March 2, 2012
|Jared Ray, W 1-0||7.0||5||1||1||0||10|
|Drew Steckrider, L 1-1||3.1||3||3||3||3||5|
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Sr. // RHP // Waco, Texas
Struck out a career-high 10 Tennessee hitters in 7.0 complete innings for his first win of the season. Did not allow a walk and gave up just one earned run on five scattered hits.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
10 Jared Ray fanned 10 Tennessee hitters for a career-high.
13 Houston posted 13 hits against Tennessee.
3 John Cannon drove in three runs on three hits, including an RBI-double off the left field wall.
HOUSTON--Senior Jared Ray struck out 10 and classmate John Cannon drove in three to propel the University of Houston baseball team to a 7-4 victory over Tennessee on Friday night at the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 5-4 on the year, while the Vols fell to 7-2. The win was the second straight win over an SEC team as Houston knocked off Kentucky in an 8-5 victory a year ago here at the College Classic.
The win sends Houston to 1-0 all-time over Tennessee as this contest was the first meeting between the two clubs.
Ray (7.0,5,1,1,0,10) was lights out in his 7.0 innings pitched, recording a career-best 10 strikeouts and no walks. The career-high in punch outs surpassed his previous high of eight, which came twice against McNeese State (April 2008) and Oklahoma (March 2008). The 10 strikeouts included two straight retired innings of striking out the side to open the game.
The 6-foot-3 right-hander finished the evening, allowing one earned run on five hits for his first victory of the year. He improved to 1-0.
"He had good enough stuff to throw the whole game, but his pitch count got a bit elevated. He was really good," said Whitting.
At the plate, Houston mustered up 13 hits, two for extra bases, led by Cannon with a 3-for-5 effort and three RBI. Cannon's three RBI tied his career-high, which came against McNeese State last season.
"Cannon was on fire today. He had great at-bats all day long. The two-strike double off the left field wall will definitely get him going," said Whitting on Cannon's performance.
Junior Casey Grayson (2x5, R) and freshman Price Jacobs (2x3, R) each added two hits and a run scored, while freshman Zack Gibson (1x4, R) and senior Jake Runte (1x2, R, RBI) contributed as well with a base knock.
The Houston offense got going in the fourth inning when the Cougars posted three runs on one hit and three walks and two hit batsmen. Despite allowing one run to Tennessee in the fifth, Houston quickly responded with one more in the latter half of the frame on an RBI-single off Cannon's bat.
Up 4-1, Houston's rally continued as it began to settle in and string together a series of hits, tallying four in the sixth for two runs. The Cougars would add one more in the seventh as Runte scored following his double off a single by Lueneburg.
"We were due. We have struggled to get two-out hits. The first three runs tonight are what I'm most proud of because we manufactured them," said Whitting.
Tennessee made a short rally in the ninth, plating three runs, but senior Mo Wiley (0.1,0,0,0,0,0) escaped a jam, inducing a final groundout.
Wiley relieved junior Matt Hernandez (1.2,5,3,3,0,1) who allowed three runs on five hits in 1.2 innings of work in relief of Ray.
Volunteer starter Drew Steckenrider (3.1,3,3,3,3,5) suffered his first loss of the year after surrendering three runs on three hits and three walks in 3.1 innings.
Houston returns to play on Saturday at Noon against No. 4 Arkansas at Minute Maid Park for the second of three games at the Houston College Classic. Tickets are available at the box office.