HOUSTON - An all-around balanced effort by No. 21 Houston Baseball propelled the Cougars to a 5-0 Sunday win and a weekend sweep of Buffalo at Cougar Field, lifting their season record to 13-7 on the year.
With the win, the Cougars have now won five straight games and are 11-4 at home this season, while Buffalo fell to 3-10.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
3 - Sunday's game marked the third game this year where Houston has had at least two homeruns in the game (Iriart, Montemayor).
3 - Houston recorded its third shutout of the year in the 5-0 victory.
9 - Three Houston pitchers (Cobb, Dowdy, Garza) all combined to throw 9.0 scoreless innings.
23 - Josh Vidales has reached base in 23 straight games, dating back to 2014.
Making his first start of his Cougar career, senior Taylor Cobb (6.0,5,0,0,0,3) went a career-long 6.0 complete innings of no-run ball, allowing just five hits with a career-best three strikeouts for his first win of the year.
Junior Kyle Dowdy (2.0,4,0,0,0,3) took over for Cobb in the seventh and with two runners on, retired the next three to keep Buffalo off the board and continued to roll as he went 2.0-scoreless innings, allowing just four hits with three strikeouts. Senior Aaron Garza (1.0,0,0,0,0,0) worked out of the pen to retire the final three outs of the game and combined with Cobb and Dowdy to toss Houston's third shutout of the year.
Offensively, the Cougars scored a run in five different innings and were led by the extra-base hit as three of Houston's hits were for extra bases, led by homeruns off the bats of juniors Chris Iriart and Justin Montemayor.
Iriart led the offense with two RBI on a homerun and an RBI-fielder's choice, while Montemayor (1x5, R, RBI) also homered - for his first long ball of the year. Adding hits were freshman Zac Taylor (1x3, R, RBI, BB, 2 SB) - who also scored once again for a team-leading 22 run scored this year.
Joining those three with hits were junior Ian Rice (1x3, R) who doubled and junior Kyle Survance (1x1), who off the bench singled. Junior Josh Vidales reached safely on a walk in the eighth and also scored a run to keep his on-base streak alive - now at 23 straight games, dating back to 2014.
Iriart put Houston on board in the first inning with his team-leading fourth homerun of the year. Vidales reached on a two-out Buffalo error and later scored following the Bulls' second miscue of the inning on a ball hit by Montemayor to make it 2-0 Houston through three innings.
Houston would extend its lead in the fourth with a run following a leadoff double by Rice and a sacrifice fly by Taylor. The Cougars would belt their second homerun of the game when Montemayor drove a 1-1 pitch deep over the right center wall to open the fifth, making it 4-0 Houston.
Cobb ran into a bit of a jam as Buffalo strung together back-to-back hits in the fifth and with one out took second and third on a wild pitch. The righty fanned the next hitter and induced an inning-ending groundout to keep the Bulls off the board.
Dowdy took over in the seventh for Cobb and him and Garza combined to throw three shutout innings to close the win out.
Buffalo out hit Houston, 9-6, but the Houston pitching staff managed to keep the Bulls off the board, stranding nine in the game.
Buffalo starter Mike McGee (3.2,4,3,2,4,1) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks to fall to 1-1 on the year.
HEAD COACH Todd Whitting
On how important the sweep was for the team's morale
"We won five in a row and offensively we're getting better. The energy and competiveness of our pitching staff is outstanding right now. I'm really pleased with the effort today. I thought our pitchers were really good out there. They went hard, pounded the strike zone and had good secondary stuff. We scored enough runs to win and hit a few homers."
On his thoughts on the team's performance
"Anytime we sweep anybody it's a great weekend. It's hard to sweep. I'm really proud for them coming out and finishing this thing off today."
On how winning five games in a row affects the team's confidence
"I think it's good. Winning five in a row is better than losing five in a row. We have a tough week ahead with Rice and at New Mexico, who is a very good team. I'm anxious to see how they come out on Tuesday and respond."
