April 16, 2004
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Aaron Thompson's RBI double in the sixth inning broke a 3-3 tie, and starter Dave Guntorius made it hold up the rest of the way as Saint Louis took a 4-3 win over the University of Houston baseball team on Friday in the opener of a Conference USA series at the Billiken Sports Center.
The loss snapped UH's 18-game winning streak against the Billikens, dating back to the 1998 regular season. It also dropped the Cougars to 14-22 overall and 7-6 in C-USA play. Saint Louis improved to 11-24 overall and 2-10 in league action.
Saint Louis jumped out to an early lead and never trailed in the contest. After each inning in which the Cougars scored a run, the Billikens responded in their next at-bat with a run.
After the Cougars clawed their way back to tie the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning, the Billikens took advantage of a walk and two hits to score the eventual game-winning run. Jon Guyre started the rally with an infield single and stole second base to move into scoring position. Following a Cougar pitching change, Thompson laced a 2-1 pitch down the left field line to score Guyre and give the Billikens the lead for good.
That would be all the support that Guntorius would need. The righthander earned the complete-game victory, holding the Cougar to only three runs off eight hits with five strikeouts in improving to 2-5. The Cougars threatened in the eighth inning, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but the Billiken hurler forced a flyout to end the threat and then retired the Cougar side in order in the ninth inning.
UH starter Matt Varner dropped to 4-3 after giving up four runs off seven hits with five strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.
Travis Tully went 2-for-4 with a run, and Cole Bruce batted 2-for-3 with a run to lead the Cougar offense. Stuart Musslewhite went 1-for-4 with an RBI and extended his hitting streak to a career-best-tying nine straight games.
Five different Billiken hitters -Thompson, Guyre, Scott Peden, Drew Eder and Bill Musselman - recorded two hits apiece to lead SLU.
The Cougars (14-21) continue the series at 1 p.m., Saturday. Sophomore righthander Kevin Roberts (2-3, 5.73) is slated to make the first start of his collegiate career for the Cougars, while the Billikens are slated to throw righthander Tim Landy (0-4, 6.75)
The game can be heard live on 88.3 FM KAXF or over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling the action. Fans also can follow the action through live stats by clicking on the Gametracker at the bottom of the main page at www.UHCougars.com.
The Billikens struck for the first run in their first at-bat when Peden's RBI-single plated John Bridges, who drew a leadoff walk.
The Cougars knotted the game in the second inning. Cole Bruce led off with a double into right center. Two batters later, Rob Johnson's double into the left center gap plated Bruce and put the score at 1-1.
However, SLU regained the lead in the next half inning, thanks to three hits. After Patrick Valdez slapped an infield single to lead off and a single from Musselman, Bridges's RBI-single through the left side of the Cougar infield gave the Billikens a 2-1 lead.
In the third inning, SLU added to its lead with another run. After Kyle Wort drew a one-out walk and stole second base, Eder's ground ball to second baseman Kevin Roberts took a sudden bounce over the Cougar defender's head, allowing Wort to score.
UH took advantage of a key error and two hits to tie the game in the sixth inning. After Tully blasted a double into right field, he advanced when Guntorius fielded Matt Farrington's sacrifice bunt attempt but was wild on his throw to third base and scored when the throw went down the left field line.
Farrington moved all the way to second base on the errant throw and advanced to third on a groundout. After a walk to Bruce, Musslewhite ripped an RBI-single into center field to tie the game at 3-3.