April 16, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Kevin Coker's bases-clearing double in the bottom of the seventh inning broke a 6-6 tie and helped lift No. 22 Southern Miss to a 14-7 win over the University of Houston baseball team Sunday in the finale of a Conference USA series at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
Trailing 6-4, the Golden Eagles took advantage of two walks, three hits and a hit batter to score the runs and avoid the sweep. Luke Adkins drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 6-6. UH reliever Clayton Boone then struck out the next two batters before Coker's double handed USM a 9-6 lead.
The Cougars had jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first two-and-a-half innings before USM pulled to within two after scoring three runs in the bottom of the third inning. The two teams traded single runs in the fifth inning before the Golden Eagles seized control of the game in the seventh.
UH reliever Aaron Brown collected the loss and fell to 1-3 after surrendering four runs off three hits and a hit batter with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings of work.
Senior infielder Isa Garcia went 4-for-5 with a home run and two runs to lead a Cougar offensive, which rapped out 13 hits, including five home runs. Junior infielder Josh Stirneman batted 2-for-4 with a solo homer, while freshman shortstop Travis Cougot batted 2-for-4. Senior outfielder Matt Weston also blasted a three-run homer in the third inning, his second home run in as many games.
USM closer Daniel Best collected the win and improved to 4-1 after holding the Cougars to two runs off seven hits with five strikeouts in the final five innings.
Johnson went 3-for-5 with two home runs, three runs scored and four RBIs to lead USM which outhit the Cougars 16-13. Marc Maddox batted 2-for-4 with three runs and a solo homer. Luke Adkins batted 3-for-4 with two runs, a stolen base and two RBIs, while Coker finished the night 3-for-4 with a homer, double and four RBIs. Jody Blount batted 2-for-5 with an RBI in the winning effort.
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 24-15 overall, 9-3 in C-USA games. Southern Miss improved to 26-12 overall and 5-4 in league games.
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m., Tuesday when they meet Texas A&M at Olsen Field in College Station, Texas. UH will be looking for some revenge after the Aggies walked away with a 3-2 win at Cougar Field on March 21.
That game 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.
The Cougars struck for the game's first run in the second inning when Josh Stirneman blasted a one-out offering over the center field wall.
One inning later, UH four more runs. Jake Stewart led off with a homer over the wall in left center. After back-to-back singles from Garcia and Dustin Kingsbury, Weston launched a 3-0 offering the centerfield fence to hand the Cougars a 5-0 lead and knock USM starter Cliff Russum from the game.
The Golden Eagles put their first marks on the scoreboard in the third inning on Coker's leadoff homer down the left-field line. Three batters later, Johnson hit an opposite-field homer to left center field to pull USM to within 5-3.
The score remained that way until the fifth inning when Brad Lincoln blasted a 1-1 offering over the wall in left center field for a 6-3 UH lead.
In the next half inning, though, Maddox pulled the Golden Eagles to within 6-4 on a solo homer to center field.
USM pulled to within a run when Johnson's RBI-single up the middle plated Sutton, who led off the seventh inning with a double down the right-field line. After Maddox was hit by a pitch, Ewing drew a walk to load the bases. Adkins drew a walk to force in Johnson and knot the game at 6-6 and set the stage for Cocker's heroics.
The Golden Eagles iced the game in the eighth inning with five runs, courtesy of back-to-back homers from Sutton and Johnson, a wild pitch and RBI-singles from Blount and Adkins.