April 14, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Houston baseball team erupted for seven runs in its first at bat and never looked back in taking a 24-7 win over No. 22 Southern Miss on Friday in the opener of a Conference USA series at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Cougars, who improved to 23-14 overall and 8-2 in C-USA play, pounded out a season-high 28 hits on the way to their biggest win in the history of the USM series. UH scored in all but two innings during the game with at least four runs in four of the first six innings. Every Cougar starter had at least one hit in the game, and eight of the nine starters had a hit by the end of the second inning.
Junior infielder Josh Stirneman went 3-for-6 with two runs and four RBIs and tied a UH single-game record with three doubles, becoming only the 12th player in school history to accomplish that feat. Freshman catcher Luis Flores blasted a single-game best two home runs and finished 3-for-5 with a career-high five RBIs.
Junior outfielder Jake Stewart went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while senior infielder Isa Garcia batted 2-for-3 with three runs and an RBI. Junior infielder Dustin Kingsbury went 2-for-5 with two runs, a homer and four RBIs, and sophomore outfielder Bryan Tully batted 3-for-6 with four runs and an RBI. Freshman shortstop Travis Cougot also went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs, and senior Matt Weston continued his hot hitting of late, batting 3-for-6 with a double, four runs and three RBIs in the winning effort.
Junior righthander Brad Lincoln picked up his seventh straight win and improved to 8-1 after holding a Golden Eagle offense to two runs off five hits with six strikeouts in six innings of work. It was the first time in 2006 that Lincoln did not record at least seven strikeouts in a game.
USM starter Scott Massey collected the loss and dropped to 5-2 after giving up seven runs (four earned) on four hits in only 0.1 innings.
Trey Sutton batted 3-for-4 with three runs, two doubles and a home run, while Patrick Maxwell came off the bench to go 2-for-2 with a run and RBI.
The Cougars continue the series at 4 p.m., Saturday before wrapping up at 1 p.m., Sunday. Both games can be heard live over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with former UH letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans also can follow play-by-play action by clicking on the "Live Stats" link on the schedule at www.UHCougars.com.
Senior southpaw Matt Farrington will make his first Conference USA start of the 2006 season Saturday in the middle game of the Southern Miss series. This season, Farrington has compiled a 2-4 record with 20 strikeouts and a 4.03 ERA in 38.0 innings of work. Sunday's game will be his 11th appearance but seventh start.
A 2005 All-Conference USA First-Team honoree, Farrington was named to the Wallace Award Watch List for the accolade giving to the nation's top collegiate player.
He is one of only two lefthanders to start for the Cougars on the hill since Brian Henderson in the championship game of the 2003 NCAA Houston Super Regional on June 9, 2003.
Farrington threw the final three innings of the middle game of the series against No. 18 Tulane. During that time, he allowed only one run off three hits with a strikeout. However, he did not pick up a decision during Tulane's 8-4 win.
In his last start, Farrington scattered three runs off five hits with a season-high five strikeouts in 5.2 innings during a 3-2 loss to Texas A&M on March 21 at Cougar Field.
The Cougars struck for the game's first run in their first at bat. After Stewart drew a leadoff walk and moved to second when Garcia was hit by a pitch, Lincoln lined a seeing-eye single through the right side to plate Stewart. Kingsbury reached on a bunt single that loaded the bases, and Garcia scored when Weston reached on a fielder's choice. Tully then lifted a high fly ball into deep center field that was misplayed in the USM outfield, scoring Lincoln.
Stirneman then laced a double into right field that plated both runners and moved to third following a balk. Flores drove an RBI-single up the middle to plate Stirneman and knock Massey out of the game. Cougot reached on a fielder's choice and Stewart followed with an infield single. Garcia then ripped a single into right center to plate Cougot and hand the Cougars a 7-0 advantage.
USM wasted little time in cutting into that lead. Sutton led off with a double and eventually came around to score on Marc Maddox's groundout. Michael Ewing then smashed a solo homer to right center to pull the Golden Eagles to within 7-2.
UH answered with four more runs of their own in the next half inning. Kingsbury reached on an infield error and stole second base before scoring on Weston double to right center. Two batters latter, Flores smacked a two-run homer over the wall in right center. Travis Cougot reached on an infield single and stole second to move into scoring position before Stewart's RBI-single into right center gave the Cougars an 11-2 win.
In the fourth inning, Flores smashed a 2-2 offering over the left-field wall for a 12-2 Cougar lead.
One inning later, the Cougars took advantage of five hits to score five more runs. Kingsbury started the rally with a three-run homer to left field, while Flores added a sacrifice fly and Cougot chipped in with an RBI-single to right field.
In the sixth inning, the Cougars added five more runs, thanks to a wild pitch, Kingsbury's groundout, Weston's RBI-single and RBI-doubles from Stirneman and Cougot.
USM scored a single run in the seventh inning on Sutton's home run to center field.
In the eighth inning, the Cougars scored their final run of the night when Tully scored on a wild pitch.
The Golden Eagles added another run in the bottom of the inning on David Steele's RBI-single up the middle to score Ewing.
In the ninth inning, the Cougars added their final run on Stirneman's third double of the night down the right-field line.
USM scored three runs in their final at bat, thanks to Marc Maddox's RBI-single and a pair of Cougar errors.