March 29, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Junior right-handed starter Daniel Poncedeleon was lights out as he tossed his first complete game, helping No. 19 Houston Baseball to a 4-0 start in Conference USA play following a 3-1 win at Memphis on Friday evening.
|No. 19 Houston
Win: Daniel Poncedeleon (4-2)
Loss: Sam Moll (4-2)
NUMBERS OF NOTE
0 Daniel Poncedeleon didn't walk a single hitter in his 9.0-inning, eight-strikeout complete game. 1 Daniel Poncedeleon recorded his first career complete game as a Cougar in the 3-1 win over Memphis. 4 Daniel Poncedeleon is now 4-0 in Friday starts - winning the last four decisions. Houston is also 4-0 in C-USA play. 8 Daniel Poncedeleon tied his career-high in strikeouts with eight, which also came in a win over East Carolina last weekend. 21With his walk in the first inning, freshman second baseman Josh Vidales has now reached base safely in 21 consecutive games.
The Cougars improved to 22-5 and 1-0 outside the state of Texas with the win, while Memphis fell to 14-12 and 1-3 with the loss.
An anticipated pitching duel between Poncedeleon and Memphis' ace Sam Moll was evident as the two held their own - fanning a combined 16 hitters and only allowing nine total hits in tonight's contest.
Houston manufactured three runs on four hits, led by an RBI-single off the bat of junior Caleb Barker. Also driving in runs for the Cougars were freshmen Kyle Kirk (0x3, R, RBI, SF) and Justin Montemayor (0x4, RBI). Notching base hits and scoring a run for Houston was junior Landon Appling (1x4, R) and freshman Ashford Fulmer (1x2, R).
Poncedeleon (9.0,5,1,0,0,8) continued to deal on Friday nights - winning his fourth straight Friday start to improve to 4-2 on the year and 2-0 in C-USA play. The La Mirada, Calif., native fanned a career-tying best eight without surrendering a single walk and no earned runs - while scattering five hits.
This was the fourth time this season that Houston's pitching staff didn't allow a walk. All four games were wins.
His previous eight strikeouts came in an 8.0-inning win against East Carolina last weekend. Poncedeleon didn't allow an extra base hit and retired 12 straight from the fifth through the eighth innings.
His complete game was the third thrown by Houston's pitching staff this year as senior Austin Pruitt has two to his name.
His biggest pitch of the night happened in the first inning when Memphis racked up back-to-back one-out hits. Poncedeleon would fan the No. 4-hole hitter for the second out, while batterymate Barker would throw out the runner attempting the steal third to end any initial threat by the Tigers.
From then on, Poncedeleon was impressive, recording three straight 1-2-3 innings. He allowed a leadoff single in the fifth, but a two-out fielder's choice would wipe the runner.
Houston leadoff hitter freshman Josh Vidales set the tone for the game with his leadoff six-pitch walk. With that free base, the LaPorte, Texas native has now reached base safely in 21 consecutive games for the Cougars.
Houston scratched across a run in the top of the first on two walks, a wild pitch and an RBI-groundout by Montemayor - scoring Kirk, who reached on a fielder's choice.
The Cougars would battle offensively to manufacture two more runs in the fifth after Appling singled, Fulmer was hit by a pitch and Vidales walked to load the bases with no outs. Kirk drove in Appling on his RBI-sacrifice fly to right field, while Barker followed up with a clutch RBI-single through the right side to give Houston a 3-0 lead through five frames.
Memphis scored its only run of the game in the ninth after a leadoff single. With one out, an infield single and throwing error put runners at the corners, allowing a sacrifice fly plate the Tigers' only run.
Moll (6.0,4,3,3,3,8), who entered the game with a sub-3.00 ERA on a very strong pitching staff, allowed three earned runs and three walks in 6.0 innings for the loss to fall to 4-2 this season for Memphis.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
On the effort by starter Daniel Poncedeleon
"That was as good as Ponce has been. He was really good last week and even better this week. The main thing with him is just confidence and knowing his stuff can stand up in the zone and that is what he did tonight. He isn't trying to strike everyone out, he is just trying to make them swing inside the zone. He showed great mound presence on a night that we weren't that good offensively."
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Houston and Memphis will continue the three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. and conclude on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at FedExPark. Following the weekend, Houston will return home to host Sam Houston State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cougar Field before hitting the road for the second straight weekend to play Marshall in a three-game C-USA series in Charleston, West Virginia.