Brown Hurls Baseball Past No. 5 Rice in Series Opener on Friday

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    HOUSTON - University of Houston junior righthander Aaron Brown allowed only two in seven strong innings of work to lead the Cougar Baseball team to a 5-2 win over No. 5 Rice on Friday in the opener of both a Conference USA series and the 2007 Silver Glove Series at Cougar Field.

    Brown, who improved to 5-2 with the win and won for the third time in his last four outings, scattered six hits and pair of walks with four strikeouts. Although he allowed at least one baserunner in all but one inning, the League City native was able to minimize that damage and remained strong throughout the game, retiring 10 of the last 12 batters that he faced.

    The two teams traded single runs in the first inning, and both Brown and Rice starter Ryan Berry kept the score there until the sixth inning when UH erupted for three runs off three hits. Zak Presley led off with a sharp single up the middle and moved into scoring position following Ryan Lormand's sacrifice bunt. After Cesario drew a two-out, intentional pass, Dustin Kingsbury laced a double down the right-field line to score both runners. Josh Stirenman then lined a single up the middle to plate Kingsbury for a 4-1 Cougar lead.

    Berry collected the loss and fell to 5-2 after giving up five runs off seven hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings.

    Jess Buenger went 3-for-4 with a run and RBI and came just a triple short of hitting for the cycle. No other player in the game for either team posted more than one hit.

    UH outfielder Jimmy Cesario went 1-for-3 with a run to extend his hitting streak to a career- and UH-season-best 11 straight games, while sophomore DH Felix Fanaselle went 1-for-4 with a solo home run to push his career-best streak to nine straight games. Freshman center fielder Zak Presley went 1-for-3 with a run and extended his streak to a career-best seven games.

    With the win, the Cougars improved to 19-14 overall and took over first place in C-USA with a 6-1 record. Rice fell to 27-11 overall and 8-2 in C-USA games.

    The series continues at 7 p.m., Saturday, before wrapping up at 1 p.m., Sunday. Fans can hear Cougar Baseball games live on with former Cougar letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans can follow live stats by clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the front page of or on the Schedule and Results page off the Baseball main page.

    Fans always can follow live stats by clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the front page of or on the "Schedule and Results" page off the Baseball main page.

    Freshman righthander John Touchton will make his fourth start of the season during the middle game of the Rice series Saturday. This season, the Houston native has posted a 3-2 record with 19 strikeouts and a 6.18 ERA in 27.2 innings. This will be his third straight weekend start.

    In his last start, Touchton earned his second straight win after holding Conference USA rival UAB to only three runs off eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts in a career-best seven innings of work.

    Sunday's game will be Touchton's first career appearance against Rice.

    Rice will counter with sophomore southpaw Matt Langwell who has compiled a 3-1 record with 22 strikeouts and a 2.56 ERA in 38.2 innings.

    The Owls struck for the game's first run in the first inning when Brian Friday, who led off the game with a single to left field, scored from third on Joe Savery's groundout.

    The Cougars roared back in the bottom of the inning and knotted the game at 1-1 when Fanaselle blasted a 2-0 offering over the wall in right center.

    After the Cougars' big sixth inning, Rice responded in the next half inning when Buenger led off the seventh with a home run to left center.

    But again the Cougars answered with runs of their own in the next half inning. Luis Flores led off with a sharp single to center field and moved to second on Bryan Pounds' sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Ryan Lormand smashed an RBI-single into center field for the final run of the night.



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