March 31, 2002
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Brett Cooley's infield groundout scored Jesse Crain in the top of the 13th inning, and Crain made the lead stand up on the mound in the bottom of the inning as the fifth-ranked University of Houston baseball team took a 7-6 decision Sunday in the finale of a Conference USA series at Pete Taylor Park.
Crain did a little of everything for the Cougars in the win as he threw a career-high 5.0 innings of relief, allowing only one hit with eight strikeouts while improving to 4-0 this season on the mound.
But the Boulder, Colo., native started the Cougar rally in the top of the 13th inning with a sharp single up the middle and moved into scoring position after Daron Bertillion's sacrifice bunt. After Hyung Cho laced a single off the leg of USM reliever Anthony Dewitt to put runners at the corner, Cooley ripped a sharp ground ball to USM first baseman Bobby Garner, who stepped on the bag to retire Cooley but was late throwing the ball home to catch an oncoming Crain.
Crain went 1-for-5 with a run and two RBIs and has now hit safely in all but four games this season. Michael Bourn went 2-for-6 with two runs and a stolen base to lead UH.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 21-8 overall and 7-2 in league play while Southern Miss dropped to 18-10 overall and 6-3 in C-USA action.
Carlos Velasquez went 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs to lead USM. UH reliever Anthony Dewitt dropped to 0-3 after giving up two hits and one run in 2.0 innings of work.
USM held a 5-3 lead through the first seven innings until the Cougars struck for three runs in the eighth inning. Michael Bourn started the rally with a single, moved to second base after a walk to Anthony Scalise and teamed with Scalise on a double steal of second and third base. Chris Snyder then lifted a looping single that fell into shallow right field, allowing Bourn to score, and Scalise came around as well after USM right fielder Clint Stoy misplayed the ball.
Snyder eventually came around to score on Crain's sacrifice fly to right field and give the Cougars a 6-5 lead.
USM grabbed the momentum right back when pinch-hitter Clint King led off the bottom of the inning with a home run over the left center field wall, his first of the season.
The score would remain that way until the 13th inning when the Cougars struck for the game-winning run, but both teams had chances to score earlier. The most dangerous threat to UH came in the 12th inning when Matt Shepherd reached third base after a single, stolen base and UH throwing error. However, Crain struck out Carlos Velasquez to end the threat.
The fifth-ranked Cougars will now make plans to play host to No. 3 Rice at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Cougar Field in Game Four of the Silver Glove Series. The Owls have won the first three games in the annual, five-game regular-season series between the crosstown rivals.