April 6, 2014
No. 10 HOUSTON
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - No. 10 Houston Baseball played errorless baseball and was backed by gutsy relief pitching to help the Cougars come way with a 2-1 win on the road at Rutgers - clinching the series win in American Athletic Conference play on Sunday.
The win improved Houston's overall record to 25-6 and 4-2 in league play, while Rutgers fell to 11-16 and 3-5. The Cougars are now 6-2 on the road this season and with Sunday's victory, now have 25 wins to their name.
What proved to be a pitcher's duel late fell in favor of the Cougars as senior righty Chase Wellbrock (2.1,3,0,0,0,1,2) out dueled the Rutgers' bullpen in the latter frames to earn his second win of the year and help Houston to its seventh weekend series victory of 2014.
Wellbrock finished the game, allowing just three hits, no runs, one walk with two key strikeouts to improve to 2-0.
He backed the efforts of sophomore starter Jared West (2.1,2,0,0,2,1), who managed to go 2.1 innings without allowing a run on just two hits, two walks and one strikeout. He was relieved in the third by senior Tyler Ford (4.1,2,1,1,0,0) who inherited a jam and was able to induce an inning-ending double play to keep Rutgers off the board early. Ford then went on to pitch 4.1 effective innings in relief, helping preserve the Cougars' lead before allowing a single run by Rutgers in the seventh to tie.
Houston tallied a season-low three hits - but it proved to be just enough as two of the three came with runners in scoring position off the bat of sophomore Justin Montemayor. Montemayor finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI. Senior Frankie Ratcliff notched the Cougars' only other hit - a triple - his first of the season and later scored on both of Montemayor's hits.
It was a pitchers' duel early as both teams were held without a run until the Cougars pushed the first one across in the fourth after Ratcliff walked and stole second to put him in scoring position for Montemayor - who picked up Houston's first hit - a single into centerfield.
Nothing offensively was able to brew for the Cougars as Rutgers tied the game in the seventh after a leadoff double, sacrifice bunt and groundout to the right side.
Wellbrock wasn't fazed by that as he took over for Ford and even after allowing a leadoff double in the eighth and back-to-back hits to open the bottom of the ninth, the senior closer was composed and was able to work around the jams - which was highlighted by a defensive snag by sophomore Josh Vidales covering first on a 5-3 sacrifice bunt that got away from freshman Jordan Stading on the throw. Vidales was able to keep the ball from getting passed him covering first and holding Rutgers at second and third.
Wellbrock intentionally walked Rutgers to set up the bases loaded situation with one out in the ninth and struck out the next hitter looking and then induced a groundout to second base for the win.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
On bouncing back and winning Game 2 of the doubleheader
"We are extremely to get out of Rutgers with two wins. I thought they played hard all weekend. We caught some breaks in that game and if we don't, we don't win that game. But a sign of a good team is one that can win and not play on their best day. We have some things we need to address next week in practice. I am proud of them on a weekend where we didn't really have it to come away with two wins."
On Wellbrock's performance
"I thought Chase Wellbrock was fantastic out of the pen today. His stuff wasn't great and all of our pitchers had a little trouble with the mound this weekend, but it was a real gutty performance. He has been doing this all year and has really picked us up when we needed it. Tyler Ford had another solid performance. We went 5-6-7 innings there in the middle without giving up a hit. Pitching staff has continued to keep us right there in games and we will continue to work on offense."
Senior Chase Wellbrock
On how he felt in today's win
"The situation there at the end was a pressure-packed situation, but overtime I have been used to it. Every game situation is unique and not one is more exhilarating than the other. After they opened the ninth with back-to-back hits with no outs, I tried to calm myself down. I knew I had great defense behind me and they were going to make the plays. My job was to throw strikes and make the right pitches and luckily I was able to induce the ground balls that I needed. The defense was solid today."
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Houston will return home to host the next four games, which begins with a midweek game vs. Texas State. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Cougar Field.
COUGAR SPRING FLING vs. LOUISVILLE TICKETS
Tickets for the Cougar Spring Fling, good for general admission to both events, are just $5 prior to April 11 and $10 on April 11. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS FOR THE COUGAR SPRING FLING.
Tickets can be purchased in advance through UHCougars.com or by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-462-6647. Tickets on the day of the event can be purchased at the Houston Athletics Ticket Office, located in the Athletics/Alumni Center at 3100 Cullen Blvd., or at the event's entrances beginning at 5 p.m.
All Houston Baseball season ticket holders and single game reserved seat ticket holders ($12-15) will be admitted into Cougar Spring Fling with their previously purchased tickets. All seating at the Houston Football Spring Game will be general admission.
Cash parking for the Spring Fling will be available in the Houston Football Stadium parking garage and in lot 16C located across from Cougar Field on Cullen Blvd.
KIDS (8th grade & younger) with CAMP T-SHIRT GET IN FREE
Kids who show up to Cougar Field in a UH Baseball Camp T-Shirt and are in the eighth grade or younger will receive FREE ADMISSION to any Houston Baseball home game.