Houston College Classic back on March 3, 2010 with the Cougars owning a 1-0 win over the Longhorns.
SATURDAY, MARCH 1
Sam Houston State vs. Texas Tech | 12:05 p.m.
Houston vs. Texas | 3:35 p.m.
TCU vs. Rice | 7:05 p.m.
SUNDAY, MARCH 2
Texas vs. Sam Houston State | 10:05 a.m.
Rice vs. Texas Tech | 1:35 p.m.
TCU vs. Houston | 5:05 p.m.
Fans wishing to purchase tickets to the Houston College Classic should visit www.astros.com/collegeclassic. All parking/ticket/schedule information is available at that link. Single-day and tournament passes are both available as well as discounted student and youth tickets.
All ticket sales go through the Houston Astros Box Office, not through the Houston Athletics Ticket Office.
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 play in the Houston College Classic on Saturday when it faces No. 15/24 Texas at 3:35 p.m. Saturday at Minute Maid Park.