April 10, 2004
HOUSTON - Stuart Musslewhite's two-run double in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie and helped lift the University of Houston baseball team to a 6-4 win over Conference USA rival Charlotte in the first game of a doubleheader at Cougar Field on Saturday afternoon.
In the nightcap, Charlotte (14-15, 4-8 C-USA) jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held off the Cougars on the way to a 5-3 win.
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m., Tuesday when they meet #15 Texas A&M at Olsen Field in College Station, Texas. That game can be heard live on KAXF 88.3 FM or over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling the action.
Fans can follow the action through live stats by clicking on the Gametracker at the bottom of the main page at www.UHCougars.com.
UH reliever Matt Varner improved to 4-2 with the win after allowing two runs off four hits with five strikeouts in seven innings. Originally projected as the starter in Saturday's nightcap, the West Columbia, Texas, native was called into emergency service after starter Brad Lincoln left after the first inning with back spasms.
Charlotte starter Justin Brown dropped to 2-2 after giving up six runs off nine hits with four strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Adam Willard batted 2-for-3 with a run, home run, double and two RBIs, while Randall Poplin went 2-for-4 with a home run to lead the 49ers.
Charlotte jumped ahead in their first at-bat in the opener when Willard's double scored Thomas Bowker and pushed their lead to 2-0 when Willard blasted the first pitch he saw from Varner to lead off the third over the right field wall.
UH cut that deficit it half in the bottom of the inning thanks to three hits. Bruce laced a double down the left field line to lead off and moved to third on Rob Johnson's fly ball to deep center field. Travis Tully then slapped an RBI-single up the middle to score Bruce.
The Cougars knotted the game in the fourth inning with another single run. Jake Stewart led off with a single up the middle and stole second to move into scoring position. After a walk to Patrick Breen and Nick Bott's sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third, Bruce lifted a sacrifice fly into right field to score Stewart.
In the fifth inning, the Cougars grabbed their first lead with four runs off five hits. After Patrick Gaylord reached on a fielder's choice and Roberts singled, Stuart Musslewhite laced a double down the left field line to score both runners. Stewart walked and, after a strikeout, Bott smashed an RBI-single through the left side of the infield to plated Musslewhite.
Bruce then lifted a looping RBI-single into right field to plate Stewart and give the Cougars a 6-2 lead.
In the seventh inning, Poplin led off with a solo shot over the left center field wall to pull Charlotte to within 6-3.
The 49ers pushed a run across in the ninth inning on Cory Lane's RBI-single up the middle. However, that would be as close as Charlotte the rest of the way.
In the nightcap, Charlotte reliever Adam Mills improved to 2-1 after holding the Cougars to only one run off three hits with three strikeouts in four innings. Reliever Erik Walker collected his second after recording the final two outs.
UH starter Matt Farrington dropped to 0-1 after allowing three runs off three hits with a strikeout in 1.2 innings.
Bott batted 2-for-3 with a pair of runs, and Johnson batted 2-for-5. Tully also went 2-for-4 in the losing effort.
Bowker went 3-for-5 with a run and RBI to lead Charlotte. Jamie Rusco and Poplin also batted 2-for-4 for the 49ers.
As they did in the first game of the day, the 49ers struck again for the game's first runs when Kris Rochelle blasted a two-run homer over the wall in left center field. One inning later, Bowker pushed the Charlotte lead to 3-0 on a double down the left field line that scored Michael Roane.
The Cougars struck for their two runs in the fourth inning. After Bruce reached on a Charlotte infield error, Bott laced a double down the left field line. Both runners scored on Musslewhite's single to left center.
The score remained that way until the sixth inning when Bowker scored on a Cougar wild pitch. One inning later, the 49ers gave themselves a cushion when Poplin's RBI-single scored Rusco, who led off the seventh with a single to right field.
UH pulled to within two runs at 5-3. Bott led off with a single up the middle and moved all the way to third base after a pair of wild pitches. Patrick Breen then plated Bott with a one-out groundout.
The Cougars put together a ninth-inning rally after Stewart reached on a hit and Rob Johnson reached on an error. However, Walker forced a flyout and groundout to end the threat.