HOUSTON -- No. 22 Houston Baseball used two homeruns and a dominating pitching performance by junior Kyle Dowdy en route to a 6-1 American Athletic Conference victory over Tulane on Saturday to win the weekend series with one game left to play.
With the win, the Cougars are now 23-12 on the year and 4-4 in league play, while Tulane fell to 21-14 and 2-6 with the loss.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
2 -- Freshman Zac Taylor belted his second homerun of the year with two outs in the fourth inning.
5 -- Houston's pitching and defense held Tulane to just five hits, the fewest since holding Buffalo to four on March 14.
5 -- Chris Iriart has now hit a homerun in each of the last five weekend series.
8 -- Houston tallied its eighth game of the season with at least two homeruns.
10 -- Junior starter Kyle Dowdy fanned a career-high 10 Tulane hitters.
11 -- Chris Iriart belted his conference-leading 11th homerun of the year.
14 -- Kyle Dowdy and Seth Romero combined for 14 strikeouts, matching a team season-high -- last vs. Buffalo on March 13.
20 -- Chris Iriart now rides a 20-game on-base streak after hitting his homerun.
25 -- Houston has now hit 25 homeruns as a team following Taylor and Iriart's homeruns.
Dowdy (7.1,4,1,1,1,10) fanned a career-high 10 Tulane hitters and worked 7.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits with one walk to earn his fourth win of the year, improving to 4-1.
Dowdy held Tulane to just one hit through five complete innings as he retired the first seven to open the game and six in a row between the first two hits from the Green Wave.
Freshman southpaw Seth Romero (1.2,1,0,0,0,0,4) fanned four in 1.2 scoreless innings of relief work, allowing just one hit to Tulane.
The combined 14 strikeouts by Dowdy and Romero matches a pitching staff season high after fanning 14 vs. Buffalo on March 13. The duo also combined to hold Tulane to just five hits -- the fewest since holding Buffalo to four on March 14.
The Houston offense was sparked by two, two-run homeruns off the bats of junior Chris Iriart and freshman Zac Taylor. The two homeruns came in the fourth and seventh innings and brings the Cougars' season total to 25.
Taylor was 3-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI on the day to lead the offense. His homerun was the second of his young career -- a two-run shot in the fourth inning.
Iriart finished the day, 1-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored -- belting his conference-leading 11th homerun of the season. He now has the most homeruns by a Cougar since Jake Stewart tallied 14 back in 2008. With that homerun, Iriart also has belted a long ball in five consecutive weekend series.
Houston tallied an 11-hit day. Joining Taylor and Iriart with RBI was junior Justin Montemayor -- who got things rolling in the second. He finished 1-for-4 with a run and RBI. Nine Cougars had a hit in the win as juniors Kyle Survance (1x4), Josh Vidales (1x4, R), Jacob Campbell (1x2, R, 2B), Ian Rice (1x4, R), Ashford Fulmer (1x1) and freshman Corey Julks (1x3) contributed offensively.
Houston took advantage of a four-hit inning in the second to plate two runs and go ahead 2-0. Campbell doubled for the second consecutive plate appearance after driving in the game-winner on Friday with a walkoff double. He was moved to third on a groundball to the right side by Wong and would score on an RBI-single off the bat of Montemayor.
With two outs, Julks and Taylor reach on back-to-back singles as Taylor's single through the right side was good enough to plate Montemayor from second base to put the Cougars ahead by two.
Tulane would trim Houston's lead in half with a run in the third following a walk, single and an RBI-fielder's choice.
With two outs in the fourth inning and Rice at first following a one-out single, Taylor belted his second homerun of the year on a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall to make it a 4-1 game in favor of the Cougars.
Dowdy continued to show well, recording a career-high in strikeouts as he managed to hold Tulane to one hit through the first five innings until Tulane opened the sixth with a leadoff single. Dowdy was able to erase the hit with a double play ball and keep Tulane at bay.
After being held to a 1-2-3 inning at the plate, Houston, defensively, worked around another leadoff single with two ground ball outs and an inning-ending strikeout for Dowdy -- his ninth of the game.
