April 17, 2014
No. 12 HOUSTON
HOUSTON - No. 12 Houston Baseball rallied back to score two runs on two outs in the eighth to earn a 3-2 win over USF Thursday evening in American Athletic Conference at Cougar Field. The Cougars improved to 28-9 overall and 5-5 in league play.
With the win, Houston has now won 20 games at Cougar Field this season for a 20-5 record on its home FieldTurf.
Overcoming a one-run deficit was accomplished when Houston strung together three hits in the eighth, including back-to-back two-out knocks by junior Michael Pyeatt and sophomore Justin Montemayor to put Houston ahead at 3-2.
The Cougars pounded out 11 hits as every starter recorded a base knock. Pyeatt (2x4, RBI) and Montemayor (2x4, R, RBI) lead the charge with two hits and an RBI apiece. Joining that duo in the hit column was sophomore Kyle Survance (1x4, R), senior Casey Grayson (1x2, R, 2 BB), sophomore Josh Vidales (1x3), freshman Jordan (1x3, RBI), senior Caleb Barker (1x2), sophomore Ashford Fulmer (1x4), and freshman Connor Hollis (1x4).
Houston starter Aaron Garza (6.2,7,2,1,0,4) went 6.2 innings, allowed seven hits, no walks and just one earned run with four strikeouts - but exited with Houston down to receive the no-decision.
Senior reliever Aaron Stewart (0.0,1,0,0,1,0) relieved Garza, but then handed the ball over to junior Jared Robinson (1.1,0,0,0,1,1) who pitched 1.1 hitless frames with a walk and strikeout to record his third win of the year and improve to 3-1.
He was key in the seventh inning when he took over for Stewart and Garza with bases loaded and was able to keep USF off the board with an inning-ending strikeout to give Houston a chance to rally late.
Senior closer Chase Wellbrock (1.0,0,0,0,0,0) took over in the ninth and shut the Bulls down with a 1-2-3 frame to earn his eighth save of the year and 20th of his career.
USF grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first following a single, error and sacrifice fly, but Houston would respond in the latter half of the second to tie the game on a an RBI-single by Stading. Montemayor opened the frame with a leadoff single, took advantage of a balk and later scored from second on Stading's single.
The Bulls then went back ahead with another run in the third on two hits and a hit-by-pitch. Houston had a chance to score in the bottom of the fifth when Vidales singled into right field, but Hollis was thrown out at home attempting to tie the game.
USF loaded the bases in the seventh, but Robinson, coming out of the pen, replacing Stewart, who took over for Garza, was able to come in and slam the door with a huge strikeout to keep the score 2-1.
Houston, down by one, in the eighth was sparked by three hits as Survance lead off the frame with a single up the middle, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Vidales before Grayson walked to put runners at first and second with one out. A popout followed, but that didn't hurt the Cougars as Pyeatt worked a 3-2 count and drove the next pitch up the middle to tie the game. Montemayor, after a pitching change, followed with his own up-the-middle single to give Houston the lead.
USF starter Jimmy Herget (7.2,10,3,3,2,3) came into the game with a 1.03 ERA - one of the conference's top starters, but suffered the loss after allowing 10 hits and two walks and three runs in his 7.2 innings of work. He fell to 5-5 on the year.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
"That might be the best game we played all year. You look at the scoreboard that says 3-2, and we had to come back in the 8th inning to win. I felt offensively that might have been the best game we've played. We had one, what I would call a non-quality at-bat all night. We're hitting balls hard, but we got kicked in the pants all night. They were making diving plays left and right, and throwing us out at home plate."
"You have to tip your hat to our team, because they never got down. We could've shut that thing down and gotten beat. (Aaron) Garza and (Jared) Robinson pitched out of some huge jams. USF was one swing away from putting some serious separation in that game. They came through and pitched well. Tonight we had clutch hits, while battling all night long against a really good USF pitcher. That guy came in with a 1.03 ERA, and that's the thing about this league is that it's a very good league with very good pitching on the weekends. Tonight we beat a really good pitcher."
On his game winning hit
"Coach (Todd) Whitting told me before I went to the plate that I was in control of everything. That's all I was thinking about the entire time, and I was looking for a pitch to hit. Us being able to come back and win shows that we never give up. It doesn't matter if we're down by a run or ten runs we're always going to battle until the 9th to get the win."
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The Cougars will continue their three-game series with USF on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and will wrap up on Saturday at Noon. Following Saturday's game, Houston will host an Easter Egg Hunt at Cougar Field. All kids (eighth grade and younger) must bring their own basket to participate.
By visiting UHCougars.com, clicking the Tickets link, and then Purchase Tickets, while following the appropriate links to the Baseball page or by clicking here, fans can begin purchasing tickets for single games at Cougar Field this season.
KIDS (8th grade & younger) with CAMP T-SHIRT GET IN FREE
Kids who show up to Cougar Field in a UH Baseball Camp T-Shirt and are in the eighth grade or younger will receive FREE ADMISSION to any Houston Baseball home game.