April 4, 2006
HOUSTON - The University of Houston baseball team erupted for nine runs through the first two innings, held off a late rally and iced the game in their final at bat on the way to a 12-8 win over McNeese State on Tuesday in a non-conference game at Cougar Field.
UH (19-13) appeared to have the game well under control after scoring three runs in its first at bat and six more in the second inning. However, MSU rallied for seven runs in its next two at bats and pulled to within a run in the top of the eighth inning. But the Cougars answered with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to take control of the game and win for the seventh time in their last nine games.
Coming out of the bullpen, freshman Barry Laird earned his first collegiate victory after holding McNeese State to only one hit in 2.1 shutout innings. The Baytown, Texas, native entered the game with runners on first and third in the fourth inning but forced a flyout to end the MSU threat. He would go on to retire six of the next seven batters that he faced.
McNeese State starter Chris Denton collected the loss and dropped to 5-2 after giving up seven runs off five hits with a strikeout in only one inning of work.
The Cougars outhit MSU 13-10 with seven of those going for extra bases, and all but one starter rapping out at least one hit in the contest. Junior infielder Dustin Kingsbury went 3-for-5 with three runs, two doubles and a pair of RBIs to lead the way, while freshman catcher Luis Flores batted 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
Freshman infielder Travis Cougot finished the night 2-for-4 with a run and triple, and junior outfielder Jake Stewart batted 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.
Chris Fontenot, Charlie Kingery and Tyler Dugas each rapped out two hits for MSU.
The Cougars return to action this weekend as they play host to No. 18 Tulane in a three-game Conference USA series at Cougar Field. The series begins with 7 p.m. games on both Friday and Saturday before wrapping up at 3 p.m., Sunday.
Fans and media members should note that Sunday's game time was recently pushed back to its 3 p.m., start to accommodate College Sports Television's coverage of the game to a national television audience.
All Cougar Baseball 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.
Friday's game also will be Greek Night at the ballpark. UH fraternities and sororities will be recognized with prizes being given away for the most spirited Greek organization.
The Cougars struck for the game's first run in their first at bat with a two-out rally. Kingsbury started the rally with a double to left center and moved all the way to third base following back-to-back walks to Brad Lincoln and Bryan Tully. Flores then laced a bases-clearing double to the wall in right center on a full count to hand the Cougars a 3-2 advantage.
One inning later, the Cougars struck for five more runs. Cougot led off with a triple to deep center field. Matt Weston drew a walk, and both runners moved up a base on Stewart's RBI-single to right field. After Weston and Stewart combined on a double steal, Isa Garcia plated both runners with a triple down the right-field line.
Following a MSU pitching change, Kingsbury slapped an RBI-single into right field to plate Garcia. Lincoln then cleared the bases with a two-run homer down the left-field line for a 9-0 Houston lead.
The Cowboys put their first mark on the scoreboard with three runs in the third inning on Fontenot's two-run single through the right side of the UH infield. Fontenot later came around to score from third base when baserunner Bryan Cartie was caught in a rundown between first and second base.
In the fourth inning, MSU pulled to within two runs after scoring four runs off five hits. Dugas laced an RBI-double to center field for the first run, and the Cowboys would take advantage of a UH error in the outfield and RBI-singles from Shon Landry and Fontenot to pull to within 9-7 after four-and-a-half innings.
The score remained that way until the eighth inning when Kingery led off with a solo home run over the left-field wall and pulled the Cowboys to within 9-8.
However, the Cougars iced the game with three runs in the next half-inning. Weston started the scoring with a towering homer run to right field, the first of his UH career. After a walk to Stewart, Kingsbury plated the runner with a double down the left-field line. Two batters and two MSU relievers later, Tully laid down a picture-perfect bunt-single down the third-base line that allowed Kingsbury to score from third base and cap the scoring for the night.