March 15, 2002
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The eighth-ranked University of Houston baseball team opened its Conference USA season Friday night with a 3-2 win over the host Blazers at Young Memorial Field.
With the win, the Cougars extended their winning streak to nine games and improved to 1-0 in C-USA play.
Sophomore righthander Brad Sullivan collected his fourth straight win to open the season after tossing 6.2 innings of three-hit ball with seven strikeouts and two unearned runs. UAB starter Joe Yarbrough dropped to 0-2 after allowing nine hits and three runs in 6.2 innings.
UH reliever Jesse Crain earned his fourth save of the year and extended his consecutive inning scoreless streak to 12.0 innings with one inning of one-hit relief.
Hyung Cho extended his hitting streak to a UH season best 11 games and capped the Cougar scoring in the seventh inning with an RBI single. Crain, Anthony Scalise and Sam Mitchell also added two hits each for the Cougars, which rapped out 11 in the game.
The series continues at 2 p.m. Saturday and wraps up at 1 p.m. Sunday. Fans can hear the games on KGBC Radio 1540 AM or through the Internet at www.kgbcradio.cc.
The Blazers struck for the game's first run with an unearned run on Quincy Williams' RBI single to left field.
The Cougars rallied to knot the game at 1-1 in the third inning. Cho blasted his second hit of the evening with a triple to deep center and scored on Chris Snyder's single through the right side.
In the seventh inning, UH took the lead with a pair of runs, thanks to four straight hits off Yarbrough. Gabe Lucas started the rally with a pinch-hit double down the left field line and scored on Crain's RBI-single up the middle. Two batters later, Cho plated Crain with another UH single up the middle.
But the Blazers cut into that lead with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, thanks to some Cougar help. After a Quincy Williams single, a UH error in the outfield and balk by Sullivan, Justin Miller pulled the Blazers to within 3-2 on an infield groundout.
UAB continued to threaten with two runners in the seventh, but Cougar reliever Nathan Mitchell forced a fly-out to end the threat. That would be the last time that a UAB runner would reach second base.
Senior southpaw Keith Whatley looks for his team-leading fifth win of the season when he takes the hill Saturday. This season, the Atlanta, Texas, native has posted a 4-1 record to go with 18 strikeouts and a 4.62 ERA in 25.1 innings.
In his last outing, Whatley struck out a career-best seven batters while scattering three hits and three runs in 6.0 innings at No. 27 Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend.