HOUSTON -- Houston Baseball rode the arms of freshmen Jake Lemoine and Grant Slaughter, as the two combined for a 9.0-inning, one-run gem, helping the Cougars to a 3-1 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a series win at Cougar Field.
1 Freshman Grant Slaughter picked up his first save of his collegiate career, tossing 3.0 shutout innings.
2Junior Caleb Barker has now belted two homeruns this season after his solo shot in the sixth inning. Both homeruns came in the weekend series vs. Texas A&M-CC.
3Houston has now won its third straight weekend series (Texas A&M-CC, Texas State and Northeastern).
10Caleb Barker is riding a 10-game hit streak after his two-hit effort in today's win.
The Cougars improved to 12-4 and 7-2 at home with the win, while the Islanders fell to 9-7.
Houston starter Jake Lemoine (6.0,7,1,1,1,1) tossed a career-long 6.0 inning gem, allowing just one run on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout. The Bridge City, Texas native, improved to 4-0 this year and 1-0 as a Cougar starter.
Fellow freshman Grant Slaughter (3.0,2,0,0,1,0) fired a 3.0-inning, scoreless outing to earn his first save of his collegiate career.
The Houston offense tallied six hits in the win, two of them coming off the bat of junior Caleb Barker. The Keller, Texas catcher extended his current hit streak to 10 games and recorded a multi-hit game in the last five contests. He finished the day 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI - one coming on his second homerun of the year - a solo shot in the sixth inning.
Texas A&M-CC threatened in the first and second innings, stranding three, two of which were left on third. The Islanders were able to break open a 0-0 tie in the third with one run after a one-out single, stolen base and a RBI-single. The Cougars didn't allow the one run to phase them as they posted a two-spot in the latter half of the frame after tallying four straight singles - including RBIs from Kirk and Barker.
Both teams matched each other defensively for the middle innings until Barker opened the sixth with a 2-0 solo shot to left field to put Houston up 3-1.
Lemoine and Slaughter both worked out of several jams, including an Islanders' threat in the fourth, stranding two and in the eighth stranding two. The Houston defense played stellar up the middle as the junior Frankie Ratcliff and Vidales worked their magic, turning two double-plays to escape any Texas A&M-CC threat, while freshman Justin Montemayor ended the game on a spectacular grab outside the gated fence at first base.
Islander starter Adam Hoelscher (7.0,6,3,3,1,2) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on six hits in 7.0 innings of work to fall to 1-1 on the year.
POST-GAME QUOTES HOUSTON HEAD COACH Todd Whitting Thoughts on the game "Texas A&M-Corpus Christi played really well this weekend. It got away from them a little on Friday night, but they played outstanding for two days. They were making plays all over the field, and they didn't give us a chance to get cheap runs. Coach (Scott) Malone and his crew played really well. The story today was two freshmen pitchers going out, and throwing strikes while having great mound presence. In nine innings, they only walked two batters. With two freshmen pitchers--that's big time. (Caleb) Barker's homerun late, extending the lead was big. Today we played great defense, turning two double plays. We had the big one in the first inning, and then a huge one in the ninth inning. Then (Justin Montemayor) Monty makes the play on the fence to end the game. I'm really proud of effort we gave throughout the series."
On Freshman Jake Lemoine "He is a great player who was drafted out of high school. He has a very bright future ahead of him, and he's going to be one of the great ones at the University of Houston. He has to stay with coach (Frank) Anderson. He made a few adjustments with him, that's working out really well. Thing I love about him is that there isn't a situation that is too big for him. He has great presence, and (Grant) Slaughter is the same way. Those guys don't get rattled at all in a close game."
On the series win "Two out of three, we win the series. Of course I would like to sweep the series, but those are two quality wins. Those guys are going to win a lot of games down the road."
FRESHMAN PITCHER Jake Lemoine On your first career start "I came out trying to pound the strike zone. Just letting the batters get themselves out. My defense had my back all day; they made every play that was given to them."
On leading the team with four wins "It's really something special, I didn't think that would happen coming into this season. Honestly I wasn't sure if I would even play coming into this season. I haven't felt any pressure since the first game. Coach Anderson and I have been working on certain things, and ultimately it got rid of my jitters."
FRESHMAN PITCHER Grant Slaughter On closing the game today "We had a small lead, and I knew that I had to come in and throw strikes. I had some big defensive plays behind me. It's easy to come out and throw strikes when you have a defense like that. I was able to come out, and get the save."
JUNIOR CATCHER Caleb Barker On the series win "It was a big series win for us. Huge win on Friday night, then we ran into a little bit of bad luck yesterday. To be able to come out on Sunday, and get a close win like this is really good for our ball club."
On your homerun in the 6th inning "I was able to get in an advantage count, and I was just looking for a pitch to drive. I got a pitch up in the zone, and put a good swing on it, and it sneaked out of here. Lately my approach has been, not trying to do too much at the plate. Be able to keep it simple, and swing at good pitches."
STAY CONNECTED Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.
UP NEXT Houston will make its first of just two midweek away games in the month of March when it travels to Waco to take on Baylor at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12.