March 13, 2004
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - San Diego took advantage of five hits and a key error to score five runs in the fifth inning on the way to an 11-6 win over the University of Houston baseball team Saturday during the third day of the Aztec Invitational at PETCO Park.
After the Cougars scored two runs for a 5-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning, the Toreros (8-12) answered in the bottom of the frame. Josh Hansen pulled USD to within a run with a looping RBI-single that scored Joey Prast. After Joseph Wickman's sacrifice fly to center field scored Freddy Sandoval and tied the game, Randy Curtis slapped a double down the right field line to score Abruzzo and give USD a 6-5 lead.
Two batters later, Tom Caple followed with a bases-loaded walk, and Prast's infield single scored Curtis to cap the rally. The Cougars pulled to within two runs in the next half inning, but USD scored three runs over their final three at-bats to seal the win.
USD starter Aaron Wilson picked up the win and improved to 4-1 despite giving up five runs off six hits with four strikeouts and three walks in five innings of work. USD reliever Nate Boman pitched three shutout and hitless innings with seven strikeouts to record his second save.
UH starter Matt Varner dropped to 2-2 after allowing seven runs (only four earned) off seven hits with four strikeouts in four innings.
Brett Cooley went 1-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and a home run to lead the Cougars offensively. The Round Rock, Texas, native extended his hitting streak to a season-best seven straight games.
Hansen batted 3-for-5 with three runs, a home run and three RBIs to lead USD. Prast, Jordan Abruzzo and Curtis added two hits apiece with Curtis tying for game-high honors with three RBIs.
The Cougars (5-11) wrap up their stay at the tournament at 11 a.m. (CST) Sunday when they meet UCLA. The game can be heard live on KAXF 88.3 FM or over the Internet at www.UHcougars.com with C.B. Devoy and Pat Cauley calling the action. 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.
The Toreros grabbed the early lead with a run in their first at-bat. After drawing a one-out walk, Prast raced all the way from first base when Abruzzo smashed a single into right center field.
UH grabbed its first lead and scored its first runs of the tournament in the third inning when Cooley blasted a 1-1 offering from Wilson over the wall in left center field for a 2-1 UH lead.
In the fourth inning, UH doubled its lead with another single run. Papavasiliou led off the frame with a looping single down the left field line and moved into scoring position on a groundout. After a single to Johnson and walk to Matt Farrington loaded the bases, Travis Tully drew a two-out walk to score Papavasiliou and give the Cougars a 3-1 lead.
USD knotted the game again in the bottom of the frame when Curtis' double off the right field wall scored Abruzzo and Hansen.
The Cougars regained the lead in the fifth inning with two more runs on a pair of hits. After being hit by a pitch, Cooley scored on Papavasiliou's double into right center. Two batters later, Johnson slapped a single into right field and Papavasiliou was originally called out on the thrown home. But the umpires huddled and ruled that Abruzzo blocked the plate without the ball, allowing Papavasiliou's run to stand.
After the Toreros' fifth-inning explosion, the Cougars pulled to within a pair of runs when Tully drew a one-out walk and came all the way around to score on three wild pitches from USD reliever Brian Jones.
However, that would be as close as the Cougars would get the rest of the way. In the bottom of the sixth, Abruzzo led off with a single, moved to second on a balk, to third on a deep fly ball to score and scored on a Cougar wild pitch for a 9-6 USD lead.
Hansen blasted a two-run homer in the eighth inning for the Toreros for the final margin of victory.