Baseball Shows Well in Conference USA Opener with 7-2 Win over ECU
March 22, 2013
HOUSTON — University of Houston Baseball showed well in its Conference USA opener, winning 7-2 over East Carolina at Cougar Field Friday night to improve to 19-4, the best 23-game start since a 21-2 mark set back in 1989.
FINAL | Cougar Field
Win: Daniel Poncedeleon (3-2)
NUMBERS OF NOTE
3 Houston tied a Cougar Field single-game record with their three triples against the Pirates. This is the third time the Coogs have accomplished this feat with the last coming against SFA on Feb. 2, 2011. 8With the win over ECU, the Cougars improved their winning streak to eight straight games. Also for Daniel Poncedeleon he recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in another career-long 8.0 innings pitched.
11With his leadoff triple, freshman second baseman Josh Vidales extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
13The Cougars are now 13-2 at Cougar Field this season.
17After a 3x5 night for freshman second baseman Josh Vidales, he has now extended his streak of reaching base safely to 17 games.
23 The Houston Cougars are off to their best 23-game start to a season in 23 years. The 19-4 start is best since 1989 when Houston started the season 21-2.
The Cougars picked up their first league victory for a 1-0 start, while East Carolina fell to 11-11 and 0-1 this season.
Houston’s offense tallied 13 hits, led by a combined 7-for-9 effort from the seven, eight, and nine-hole hitters. Of the 12 hits, four were for extra bases as Houston tallied 20 total bases on the night. The Cougars’ three triples ties a Cougar Field single-game record of three, last coming vs. SFA back in 2011.
Junior Frankie Ratcliff led Houston with a perfect 3-for-3 effort with three runs scored and two RBI and a walk to accompany his double and triple. Freshman Ashford Fulmer (2x4, R, 2 RBI) drove in two on his two hits, while junior Landon Appling (2x2, RBI, HBP) drove in a run on two base knocks.
Also recording two hits in the win was freshman Josh Vidales (2x5, R), who extended his on-base streak to 17 straight games and hit streak 11 games. Fellow freshman Kyle Kirk (1x5, RBI) plated a run and joined junior Caleb Barker (1x5) and freshman Justin Montemayor (1x4, R) with a base hit.
Houston’s defense was equally impressive, playing errorless baseball behind junior starter Daniel Poncedeleon (8.0,5,2,2,5,8). The La Mirada, Calif., native won his third game this season to improve to 3-2 on a career-best effort, fanning a career-high eight Pirates in a career-long 8.0 innings, while scattering five hits and five walks – allowing just two runs.
Houston’s Vidales opened the game in the bottom of the first for the Cougars with his first career triple and later scored on an RBI-groundout by Kirk for a 1-0 Cougar lead.
East Carolina threatened in the top half of the second inning with three consecutive one-out walks, but Poncedeleon settled in to fan the next two Pirates to escape the inning, stranding three.
Houston added to its lead with another run in the latter half of the frame when Ratcliff drove a two-out pitch to deep centerfield for a standup triple. Fulmer then followed with a rocket just past the third baseman to put Houston up 2-0.
The Cougars continued to reach base, plating their third run of the game after Ratcliff led off the fourth with a single to right field. He moved up two bases on a passed ball and scored on Appling’s sacrifice fly.
East Carolina recorded its first hit in the top of the sixth, going on to score, to make it a 3-1 game, while Poncedeleon and the defense worked out of the jam to strand two runners, inducing two groundouts – including a web gem play by Montemayor at first base.
Houston used a five-hit, fifth inning to plate four runs to take a 7-1 lead into the sixth.
Montemayor singled to lead off the frame, moved to second a perfect sacrifice bunt by sophomore Michael Pyeatt. With runners at second and third following a walk, Ratcliff doubled to drive in two. Fulmer followed behind him with a triple – the third of the night for Houston, later scoring on a wild pitch.
With a 7-1 lead, Houston threatened again in the sixth, but left two on after Barker and Montemayor both reached on a single and walk, respectively.
East Carolina hit a solo homerun in the eighth for its second run of the game.
Poncedeleon was relieved in the ninth by junior Dylan Rucker (0.0,1,0,0,1,0). After failing to record an out, junior reliever Chase Wellbrock (1.0,0,0,0,0,2) took over with runners at second and third and fanned two and induced a fly out to keep East Carolina off the board.
East Carolina starter Jeff Hoffman (4.1,11,7,6,2,1) was tagged with the loss, allowing six earned runs on 11 hits and two walks with one strikeout in 4.1 innings.
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Todd Whitting
Thoughts on the game
“We played a very thorough game tonight. The first three runs on the board we really had to work for them. We did a really nice job of grinding out at bats. I’m really proud of the ball club for scoring four runs after they scored. That’s a sign of a team that has pride, and is ready to get after it. (Daniel) Poncedeleon was outstanding tonight. He got out of a tough inning where he walked a couple of guys. He had the best stuff he’s had all year tonight. It was a real gritty performance by him, and Chase Wellbrock comes in to slam the door on the rally they had. Really good team baseball tonight. We had guys sac bunting, getting sacrifice flies, and getting big hits with runners in scoring position. We when do that, we are pretty tough to beat.”
JUNIOR SHORTSTOP Frankie Ratcliff
On your performance tonight
“We came out ready to play today. We played really well from start to finish. Being able to get a win against a good team is huge. It’s always good to get a win to start off conference play, and now we just have to continue tomorrow.”
FRESHMAN OUTFIELDER Ashford Fulmer
Thoughts on the game
“We had a great game tonight. We started off slow, but Ponce (Daniel Poncedeloen) really worked to get through the game. We ended up with 13 hits tonight, and we are just working as a team. We’re coming off some momentum with our non-conference play, and hopefully that will continue through conference play.”
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Houston and East Carolina will continue its three-game series on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m.