Baseball Drops 4-3 Heartbreaker to USF
April 18, 2014
HOUSTON – Houston Baseball was inches away from tying the game in the bottom of the ninth, but its ninth-inning threat fell just short as the Cougars dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to USF on Friday evening at Cougar Field.
With the loss, Houston fell to 28-10 on the year and 5-6 in conference play, while USF improved to 22-16 and 8-6 in league play.
Houston out hit USF, 9-8, but it was the four-run first inning by the Bulls that proved to be the difference in the game as USF’s pitching held the Cougars to just three runs in the contest.
Senior Casey Grayson put together one of the best offensive days of his Cougar career, tallying a 3-for-5 effort with one run and two RBI, including a two-run homerun – his fourth of the year – in the first inning.
Joining Grayson with a multi-hit game was sophomore Ashford Fulmer (2x4), while sophomore Justin Montemayor (1x4), junior Michael Pyeatt (1x4), senior Daniel Smith (1x1) and sophomore Josh Vidales (1x4, 2 R) – who scored two of the three Cougar runs.
Houston starter Jake Lemoine (8.0,8,4,4,3,7) struck out seven and walked three, while allowing four runs on eight his in 8.0 innings. After surrendering four runs in the first inning, Lemoine came back and struck out seven and threw 7.0 shutout frames, giving Houston a chance to win late.
Sophomore reliever Bubba Maxwell (1.0,0,0,0,0,1) struck out one and didn’t allow a hit in his 1.0 innng out of the pen.
USF scored four runs in the first inning on four hits, putting the Cougars down 4-0 heading into their first at-bat. Houston didn’t let the Bulls hold the four-run lead for long as Grayson drove the first pitch he saw off the scoreboard, plating himself and Vidales to make it a 4-2 game.
USF starter Casey Mulholland (5.1,6,2,2,3,2) held the Cougars without a run over the next 4.1 innings to earn the win to improve to 4-0 before handing the ball off to reliever Lawrence Pardo (3.2,3,1,1,0,4) who worked 3.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts to earn his second save.
Houston scratched across a run in the seventh after a leadoff hit by Vidales and a single through the right side by Grayson to put runners at the corners with no outs. Fulmer grounded into a double play, but that was able to score Vidales to make it a 4-3 game.
Houston had a huge opportunity in the ninth, down by one, as Smith opened the frame with a single. Senior Landon Appling pinch ran at first and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Kyle Survance. Vidales then grounded out to second – moving Appling to third with two outs and Grayson up. Grayson worked a 3-2 count and hit a ball in the six hole that the shortstop was able to handle to end the game.
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