March 14, 2006
HOUSTON - The University of Houston baseball team broke open a close game with three runs in the eighth inning and held off a late rally on the way to a 5-3 win over No. 18 Baylor on Tuesday in a non-conference game at Cougar Field.
With the score tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Cougars took the lead for good with a run off two hits. After leading off with a single up the middle, Flores moved all the way to third base following Josh Stirneman's base hit up the middle on a perfectly executed hit and run. Following a strikeout, Stirneman took off for second base on a steal attempt.
When Baylor catcher Matt Sodolak threw the ball to second base, Flores raced home and slid in just under the tag to hand the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
One inning later, the Cougars (12-9) broke the game open with three runs, courtesy of a two-out, two-run single from Stirneman and an RBI-single from Bryan Pounds.
But the Bears would not go quietly into the night. Beamer Weems and Zach Dillon rapped out consecutive, two-out singles to pull Baylor to within 5-3 with runners on the corners. However, UH reliever Ricky Hargrove, who earned the win in the Cougars' 7-3 win at UC Irvine on Saturday, struck out the only batter he faced to end the threat and pick up his first save of the season.
UH reliever Clayton Boone picked up his first collegiate win and improved to 1-1 after holding Baylor to only one hit with a strikeout in two shutout innings. Although he did not pick up a decision, UH starter Matt Farrington also was impressive in his first midweek start of the year, limiting Baylor to only one run off seven h its with three strikeouts in six innings.
Cougar outfielder Jake Stewart went 3-for-4 with a run, double and RBI, while Stirneman went 3-for-4 with the two insurance RBIs in the eighth inning.
Baylor reliever Tim Matthews collected the loss and fell to 1-2 after giving up a run off three hits with a strikeout in 0.2 innings.
Weems finished the night 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Sodolak batted 3-for-4 with a run and RBI for the Bears, who outhit the Cougars 11-9. Dillon also batted 2-for-4 with a run and RBI in the losing effort.
The Cougars return to action this weekend as they play host to San Diego in their final non-conference series of the season at Cougar Field. That series begins with 7 p.m. games on Friday and Saturday night before wrapping up at 1 p.m., Sunday.
All three games 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.
Saturday's game against the Toreros will be Little League Day with all kids 12-and-under who wear their Little League jerseys to the game receiving free admission.
The Bears (12-5) struck for the game's first run in the sixth inning when Sodolak's RBI-single through the left side plated Dillon from second base.
However, the Cougars rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Bryan Tully reached second base after a Cougar pop-up in shallow center field was misplayed and moved into scoring position following Jeremy Aranda's sacrifice bunt. Stewart then laced an RBI-single into right field to score Tully and tie the game at 1-1.