March 6, 2004
BATON ROUGE, La. - Brett Cooley launched two home runs and added five RBIs as the University of Houston baseball team took a 10-5 win over No. 1 LSU on Saturday in the middle game of a non-conference series at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Cooley became the first player since Hyung Cho against Texas State on April 8, 2003, to smash two home runs in one game. His first homer gave the Cougars a 4-0 lead in the third inning, while his final bomb turned a three-run lead into a much more comfortable six-run cushion.
Cooley's power surge was just part of an offensive explosion by the Cougars who pounded out 14 hits. In addition to those two taters, Cole Bruce added a three-run shot that gave the Cougars an early lead in their first at-bat. Every Cougar starter had at least one hit in the game, and the players accomplished that feat by the fifth inning.
UH reliever Brandon Roznovsky earned his first career decision in a Cougar uniform, allowing only one run off three hits with four strikeouts in 3.2 innings. LSU starter Lane Mestepey dropped to 2-1 after giving up six runs (four earned) off nine hits with four strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 5-8 and snapped the Tigers' nine-game winning streak.
The series concludes at 1 p.m., Sunday in Baton Rouge, La. That game can be heard live on KAXF 88.3 FM or over the Internet at www.UHcougars.com. Fans also can follow the action through live stats by clicking on the Gametracker at the bottom of the main page at www.UHCougars.com.
UH freshman righthander Brad Lincoln (1-0, 4.00) is slated to take the hill in the series finale and should be opposed by LSU righthander Nate Bumstead (1-0, 4.15).
The Cougars (5-8) exploded in the first inning with three runs of three hits. After back-to-back hits from Stewart and Travis Tully to lead off the frame, Bruce blasted a 1-1 offering from Mestepey over the right field wall for a 3-0 Cougar lead.
UH used the long ball in the third inning to expand its lead as Cooley blasted another 1-1 pitch from Mestepey over the right field wall.
However, the Tigers (11-2) cut that lead in half in the bottom of the third on back-to-back RBI-singles from Blake Gill and Matt Liuzza.
In the fourth inning, the Cougars regained their four-run advantage with a pair of runs, thanks to two hits and two errors. Brett Logan singled to lead off the frame and reached second base on the first LSU error. After Mestepey's pickoff attempt went wide and sailed down the right field line, Logan scored easily from second base and Stewart reached third. Cooley then smashed a line drive off the glove of LSU third baseman Ivan Naccarata to score Stewart and give the Cougars a 6-2 lead.
LSU pulled to within 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth on Jon Zeringue's RBI-single and threatened for more with runners on first and second and only one out. But Varner forced Ryan Patterson to ground into a rally-killing double play to end the frame.
In the next half inning, though, UH answered with another single run. Musslewhite laced a double to the wall in left center to lead off the frame and moved to third on an infield groundout. Bott then placed a slow roller in no-man's land between the pitching mound and home plate, allowing Musslewhite to score from third.
For the sixth straight half-inning, another run was put on the scoreboard. The Tigers pulled to within 7-4 when Nick Stavinoha's groundout allowed Blake Gill to score from third base.
In the top of the seventh, the Cougars exploded for three more runs. After a walk to Matt Farrington and Stewart reached on an infield error, Cooley smashed an 0-1 pitch from Tiger reliever Greg Smith over the wall in right center for a 10-4 UH lead.
The Tigers pulled to within 10-5 in the bottom of the eighth after Stavinoha scored on Jon Zeringue's RBI-double. But Roznovsky struck out the final two batters of the inning to kill the rally.
Gill, Matt Liuzza, Stavinoha, Zeringue and Hebert each rapped out two hits to lead the LSU offense.