Houston would put another crooked number on the scoreboard following a two-run homerun by Iriart -- his 11th of the year. He plated Vidales as well on the long ball after the second baseman reached on a one-out single up the middle.
Tulane threatened in the eighth after the first two hitters reached following a single and misplayed ball in the infield. Dowdy would strikeout the next hitter -- recording his 10th on the game. He was then relieved by Romero -- who finished the inning with back-to-back strikeouts looking to keep Tulane off the scoreboard.
Romero returned in the ninth and worked around a 1-out single and error to fan the next two hitters for the win.
Tulane starter Emerson Gibbs (4.0,7,4,4,1,1) suffered his first loss of the season, falling to 3-1 after allowing four runs on seven hits in 4.0 innings.
Junior Kyle Dowdy
Thoughts on the game
"It was really good to get back out here again after a touch-and-go start last week. All I really focused on today was pounding the zone. I tried to throw quality pitches."
On taking the series from Tulane
"It was good to get the series win. Obviously winning a series is huge for us after the last couple of weekends. We go for the sweep tomorrow and we really need it but we are going to come out here and dominate again."
On his career-high 10 strikeouts
"It is just one of those (games) where we try and go out there the same each week and just establish the strike zone. It was nice to pound the zone and work with our catcher calling the signs."
Junior Chris Iriart
Thoughts on the game
"Wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of the dugout. After the first couple of at-bats, I knew I had to get a hit eventually, it was nice that it was a home run."
On performance at the plate, belting his league-leading 11th homerun
"I'm trying to get into leverage counts and use them to my advantage, look for fastballs or if they leave a curveball up or any pitch up, I will hit it."
On taking series from Tulane
"We needed it, we've had a couple tough losses these last couple of weeks. We are right where we need to be. It's not how you start it is how you finish."
Houston and Tulane will wrap up the three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday at Cougar Field.
Sunday, April 12
Superhero Day/Shasta's Kids Club Day
- First 500 fans receive a free UH cape
- Encouraging fans to dress up.Best costume wins a prize.
Single game tickets for the remaining 12 home games at Cougar Field can be purchased by clicking here: UHCougars.com/Basetickets.
Along with the online option, fans can purchase tickets by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office at TDECU Stadium Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or can call 713-GO-COOGS.
Houston Baseball offers variable pricing on its single-game tickets and group rates.
For the first time ever, the pricing breakdown will be determined whether or not you purchase your single-game tickets online vs. at the gate the day of the game as well as whether the Cougars play on a weekday (Monday-Thursday) or weekend (Friday-Sunday).
Weekday: Monday-Thursday; Weekend: Friday-Sunday.
As noted in the table, variable pricing occurs. For weekday (Tuesday nights) online purchases, fans can take in a game, ranging from $5-$7 depending on the choice of seating. If you choose to purchase the day of the game as a Weekday Walk-Up, you will pay roughly $2 more than the online price ($7-$9).
Weekend (Friday-Sunday) online pricing will range from $6-$8 per game, while Weekend Walk-Up pricing the day of the game will run a fan anywhere from $8-$10.
Group rates are also available (as noted in the table). Weekday (Tuesday) and Weekend (Friday-Sunday) pricing occurs. Groups of 10-24 are set at $4-$5 per person, while groups of 25+ are $3-$4 per person.
HOW TO PURCHASE
To purchase tickets in advance, fans must visit the Athletics Ticket Stadium Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or you can call 713-GO-COOGS.
JOIN THE DUGOUT CLUB
Nationally-ranked Houston Baseball would like to encourage those wishing to support the efforts and success of the baseball student-athletes to consider joining the Dugout Club for as low as $25 a month or $300 annually.
For a minimum monthly installment of $25 or a minimum one-time gift of $300, supporters can take advantage of the Pinch Hitter level, which will guarantee an invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball team apparel.
For a minimum monthly installment of $100 or a minimum one-time gift of $1,000, supporters can take advantage of the Diamond level, which will guarantee batting practice passes for two to any home game, invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball apparel.
**Cougar Pride points will be applied accordingly.
For more information on joining the Dugout Club, please contact the Houston Baseball office at (713) 743-9396.
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