Cougars Continue Strong Play with 4-1 Victory Over No. 4 Arkansas
March 3, 2012
Minute Maid Park / Houston, Texas
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Fr. // DH // Arlington Heights, Ill.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
2 Houston is now 2-0 in the Houston College Classic in 2012 with two straight wins over SEC schools.
1 Cory Kay belts his first career homerun for first college hit to put Houston up 1-0.
6 Starter Jordan Lewis tossed 6.0 shutout innings to earn the win over Arkansas on Saturday.
HOUSTON--The University of Houston baseball team used timely hitting and dominant pitching to earn a 4-1 victory over No. 4-ranked Arkansas on Saturday in the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
The Cougars improved to 2-0 in the Classic and 6-4 on the year with the win, while the Razorbacks fell to 10-2 with the loss. Houston continued its strong play with its third straight victory over an SEC team and second this weekend after defeating Tennessee on Friday, 7-4.
The last time Houston defeated a team ranked as high as No. 4 came in a 1-0 victory over then No. 3-Texas on March 6, 2010 at the Houston College Classic.
Freshman Cory Kay showed well at the plate, making his first career start as a Cougar at designated hitter. The Arlington Heights, Ill. native belted his first career homerun on a 3-2 count in the third inning to put Houston up 1-0 early.
Kay wrapped up the day, hitting 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI to lead the offensive attack of eight hits off the Razorback pitching staff.
"Cory was outstanding and sometimes you never know how someone is going to play until they get into the lineup," said head coach Todd Whitting on Kay's performance.
"I just tried to stay calm. I got two good swings and fouled them off and had a full count. The next swing, I was fortunate to just get ahold of it," said Kay on homerun.
Cougar starter Jordan Lewis (6.0,4,1,1,3,3) recorded his best outing of the year against Arkansas, earning the win to improve to 2-1. The Phoenix, Oregon product allowed just one run on four hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He held a hefty Arkansas' offense that entered the game hitting .326 as a team to 6.0 shutout innings, before exiting in the seventh.
"Lewis was fantastic today. He didn't give up a lot of good swings and pitched deep into counts. Once he settled in, he was rockin' and rollin'," said Whitting on Lewis. "He was a great matchup for Arkansas. They are aggressive and can swing the bat, but he did a great of pitching around the middle."
Senior Codey Morehouse (3.0,2,0,0,1,4) picked up the save after entering the game in a crucial situation with two runners on and no outs in the seventh. The Houston product escaped the jam and tossed 3.0 innings in relief and fanned four in the effort.
"I had a lot of adrenaline going as I was coming in. I knew I just had to breathe and keep it calm and under control," said Morehouse on entering the game in seventh, up 3-0. "I just went out and did what I needed to do."
Junior Chase Jensen was also consistent at the plate, notching his second straight two-hit game with a 2-for-4 effort and one RBI. Also garnering a base knock in today's win was sophomore Landon Appling (1x3, R), senior Jake Runte (1x3), junior Casey Grayson (1x3), and freshman Price Jacobs (1x4, R).
The Cougars strung together needed hits to plate two runs in the fifth to add to its 1-0 lead. Jacobs opened the frame with a leadoff double off the top of the left field wall that missed hitting the Crawford Boxes by inches. He was plated by Kay's single that followed a sacrifice bunt by freshman Kendall Stacks. Jensen went on to plate Kay after Appling and Runte both reached to extend the inning.
Arkansas plated its only run of the game in the seventh on two hits, but the Cougars responded in the latter half of the frame with one of their own when Appling scored on a Razorback error.
The Razorbacks were shut down several times on key defensive performances by several Cougars, including a diving snag by Runte at shortstop, a diving grab down the right field line by Grayson at first that saved two runs and two 1-3-6 caught stealing plays by Lewis, Grayson and Runte to stop Arkansas' attempt early.
Houston returns to play on Sunday when it takes on Texas Tech at 2:30 p.m. in the final game of the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.