TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- In a highly-anticipated pitcher's duel between two Top-25 programs proved to be just that as No. 20 Houston Baseball edged No. 23 Alabama, 3-1, on the road Friday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium as junior pitcher Andrew Lantrip fanned a career-tying 13 hitters in the victory.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 7-5 on the season and have now won three straight games over Big 12 and SEC opponents. Alabama fell to 10-3 on the year with the loss.
Lantrip put together one of his best performances of his career, striking out 13 to tie his career-best, which happened at USF last season on April 24, 2015. The Livingston, Texas native went 8.0 complete innings, allowing six scattered hits, one run with no walks in Friday's win to improve to 2-2 on the season.
For the season, Lantrip now has fanned 32 hitters and walked just one in 26.1 innings pitched.
The Cougars and Crimson Tide will continue their three-game weekend series at 2 p.m. Saturday and wrap at 1 p.m. Sunday. Following the weekend series, Houston will travel to Beaumont, Texas to take on Lamar at 6 p.m. Tuesday before returning home to begin a nine-game home stand, starting with Texas Southern at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park.
Behind Lantrip was a seven-hit performance by the Cougars and an errorless game by the defense.
Freshman Joe Davis continued to shine and in his 12th collegiate game, he notched his 19th and 20th RBI of the season -- an American Athletic Conference high. The Austin, Texas native belted his fourth home run of the season -- tying sophomore Clay Casey for the team lead. Three of the four have come in the last two games alone.
Davis finished 2-for-5 with a run scored, two RBI on a home run and a game-winning RBI-double in the ninth. Joining the RBI-mix for Houston was Casey -- who drove in the third run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the ninth to extend the Cougars' lead and add a late-game cushion to the score.
Casey finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Sophomore Connor Wong has reached base in all 12 games this season and is now riding a nine-game hitting streak after his leadoff single to open the game. He scored one of Houston's three runs and went 1-for-3 with two walks in the game in the leadoff position.
Senior Micahel Pyeatt came up huge in the ninth inning with a single through the right side on a full count pitch to keep the inning alive and move Wong to third after he reached on a one-out walk. Pyeatt went 1-for-5 with a run scored as he was plated by Casey on the sacrifice fly.
Houston had a chance to break the game open in the fourth, but would strand bases loaded after Pyeatt drilled his 1-3 putout off the pitcher's leg to end the inning.
With two strikes on him in the top of the fifth, Davis would put Houston up 1-0 with a solo shot to left field, breaking up the scoreless game.
It took 6.0 innings before Alabama found Lantrip's zone, but the Crimson Tide tied the game at 1-1 following a solo home run to right center in the bottom of the seventh.
Sitting at a stalemate until the top of the ninth, Lantrip and Alabama relievers battled on the bump before the Cougars broke free with a two-run ninth following hits from Pyeatt and Davis and walks from Wong and Montemayor.
Junior reliever Nick Hernandez (1.0,0,0,0,1,1) would take over for Lantrip in the ninth and after allowing a leadoff walk would rely on the sharp defense up the middle to turn a double play before ending the game with a strikeout, earning his second save as a Cougar.
Alabama reliever Matt Foster (1.1,3,2,2,1,1) suffered the loss, falling to 1-1 on the year, while starter Geoffrey Bramblett (4.1,4,1,1,4,4) existed early after allowing one run on four hits and four walks through 4.1 innings.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
On the win at Alabama
"I thought tonight's win was the epitome of what our program tries to be. We had a lot of tough-luck early and couldn't scratch across any runs -- putting pressure on them the entire game. But we had the mentality of `so what -- keep playing' and we deserved that win. We played hard tonight and I was glad to see it work out for our guys."
On Andrew Lantrip's pitching performance
"[Andrew] Lantrip was outstanding. His secondary stuff was just `okay', but he competed like crazy with his fastball. He has pitched well every time out, so I was really happy to get him a W tonight for as well as he pitched."
On the emergence of freshman Joe Davis
"That was a big hit late in the game for Joe [Davis]. Obvisouly, he had the home run earlier in the game and the big double late, but he just has an advanced approach for a hitter. He is really good within the strike zone and knowing what he can and can't do. Hopefully he can keep that going and continue to help us win games."
Junior RHP Andrew Lantrip
On the win at Alabama
"My fastball velocity felt good and the command was there. Overall, the fastball was just the main pitch tonight. I didn't have much command on my secondary stuff early on in the game, but it got crisper late in the game."
On the defense playing error-free baseball behind him
"That's the goal every game. Go out and play error-free ball. If we can go out and play error-free and make great defensive plays like we did tonight, we will win a lot of games."
On the work by freshman Joe Davis
"Joe Davis has put together a lot of quality at-bats. Luckily, he has been able to do that in key spots and he has played a big role for this team offensively. Hopefully, he can keep it up."
JOIN THE DUGOUT CLUB
Nationally-ranked Houston Baseball would like to encourage those wishing to support the efforts and success of the baseball student-athletes to consider joining the Dugout Club for as low as $25 a month or $300 annually.
For a minimum monthly installment of $25 or a minimum one-time gift of $300, supporters can take advantage of the Pinch Hitter level, which will guarantee an invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball team apparel.
For a minimum monthly installment of $100 or a minimum one-time gift of $1,000, supporters can take advantage of the Diamond level, which will guarantee batting practice passes for two to any home game, invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball apparel.
**Cougar Pride points will be applied accordingly.
For more information on joining the Dugout Club, please contact the Houston Baseball office at (713) 743-9396.
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BUY SEASON/ SINGLE-GAME / GROUP TICKETS
Houston Baseball has 23 remaining home games at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park this 2016 season and fans can purchase season tickets for as low as $99 online by visiting UHCougars.com/tickets and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.
To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Stadium Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m.
Houston Baseball will offer variable pricing on its single-game tickets and group rates.
As noted in the table above, variable pricing occurs. For weekday (Tuesday/Wednesday) games, prices range from $5-$7 depending on the choice of seating.
Weekend ((Thursday) Friday-Sunday) online pricing will range from $6-$8 per game.
Group rates are also available (as noted in the table). Weekday (Tuesday/Wednesday) and Weekend ((Thursday) Friday-Sunday) pricing occurs. Groups of 10-24 are set at $4-$5 per person, while groups of 25+ are $3-$4 per person.
All UH main campus students are admitted FREE to regular-season baseball home games with a valid student ID.
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