Cougars Sweep Towson in Walk-Off Fashion
March 16, 2014
HOUSTON - Houston Baseball never let up as it saw a 6-1 deficit disappear when it rallied late to win 7-6 over Towson on Sunday to sweep the weekend series and improve to 15-3 on the year and remain perfect at Cougar Field.
The Cougars enter next week with an 11-0 mark at home, tying the best home start since an 11-0 mark set back in 1993.
It was a Michael Pyeatt grand slam in the sixth inning that put Houston back in contention after the Cougars fell down 6-1 through five complete. The left fielder took the first pitch he saw and drove it over the right field wall, clearing the bases for his first career homerun to make it a 6-5 game.
Once that hit, Houston reliever Tyler Ford (4.0,2,0,0,0,4) was dominant out of the pen, keeping Towson off the scoreboard for the remaining four innings, giving the Cougars a chance late in the game for the walk-off. Ford earned the win, improving to 2-0 with his 4.0-inning, two-hit bid, accompanied by four strikeouts.
The Cougars made it interesting in the eighth and down by one run when senior Caleb Barker took his pitch into right center for a standup double, followed by a walk from freshman Jordan Stading and a sacrifice punt by Pyeatt, but Towson closer was able to slam the door and keep Houston off the scoreboard and down by one heading into the ninth.
Houston proved its fight in the ninth inning when senior Frankie Ratcliff led off with a single through the right side. Down by one, senior Casey Grayson walked, but was then caught stealing at second - moving Ratcliff to third. Sophomore Justin Montemayor followed with a walk to put runners at the corners with one out for sophomore Josh Vidales, who doubled down the right field line to tie the game, scoring Ratcliff.
An intentional walk followed for senior Caleb Barker, which set up a bases-loaded situation for Stading, who saw one pitch and drove it through the right side for the game-winner.
On the day, Houston tallied 10 hits, led by Pyeatt (1x2, R, 4 RBI, SAC) who drove in four on his grand slam. The grand slam was the second of the weekend as Barker belted one on Saturday in the 20-3 win over the Tigers.
Following in the hit column was Ratcliff (2x5, R) with two base knocks and the game-tying run, while Stading (1x3, R, RBI) added a hit and the game-winning RBI, while Vidales (1x5, RBI) notched the game-tying RBI on his double. Adding a hit was sophomore Kyle Survance (1x5), who continued his hit streak at now 12 straight games, while Barker (1x3, R, 2 BB) reached base for now the 18th straight game. Grayson (1x3, R, 2 BB) and sophomores Ashford Fulmer (1x4) and Montemayor (1x4, R) provided Houston with three hits combined - giving every Cougar starter a hit today.
Towson took advantage of four early walks and a three-run homerun to put itself up 3-0 after two complete innings. Starter Jared West (1.1,2,3,4,1) was relieved by junior Jared Robinson (3.2,4,3,3,0,4), who came in and escaped worked out of the one-out jam induced by the Tigers in the second and then followed with a 1-2-3 third and fourth innings.
Despite making solid contact for the first 3.0 innings, Houston had only one hit to show for it, a two-out single by Fulmer in the latter half of the third.
Towson used a three-hit fifth inning and its second three-run homerun of the game to go ahead 6-1 after the Cougars plated a run when Grayson doubled and scored following an error by the Tigers.
The Tigers' starter Lee Lawler (5.2,4,3,2,2,3) was credited with the no decision as closer Brandon Gonnella (1.1,4,2,2,4,2) walked four and allowed four hits and two runs in 1.1 innings out of the pen for the loss to fall to 1-1 on the year.
"I'm proud of the team today, (Michael) Pyeatt with the huge grand slam, and (Josh) Vidales with a tremendous at bat in the 9th inning. (Jordan) Stading, the freshman, was clutch getting the game winner. I tell the team all the time it's a nine-inning game, you have to play all nine innings, and we have to learn from this. We have to learn to keep grinding away, and to show up everyday."
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