April 19, 2013
HOUSTON -- University of Houston Baseball used a five-run fifth inning and pounded out 10 hits en route to an 8-7 Conference USA win over No. 22 Rice on Friday evening in the opener of the Silver Glove Series at Cougar Field.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
9 Junior Frankie Ratcliff had three runs batted in as part of a 3-for-4 night at the plate for his team leading ninth multi-RBI game of the season. 11 After his triple in the first inning, Frankie Ratcliff has now reached base safely in 11 consecutive games. 17 With the Cougar's 10 hit performance against Rice, Houston now has 10 or more hits in 17 games this season.
The win improved Houston's record to 27-11 and its league mark to 7-3 to remain atop the standings through its first 10 games. Rice fell to 26-14 and 7-6 in Conference USA action with the loss.
It was a five-hit, five-run fifth inning that made all the difference in the Cougars' win as Houston totaled 10 hits in the game, led by junior Frankie Ratcliff, (3x4, R, 3 RBI) who tripled twice and drove in three RBI.
Junior Jonathan Davis (2x4, 2 RBI) was equally impressive, plating two on his two base hits, including a key RBI in the seventh inning - which proved to be the difference down the stretch.
Also picking up two base knocks was freshman Kyle Survance (2x4, 2 R, RBI) who drove in a run and scored twice. Freshman Josh Vidales (1x3, R, RBI) drove in a run and scored once, while drawing two walks. Contributing with hits were freshman Justin Montemayor (1x3, R) and junior Landon Appling (1x4, R), while junior Caleb Barker (0x4, R, RBI) picked up an RBI on a groundout.
Junior starter Daniel Poncedeleon (5.2,7,4,4,4,4) improved to 5-3 after tossing 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Fellow junior reliever Chase Wellbrock (2.0,0,0,0,0,0) closed out the game with 2.0 hitless innings for his sixth save of the season.
In relief of Poncedeleon was senior Matt Hernandez (1.1,2,3,2,1,2), who worked 1.1 innings out of the pen, allowing two earned runs on two hits and one walk with two strikeouts. Despite allowing two runs, his effort was key as he escaped back-to-back inning threats by the Owls with inning-ending strikeouts.
Rice jumped on board in the first with two early runs on three hits, but the Cougars didn't allow that lead change to affect them as they responded with their own two runs. A one-out double by Survance got Houston going as he was plated on a Ratcliff triple, his first of the night. Barker followed up with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2.
After two scoreless frames and a 2-2 stalemate, Rice took its second lead of the game in the fourth on an RBI-single following a leadoff double.
Down 3-2, the Cougars bounced back once again with five runs in the fifth as the first eight batters reached base. A leadoff walk by Fulmer sparked the frame as Appling, Vidales, Survance and Ratcliff all followed with base hits - including the two-run triple by the junior shortstop - his second of the game.
Rice chipped away at Houston's 7-3 lead with a run in the sixth, but the Cougars plated their eighth run on Davis' RBI-single through the right side to hold a steady pace. A three-run eighth frame by the Owls would make things interesting, but Wellbrock was able to retire all five hitters he faced for the save and close out the victory for Houston.
Rice starter Jordan Stephens (4.0,7,7,7,2,5) suffered the loss, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts for the Owls to fall to 4-3 this season.
Note: The last game in which a Cougar tripled twice was vs. Harvard back on March 20 of this year when freshman Ashford Fulmer accomplished the feat. The Houston offense continues to pace the league with now 18 triples - Ratcliff with six.
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Todd Whitting
Thoughts on the game
"I told the team just now that tonight was a complete team effort. Up and down the lineup we had guys making things happen offensively. We really had some timely hitting tonight. Ponce (Daniel Poncedeleon) struggled a little bit tonight, but he did enough to keep us in the game. He wouldn't let them throw a knockout punch. I'm really proud of the team for coming back with two runs after they had scored two runs. Chase Wellbrock has huge guts, and he really got after it tonight. Overall I'm really proud of the team."
Thoughts on the game
"This is a big series for us, and it's always good to start off the series with a win. We played really hard as a team today and came out with a win."
On your approach at the plate
I felt good at the plate tonight. I've been working with coach to really stay short on the ball, and get good pitches to hit. Tonight the whole lineup did a good job of that tonight. They have some really good arms over there, and tonight we took good swings at pitches in our zone. We got a lot of hits out of it, and did a good job today"
Thoughts on the game
"It was a great win for our program tonight. We always talk about winning as a team, and that's what we were able to do tonight. We were able to pass the bats on offense, play good defense, and our pitchers threw strikes. Tonight at the plate, I was trying to keep it simple. I was able to get good pitches in the zone to get good swings on."
SATURDAY - TELEVISED ON FOX SPORTS (FSN)
· For viewing information, CLICK HERE.
· For Houston viewers who have television providers that feature FOX Sports Network, the game will be televised live on FOX Sports Southwest.
Houston holds an all-time record of 4-4 in game televised on FOX Sports and 25-39 on 14 networks since 1985.
SATURDAY BINGO AT THE BALLPARK
· Come out to Cougar Field every Saturday for Bingo at the Ballpark.
· Fans will be given a Houston Cougar Bingo card that they can fill out as they watch the game.
· Support the Coogs, play Bingo and win exciting Houston Cougar prizes!
SUNDAY KIDS DAY
· Every Sunday is Kids Day at Cougar Field.
· Bring the family and enjoy an afternoon of baseball with the Houston Cougars.
· Kids will have the opportunity to participate in National Anthem Buddies, Kids Run the Bases, as well as a special post-game autograph session with the team.
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.
Houston and Rice will continue its three-game series at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Cougar Field. The game will be televised nationally on FOX Sports Net.