April 20, 2013
HOUSTON -- Despite another impressive start by senior Austin Pruitt, University of Houston Baseball wasn't able to answer with runners in scoring position, falling 4-0, to Rice on Saturday afternoon in C-USA play at Cougar Field.
Win: Austin Kubitza (6-2)
Loss: Austin Pruitt (7-3)
Save: Zech Lemond (9)
NUMBERS OF NOTE
0 For the 13th time this season the Cougars played a game without committing an error. 8.1 After his 8.1 inning effort, Austin Pruitt has now pitched six or more innings in all 10 of his starts this season. 12 With his walk in the third inning, junior Frankie Ratcliff has now reached base safely in 12 consecutive games.
The Cougars fell to 27-12 and 7-4 in league play with the loss, while the Owls improved to 27-14 and 8-6 and evened the weekend Silver Glove Series - set for a rubber match at 1 p.m. Sunday.
A true pitchers' duel was on the line in the nationally-televised contest, as Pruitt (8.1,4,4,4,1,3) went up against C-USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year Austin Kubitza (7.0,2,0,0,3,10).
Pruitt worked a one-run, two-hit game until the ninth, but saw his offense struggle a bit against Kubitza, who earned the win with 7.0-shutout innings, allowing just two hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts for the win to improve to 6-2.
Despite his 10th straight start of lasting 6.0 or more innings, Pruitt was tagged with the loss, falling to 7-3 on the year, allowing four runs on four hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
A scoreless game was broken up in the third when Rice plated a run without a hit as its leadoff hitter that frame reached on a walk, moved up on a sacrifice bunt, took third on a ball in the dirt and scored on a groundout.
What then looked to be a 1-0 game heading into the ninth, the Owls would put together their best offensive inning of the game, tallying two hits - including a two-run homerun.
Houston had its opportunities early as the Cougars stranded bases loaded in the third and at least one over four straight middle innings.
The Cougars tallied just three hits, led by freshman Justin Montemayor's (1x3, 2B) double to lead off the ninth. Freshman Kyle Survance (1x4) and junior Jonathan Davis (1x3) each picked up a hit.
Houston's defense was once again impressive as Davis racked up six assists at third base, including two ending-inning groundouts.
Sophomore Ryan Vruggink (0.2,0,0,0,1,1) fanned one and induced a groundout in his 0.2 inning in relief, while Rice reliever Zech Lemond (2.0,1,0,0,1,1) earned his league-leading ninth save with his 2.0-inning relief effort, allowing one hit and one walk with a strikeout.
Thoughts on the game
"Today was just an example of great pitching. You had two of the best pitchers in collegiate baseball facing each other today. It's like I told the team just now, we gave everything we had today and I can't be upset with that. I'm really proud of the effort we gave today. All we can do is bounce back and get ready for tomorrow."
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Houston and Rice will wrap up the weekend series at 1 p.m. Sunday at Cougar Field.