April 1, 2006
\ GREENVILLE, N.C. - University of Houston senior infielder Isa Garcia went 4-for-6 with four RBIs and became the first player in more than seven years to hit for the cycle to help lead the Cougar Baseball team to a convincing 13-4 win over East Carolina in the middle game of a Conference USA series at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Saturday night.
Garcia became the first Cougar slugger to accomplish that feat since Jason Pekar against USF on March 21, 1998. The Houston native gave the Cougars a 2-0 run lead in the first inning with a two-run homer to left field and added a triple to left in the sixth inning. One inning later, he blasted a double off the center-field wall and stroked a single up the middle in his final at bat during the ninth inning to accomplish the feat.
He was part of a Cougar offensive onslaught, which pounded out 13 hits in the game, including seven for extra bases. Each of the top four hitters in the UH lineup blasted a home run, and the group accomplished that feat in the first two innings.
The Cougars (18-12, 5-0 C-USA) jumped out to an 8-0 lead after the first one-and-a-half innings and never looked back in winning their fifth straight game and for the sixth time in their last seven outings. With wins in each of their first five C-USA games, the Cougars equaled the best start since the 2001 team won its first six league contests.
The win also gave the Cougars their first-ever series victory over ECU since the Pirates joined the league in 2002.
Senior catcher Brett Logan continued his recent hot hitting, batting 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI, while junior outfielder Jake Stewart went 2-for-4 with four runs, a homer and three RBIs. Junior infielder Dustin Kingsbury went 2-for-6 with a double, run and RBI and extended his hitting streak to a UH-season-high 10 consecutive games.
Coming out of the bullpen for only the second time this season, senior southpaw Matt Farrington collected the win and improved to 2-4 after holding ECU to only one run off six hits with four strikeouts during the final 4.2 innings.
ECU starter Dustin Sasser collected the loss and dropped to 4-4 after giving up six runs off four hits with a strikeout in only 1.1 innings.
ECU infielder Dale Mollenhauer went 4-for-5 with two homers, two runs, a double and RBI to lead the Pirates, who outhit the Cougars for the second straight night and rapped out 14 hits. Outfielder Jay Mattox went 2-for-5 with a run and RBI, and infielder Drew Schieber went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the losing effort.
The Cougars will be looking for the series sweep when they wrap up the series at 11 a.m. (CDT), 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 East Carolina series on Sunday. It will be the sixth start of his collegiate career after moving into the weekend rotation against Monmouth on Feb. 26. This season, he has pitched to a 2-1 record with 24 strikeouts and a 2.31 ERA in 39.0 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 28 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 six doubles and eight RBIs.
Flores allowed only one run off three hits with four strikeouts in six innings during the Marshall series finale on March 26 at Cougar Field. It was the first time in four straight starts that he received a decision.
Sunday's finale will be the first time that Flores has faced the Pirates.
ECU will counter with senior southpaw Brody Taylor, who has compiled a 3-1 record with 20 strikeouts and a 2.28 ERA in 23.2 innings of work.
The Cougars struck for the game's first runs in their first at bat. After Stewart drew a walk, Garcia hammered a 3-2 offering over the left-field wall. Two batters later, Brad Lincoln blasted a towering solo homer over the wall to dead center field.
One inning later, the Cougars added two more homers to more than double their lead. Logan started the rally with a one-out single through the left side and moved up a base following Chris Joseph's walk. Stewart then blasted the first pitch he saw over the wall in left-field to double UH's lead and chase Sasser from the game
Two batters later, Kingsbury launched a solo shot of ECU reliever Josh Dowdy for a 7-0 UH lead.
The Pirates answered in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run of their own, courtesy of Mollenhauer's leadoff blast to right center. Schieber also added a two-out, RBI-single to trim the UH advantage to 7-2.
Houston added another run in the third inning. Bryan Tully reached on an ECU infield error and moved up a base after Flores was hit by a pitch. Following Travis Cougot's sacrifice bunt, Logan laced an RBI-single into left field for an 8-2 Cougar lead.
The scored remained that way until the fifth inning when Ryan Wood scored on Jamie Ray's RBI-single off the leg of UH starter Ricky Hargrove.
The Cougars pushed their run total into double digits in the sixth inning with two more runs. Stewart led off with a double to the wall in left center and scored easily on Garcia's triple to left center. Two batters later, Garcia scored easily on a wild pitch for a 10-3 UH lead.
In the seventh inning, the Cougars put three more runs across. Cougot reached on an error and moved to third base following Logan's single up the middle. Matt Weston then lifted a sacrifice fly into left field to plate Cougot and allow Logan to move to second base.
After Stewart reached on the second ECU miscue of the inning, Garcia blasted a double off the wall in center field to plate Logan and allow Stewart to reach third. Stewart then took advantage of a wild pitch to score easily and give the Cougars a 13-3 lead.
ECU trimmed that lead in the bottom of the frame on Mattox's looping RBI-single into shallow right field.