April 10, 2011
HOUSTON - The University of Houston baseball team gave up a six run lead late in the game on Sunday but rallied in the eighth inning to score two runs and take an 8-7 win in the series finale against UAB Sunday afternoon at Cougar Field.
The Cougars held a 6-0 lead after five innings but the Blazers would battle back over the next three innings to take a 7-6 lead in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, freshman Landon Appling reached base after being hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and scored the tying run on junior Jake Runte's RBI single to left field that was bobbled in the outfield by UAB's Ivan De Jesus. With the go ahead run on third base, M.P. Cokinos laid a bunt down the first base line giving Runte the chance to score and the Cougars the win.
Cokinos finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Runte had a hit, RBI and scored a run.
"We shook up the lineup up a little bit and that added some energy to our ball club," head coach Todd Whitting said. "The guys that were given the opportunity came in and played really hard. It's amazing what you can do when you play hard."
"UAB had the better team when we started but we were able to win because we had more will. I'm really proud with how they came back to win the ball game."
Junior Jordan Mannisto earned the win after pitching the final two innings, allowing one hit with one strikeout. He is now 3-1 on the mound. Junior Mo Wiley made the start against the Blazers. He gave up three earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts in six innings. Wiley did not give up a hit in his first five innings on the mound. Sophomore Dakota Dill pitched one inning of relief.
The Cougars jumped out to a quick start in the series finale. Appling reached base after being hit by a pitch to open the game and back-to-back doubles by Cokinos and junior Austin Gracey put the Cougars up 2-0.
Gracey kicked off a two-out rally for the Cougars in the third inning. He reached base on a single through the left side to set up junior John Cannon's two-run home run to left field. It was Cannon's first home run of the season. Junior Codey Morehouse would take a pitch to the wrist to extend the two-out rally before scoring on junior Tyler Magoliolo's RBI double to left center.
Wiley gave up his first hit in the sixth inning on Ryan Ussery's triple to centerfield. Nick Crawford singled up the middle to put the Blazers on the board and Jamal Austin's groundout to third base scored a second UAB run. Despite giving up two runs to the Blazers, Houston made three impressive defensive plays to get out of the inning.
UAB cut into the Cougars' lead again with John Frost's home run to lead off the seventh inning and Crawford's sacrifice fly to left field pulled the Blazers within two, 6-4.
A three-run eighth inning for the Blazers gave them their first lead of the game and set up the Cougars' comeback in the bottom of the inning.
The Cougars will head back on the road with a 6:30 p.m. contest at Sam Houston State on April 12. Following the midweek game, the Cougars will continue league play with a three-game series at Marshall, April 15-17.