April 16, 2002
HOUSTON, Texas - Chris Kolkhorst's three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted Rice from a 5-4 deficit to a 7-5 win over the University of Houston in the finale of the 2002 Silver Glove Series on Tuesday night at Reckling Park.
With Rice trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the inning, Paul Janish started the Rice rally with a double to left field. After an infield groundout, pinch-hitter Jeff Blackinton drew a walk off UH reliever Austin Faught. Kolkhorst then blasted the second pitch he saw from Faught over the right field fence to lift the Owls to the thrilling win.
The loss spoiled the performance of the Cougar bullpen, which had kept the Owl offense scoreless and hitless in four straight innings entering the final frame. Relievers Ryan Wagner, Matt Hooper and Brian Henderson combined to strike out five with only walk before the ninth inning.
The seventh-ranked Cougars saw their five-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 27-11 overall. Rice improved to 32-8 with the win.
Before the ninth inning, each team managed all of its offense in only one inning. The Owls took an early lead in the third inning when they struck for four runs on back-to-back, two-run doubles from Eric Arnold and Vincent Sinisi.
The score remained that way until the seventh inning when UH pounded out five hits and took advantage of three Rice errors to take a 5-4 lead. Hyung Cho started the inning with a single to right field and moved to second on Rice reliever Wade Townsend's errant pickoff attempt.
Michael Bourn then reached on a Rice infield error, and Cho scored the Cougars' first run of the night when Keith Whatley's ground ball was misplayed by Rice first baseman Vincent Sinisi. Chris Snyder followed with a double to left center that plated Bourn and pinch-runner Sam Mitchell and scored the game-tying run on Brett Cooley's single up the middle.
Jesse Crain's single up the middle put runners on first and second, and Stuart Musslewhite's single to right field scored Cooley and gave the Cougars a 5-4 lead.
Snyder went 2-for-5 with a run, double and two RBIs to lead the Cougar offense which outhit Rice 9-7 in the game. Crain batted 2-for-3, while Cooley's 1-for-4 effort with a run and RBI extended his hitting streak to a career-best nine games.
The Cougars return home this weekend to play host to Conference USA rival Cincinnati in a three-game series, starting with 7 p.m. games on Friday and Saturday. The series concludes with a 1 p.m. contest Sunday.
UH will put its 25-game home winning streak in C-USA play on the line against the Bearcats, who are ironically the last league member to win at Cougar Field on April 15, 2000.
2002 STERLING BANK SILVER GLOVE ALL-SERIES TEAM 1B - Vincent Sinisi, Rice. 2B - Eric Arnold, Rice. 3B - Hyung Cho, Houston. OF - Chris Kolkhorst, Rice, Gabe Lucas, Houston, Michael Bourn, Houston, Austin Davis, Rice. C - Chris Snyder, Houston. P - Danny Zell, Houston, Justin Crowder, Rice, David Aardsma, Rice. Wild Card - Jesse Crain, Houston. Most Outstanding Player - A.J. Porfirio, Rice.