March 25, 2006
HOUSTON - Junior righthander Ricky Hargrove struck out a career-best eight batters in seven innings to lead the University of Houston baseball team to a 4-1 win over Marshall on Saturday in the middle game of a non-conference series at Cougar Field.
The Katy, Texas, native retired eight of the last nine batters that he faced to improve to 3-2 this season.
UH (15-12, 2-0 C-USA) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning before Marshall tied the game with a run of its own in the next half-inning. But the Cougars answered with three runs in their next at bat, courtesy of Jake Stewart's bases-clearing double, to take control of the game.
That would be all the run support that Hargrove would need to lead the Cougars to their second straight win over the Thundering Herd. Junior reliever Clayton Boone retired the side during the final two shutout innings to record his team-best second save.
Stewart went 2-for-3 with a run, double and three RBIs to lead the Cougar offense which rapped out seven hits in the game, while junior infielder Brad Lincoln finished the night 2-for-3 with a run. Junior infielder Josh Stirneman also went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a career-best eight games, while junior infielder Dustin Kingsbury extended his streak to seven games with a 1-for-4 performance.
Marshall starter Jeremy Slone collected the loss and fell to 1-3 after allowing four runs off seven hits with four strikeouts in eight innings.
Infielder Adam Frederick went 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Thundering Herd, who fell to 8-10 overall and 0-2 in C-USA play.
The Cougars look to at 7 p.m., Saturday before wrapping it up at 1 p.m., Sunday. 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.
Freshman righthander Luis Flores will take the hill for the finale of the Marshall series. It will be the fifth 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 2.45 ERA in 33.0 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 25 games to date while seeing time at catcher or first base on the days he does not pitch. Along the way, he has compiled a .299 batting average with a team-best-tying six doubles and seven RBIs.
Flores was impressive in his last outing during the series finale against San Diego on March 12. He allowed one two runs off nine hits in a career-best 8.1 innings of work. While the Cougars picked up a 3-2 win off Bryan Tully's walk-off homer, Flores did not pick up the decision.
This will be the first time that Flores has faced the Thundering Herd.
Marshall will counter with senior southpaw Chris Koutsavlis. This season, Koutsavlis has compiled a 3-1 record with 23 strikeouts and a team-best 2.92 ERA in 24.2 innings of work.
Houston struck for the game's first run in their first at-bat. Stewart drew a leadoff walk and moved into scoring position following Isa Garcia's sacrifice bunt. Dustin Kingsbury then laced a double down the left-field line for a 1-0 UH lead.
The Herd tied the game in the next half-inning when Frederick's groundout allowed Brendan Murphy to score from third base.
However, UH answered with three runs in their next at bat. After Lincoln led off with a single and Bryan Tully walked, Brett Logan laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up a base. Travis Cougot drew a walk to load the bases, and Stewart cleared them with a three-run double down the left-field line.