March 10, 2006
IRVINE, Calif. - University of Houston junior righthander Brad Lincoln struck out 12 batters over nine innings and broke a tie with a solo home run to lead off the eighth inning to help lead the Cougars to a 3-2 win over UC Irvine in the opener of a non-conference series at Anteater Ballpark.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the eighth inning, the Clute, Texas, native blasted a 1-0 offering from UC Irvine Justin Cassel over the right-field wall. Lincoln finished the night 2-for-4 with a run and RBI to lead the Cougar offense, which outhit UC Irvine 11-5.
However, Lincoln was equally impressive on the mound. He allowed only two runs off five hits with a season-high 12 strikeouts in the complete-game win. After the Cougars tied the game in the top of the seventh inning, he would go on to strike out the side in the next two innings and then held off a late Anteater rally in the ninth inning to improve to 4-1 this season and record his third straight win.
Altogether, Lincoln would strike out seven of the last 10 batters to end the game and lower his ERA to a team-best 2.18.
Cassel collected the loss and dropped to 2-3 after allowing three runs (two earned) off 11 hits with 12 strikeouts over nine innings.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 10-8 overall, while UC Irvine fell to 12-8. In addition, UH head coach Rayner Noble recorded the 400th victory of his career as Cougar skipper, joining former men's basketball head coach Guy V. Lewis as the only UH coaches in athletics department history to post that many wins.
The Cougars continue the series at 3 p.m. (CST), Saturday. Fans should note that Saturday's game time was moved up earlier this week.
That game can be heard live on www.UHCougars.com with former letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans also can follow live stats by clicking on the "Gametracker" link at www.UHCougars.com.
UH head coach Rayner Noble has not announced his Saturday starter. Senior southpaw Glenn Swanson will start for UC Irvine. This season, Swanson has compiled a 2-1 record with 14 strikeouts and a 2.88 ERA in 25.0 innings.
The Cougars grabbed the lead with the game's first run in the second inning. Flores led off with a double down the left-field line and moved up a base following Josh Stirneman's infield single. Bryan Pounds then lifted a fly ball into right field, and Flores just slid under the tag of catcher Aaron Lowenstein to hand the Cougars a 1-0 advantage.
The Anteaters claimed their first lead of the game in the third inning with a pair of runs. Cody Cipriano blasted a two-run double off the center-field wall to score Gary Dudrey and Taylor Holiday.
The score remained that way until the seventh inning when the Cougars knotted the game at 2-2. After reaching on an two-out, infield single, Isa Garcia moved up a base following a failed pickoff attempt. Matt Weston then laced an RBI-single into right center to score Garcia.
In the ninth inning, the Anteaters mounted their biggest threat of the night, putting runners on first and second with no outs. But Lincoln recorded his final strikeout of the night for the first out and took advantage of a baserunning mistake by UC Irvine that left only a runner on second with two outs. UC Irvine's Chad Lundahl then grounded out to end the game.