March 18, 2006
HOUSTON - San Diego righthander Josh Butler struck out nine over nine shutout innings to lead the Toreros to a 2-0 win over the University of Houston baseball team Saturday in the second game of a non-conference series at Cougar Field.
Butler, who entered the game with a 0.89 ERA, lowered that mark even more in handing the Cougars their second shutout of the season.
The Toreros (15-9) plated their first run in the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit. Ryan Lilly led off with a walk and eventually raced all the way from first base when Keoni Ruth reached on a miscue in the Cougar infield with two outs.
In the ninth inning, USD added an insurance run., After Steve Singleton led off with a single to center field and advanced into scoring position following Daniel Magness' sacrifice bunt, Jordan Abruzzo laced a double to the wall in left center to plate Singleton for a 2-0 USD lead.
That would be all the support Butler would need to improve to 5-2 this season.
UH starter Ricky Hargrove was the no-luck losing pitcher in the game. The Katy, Texas native allowed only two runs (one earned) off six hits with four strikeouts in a career-best 8.2 innings of work. However, he would collect the loss to even his season record to 2-2.
UH junior outfielder Jake Stewart went 2-for-4 to lead the Cougars, who managed only five hits in the game.
USD's Steve Singleton batted 2-for-4 with a run to pace the Torero offense.
The Cougars (12-11) will be looking to avoid the series sweep at 1 p.m., Sunday at Cougar Field. That game 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.
Freshman righthander Luis Flores will take the hill for the finale of the San Diego series on Sunday. It will be the fourth start of his collegiate career after moving into the weekend rotation against Monmouth on Feb. 26. This season, he has pitched to a 1-1 record with 20 strikeouts and a 2.55 ERA in 24.2 innings. His ERA ranks third among all UH hurlers.
Flores also is a regular in the Cougar lineup on the days that he does not pitch. This season, Flores has started all 20 games to date while seeing time at catcher or first base. Along the way, he has compiled a .328 batting average.
Flores enjoyed his second straight solid outing in the series finale at UC Irvine on March 12. Against the Anteaters, he allowed only two runs off six hits with three strikeouts in a career-best 7.1 innings of work. However, he did not pick up a decision as UC Irvine rallied with three runs over the final three innings on the way to a 3-2 win.
This will be the first time that Flores has faced the Toreros.
USD head coach Pat Hill had not announced his Sunday starter as of press time.