Cesario Helps Lead Baseball to 7-5 Win over Northwestern State in Series Opener
March 2, 2007
HOUSTON - Sophomore DH Jimmy Cesario went 3-for-4 with a solo homer, two runs scored and a pair of RBIs to help lead the University of Houston baseball team to a 7-5 win over Northwestern State in the opener of a non-conference series at Cougar Field.
Cesario, who boosted his team-best batting average to .444, handed the Cougars a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning with a towering solo shot off the new scoreboard in right center. With his numbers, he has now safely in a career-best seven straight games and all but one of the Cougar games in 2007.
The Cougars (7-7) jumped out to a 6-2 lead after seven inning, but the Demons answered with three runs in the top of the eighth inning and continued to threaten with the tying run on third base and only one out. UH reliever Aaron Brown forced Anthony Jones to line out to right fielder Bryan Tully who fired a shot to catcher Austin Goolsby to prevent the tying run from scoring and then struck out Leonard Porche looking to end the threat.
Making his first start of the 2007 season, sophomore righthander Luis Flores was impressive, allowing only two runs off five hits with six strikeouts in five innings of work to collect the win and improve to 1-0. The Del Rio native struck out at least one batter in each of his first four innings and retired eight straight hitters midway through his stint.
Brown allowed only one hit with a strikeout in the final 1.2 shutout innings to collect his first save of 2007.
In addition to Cesario, Tully led the Cougar offense in the win, batting 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.
NSU starter Jimmy Heard collected the loss and fell to 0-2 after giving up six runs (five earned) off six hits with six strikeouts in 6.2 innings.
Demon leadoff hitter Brandon Richey went 3-for-4 with two runs, while DH Mike Jaworski batted 2-for-4 with a run and RBI to pace NSU, which outhit the Cougars 12-9. Porche also finished the night 2-for-4 in the losing effort.
With the win, the Cougars evened their season record at 7-7, while Northwestern State fell to 4-9.
The series continues with 1 p.m., games on both Saturday and Sunday at Cougar Field. Freshman southpaw Wes Musick will toe the rubber for the Cougars in the middle game of the Northwestern State series on Saturday. This season, Musick has posted a 2-2 record with nine strikeouts and a team-best 5.82 ERA in a staff-high 17.0 innings of work.
In his last start, Musick earned the win and helped lead the Cougars to a share of the championship with an impressive performance against Texas-Arlington during the final day of the Southwest Diamond Classic on Feb. 24. The Lufkin native held the Mavericks to two runs off seven hits with a career-best five strikeouts in a career-best-tying six innings.
Saturday's game will be Musick's first career appearance against the Demons.
NSU will counter with senior southpaw Fraser Robinson. This season, Robinson has posted a 1-2 record with seven strikeouts and a 5.87 ERA in 15.1 innings of work.
Cougar Baseball games can be heard live on UHCougars.com with former Cougar letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans can follow live stats by clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the front page of UHCougars.com or on the Schedule and Results page off the Baseball main page.
The Cougars scored the game's first run in the second inning when Josh Stirneman led off with an opposite-field, line drive down the left-field line. The rally continued as Bryan Pounds followed with a walk and moved all the way to third base following Tully's bloop single into shallow right field. Austin Goolsby then lifted a sacrifice fly into center field to hand the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
The Demons cut that lead in half in the third inning on Roberto Gallegos' RBI-single to right field.
However, UH added two more runs in the bottom of the frame. Felix Fanaselle led off with a single into right center and moved up a base following Cesario's single into left field. Dustin Kingsbury then plated both runners with a double down the left-field line that rolled all the way into the corner.
In the fifth inning, NSU pulled to within 4-2 on Chase Lyles' RBI-single to left center.
The Cougars answered in the bottom of the fifth when Cesario turned on a Heard offering and blasted a solo homer over the wall in right center for a 5-2 lead.
In the seventh inning, the Cougars took advantage of a hit and an error to push their lead to 6-2. Ryan Lormand reached on a one-out, infield error and then moved into scoring position following a wild pitch. After an infield groundout allowed Lormand to move to third, Cesario reached on an infield single that allowed Lormand to race in and score.
NSU pulled to within a run in the eighth inning after scoring three runs off three hits, including two for extra bases. Jaworski started the rally with an infield RBI-single that allowed Brandon Richey to score from third base. After a wild pitch, pinch hitter Jacob Rhodes then laced a two-run double down the right-field line to pull the Demons to within 6-5.
The Cougars got a much-need insurance run in the ninth inning. After slapping a double into left field, Tully gave the Cougars a 7-5 lead when Zak Presley's seeing-eye single found its way into center field.