March 17, 2006
HOUSTON - San Diego erupted for five runs off five hits and took advantage of a key error in the 11th inning on the way to a 9-4 win over the University of Houston baseball team Friday in the opener of a non-conference series at Cougar Field.
Ryan Lilly slapped an RBI-single up the middle to break a 2-2 tie, and Steve Singleton added a two-run homer to give the Toreros a cushion. Three batters later, Steve Buschini struck for a two-run single for the final margin of victory.
USD (14-9) rapped out 18 hits with Singleton, Daniel Magness and Keoni Ruth recording three hits apiece. Jordan Abruzzo went 2-for-4 with Singleton and Buschini leading all players with two RBIs.
USD reliever Scott DeNault picked up the win and improved to 1-0 after holding the Cougars scoreless in the bottom of the 10th inning.
UH reliever Aaron Brown collected the loss and dropped to 1-2 after giving up three unearned runs off four hits with three strikeouts in 2.1 innings. UH starter Brad Lincoln allowed four runs (two earned) off 11 hits with nine strikeouts in 8.1 innings but did not collect a decision as USD rallied with two runs in the ninth inning.
Lincoln recorded his seventh straight start in 2006 with at least seven strikeouts and became just the sixth player in school history to record 200 strikeouts during his career.
It was the first loss at home in 2006 for the Cougars, who reeled off eight consecutive victories to open the year.
The Cougars continue the series at 7 p.m., Saturday before wrapping it up at 1 p.m., Sunday at Cougar Field. Both games can be heard live over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with former UH letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans also can follow play-by-play action by clicking on the "Live Stats" link on the schedule at www.UHCougars.com.
Fans also should note that Saturday will be Little League Day at the ballpark. All students who are 12 years old and younger and wear their baseball/softball Little League jerseys to the game will receive free admission.
Sophomore righthander Ricky Hargrove will take the hill for the second game of the San Diego series. This season, Hargrove has compiled a 2-1 record with 25 strikeouts and a team-best 2.08 ERA in 30.1 innings of work. In addition, his innings pitched (30.1), wins (2), strikeouts (25) and opposing batting average (.213) are second among all UH hurlers.
While this will be his fourth start of the 2006 season, it will be only his second weekend start after entering the rotation last weekend at UC Irvine.
Hargrove was dazzling in the middle game of the UC Irvine series on March 11, holding the Anteaters to only one unearned run off four hits with three strikeouts in a career-best seven innings of work.
Saturday's game will be Hargrove's first career appearance against the Toreros.
San Diego will counter with junior righthander Josh Butler. This season, Butler has compiled a 4-2 record with 35 strikeouts and a 0.89 ERA in 40.2 innings of work.
The Cougars jumped ahead in their first at bat with a single run. Matt Weston was hit by a pitch and two batters later, Brad Lincoln blasted a double off the wall in right center field for a 1-0 UH lead. Luis Flores then laced a sharp ground ball down the left-field line that was misplayed, allowing Lincoln to race home and hand the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
USD trimmed that deficit in half in its next at bat on Kevin Hansen's two-out, RBI-single through the left side of the infield.
The Toreros tied the game in the fifth inning when David Harris', two-out RBI-single through the right side plated Kevin Hansen, who reached on a fielder's choice.
In the eighth inning, the Cougars took advantage of two errors to score two runs without the benefit of a hit. After Bryan Tully reached on a two-out error and pinch hitter Matt Farrington walked, Jake Stewart lifted a fly ball into right field that was misplayed, allowing both runners to score and give UH a 4-2 lead.
However, the Toreros knotted the game in the next half inning off two hits and two errors. Keoni Ruth reached on the first miscue of the inning and moved to third base following Jordan Abruzzo's single through the right side. Kevin Hansen then reached on the second Cougar error of the inning, allowing Ruth to score and trim the deficit in half.
Josh Romanski's single into left field then plated pinch runner Michael Lugo to tie the game at 4-4.