March 2, 2002
FULLERTON, Calif. - In a tournament featuring some of the nation's top collegiate baseball programs, the University of Houston has emerged as the best of the best.
The Cougars (8-4) reeled off their second straight win of the tournament with a 9-4 win over No. 17 USC on Saturday during the second day of the Kia Baseball Bash in Fullerton, Calif., at Goodwin Field. UH enters the final day of competition Sunday as the only team without a loss in the tournament.
UH starter Keith Whatley provided 5.2 solid innings on the way to his third win of the season and the Cougar offense pounded out 14 hits, their fifth double-digit hit performance in their last six games. In addition, the Cougars displayed an aggressive streak on the basepaths with seven stolen bases in eight attempts.
The Cougars wrap up their stay when they face No. 8 Miami at 3 p.m. (Central) Sunday in the first game of the day. Fans can listen to the game on KGBC AM 1540 and can also access in-game stats over the Internet at http://www.titansports.org/baseball/2002/kiabash.html.
UH set the tone for the game early with five runs in the third inning. Hyung Cho highlighted the inning with a three-run home run - his first of the season and only the third for the entire team this year - while Jesse Crain and Daron Bertillion added RBI singles.
In the fourth inning, the Cougars used a Trojan throwing error in the infield and Michael Bourn's bases-loaded walk for another run and enjoyed an 8-0 lead in the sixth inning when Bourn scored on a balk by USC reliever Josh Rummonds.
USC pulled to within 8-4 in the sixth inning with four runs, thanks to Brian Barre's two-RBI single and a key UH error in the outfield but would get no closer the rest of the way.
Although the Trojans had their chances to pull closer late, four Cougar relievers - Matt Hooper, Danny Zell, Ryan Wagner and Jesse Crain - combined to hold USC to only one hit.
Five Cougars posted at least two hits in the game with Anthony Scalise and Daron Bertillion adding three-hit performances. Crain, Cho and Bourn added two hits apiece with junior catcher Chris Snyder adding a team-best three stolen bases.
USC starter J.P. Howell dropped to 2-2 after giving up eight hits and five runs in only 3.0 innings.
The game also displayed emotions running high with the ejection of USC head coach Mike Gillespie and assistant coach Rob Klein in the fourth inning.