On what he takes from this series
"I thought we played very good inning-by-inning. We won a bunch of innings this weekend. It's been kind of our theme this weekend, is just try to win as many innings as we can."
HOUSTON FIRST BASEMAN Chris Iriart
On his thought process during his first at-bat
"I went up there looking for a good pitch to hit. I was looking for anything up and then he hung me a changeup so I just jumped on it."
On how feels playing Rice on Tuesday
"I feel good. I think we have gained a lot of our confidence back on both the pitching and hitting sides. We'll see what we have and go out there and compete."
On if the team's morale is up
"I think so. I think we're ready to go. Winning is contagious. So is hitting, and as a team we've been hitting good. Hopefully we keep that going."
On if there is a difference between the game lost and games won
"I think we're playing better as a team overall. The previous four games we had a couple guys who did good here and there. We would not get those clutch hits. Now we're all in as a team playing as a team."
Houston will remain home to host Rice on Tuesday, March 17 at Cougar Field. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. Following Tuesday's midweek game, the Cougars will hit the road for its first weekend series outside the city of Houston and the state of Texas when it takes on New
ST. PATTY'S DAY
First 150 fans = Limited Edition Green UH hat
Tuesday, March 17 - 6:30 p.m.
The first 150 fans through the gates will receive a limited edition Green UH hat in honor of St. Patty's Day on Tuesday. Cougar Field concessions will also be serving Green Beer all night.
With 31 home games set for 2015 at Cougar Field and a nationally-ranked program representing the University of Houston, the Cougars are proud to announce that single-game tickets are now on sale at UHCougars.com/Basetickets.
Along with the online option, fans can purchase tickets by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office at TDECU Stadium Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or can call 713-GO-COOGS.
Houston Baseball will offer variable pricing on its single-game tickets and group rates.
For the first time ever, the pricing breakdown will be determined whether or not you purchase your single-game tickets online vs. at the gate the day of the game as well as whether the Cougars play on a weekday (Monday-Thursday) or weekend (Friday-Sunday).
Weekday: Monday-Thursday; Weekend: Friday-Sunday.
As noted in the table, variable pricing occurs. For weekday (Tuesday nights) online purchases, fans can take in a game, ranging from $5-$7 depending on the choice of seating. If you choose to purchase the day of the game as a Weekday Walk-Up, you will pay roughly $2 more than the online price ($7-$9).
Weekend (Friday-Sunday) online pricing will range from $6-$8 per game, while Weekend Walk-Up pricing the day of the game will run a fan anywhere from $8-$10.
Group rates are also available (as noted in the table). Weekday (Tuesday) and Weekend (Friday-Sunday) pricing occurs. Groups of 10-24 are set at $4-$5 per person, while groups of 25+ are $3-$4 per person.
With single-game tickets available now, Houston Baseball still encourages supporters to become Season Ticket members and enjoy the attractive pricing and rewards that come with up-front purchasing for the entire 2015 season.
WHY ARE SEASON TICKETS MORE ATTRACTIVE?
Season Tickets are as low as $99 for general admission seating and the program offers an Anytime Tickets package that allows fans to use the 31 tickets how they choose (1 per game, multiple per game or all in one game). The Anytime Tickets are only available in general admission seating.
For just $200, you can enjoy reserved chairback seating on the lower level of the concourse at the stadium.
A new additional "Reserved 2" seating option for the 2015 season is also available with an assigned seat in sections 200, 201 and 202 for $150.
If you breakdown the season ticket pricing of $99 General Admission, the pricing of $150 for Reserved 2 or even the pricing of $200 for Reserved 1 (chairback), you are spending less money per game than purchasing single-game tickets.
HOW TO PURCHASE
To purchase tickets in advance, fans must 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. or you can call 713-GO-COOGS.
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.
For more information regarding Cougar Pride, please call (713) 743-GOUH.
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.