April 23, 2004
HOUSTON - University of Houston senior righthander Matt Varner struck out a career-best eight batters and held Cincinnati to only four hits over eight shutout innings to lead the Cougars to a 17-0 win in the first-game of a Conference USA series at Cougar Field on Friday night.
The West Columbia, Texas, native improved to 5-3 this season in facing only three batters over the minimum and equaled the UH season-high strikeout total by any Cougar pitcher this season.
Meanwhile, the Cougar offense continued its hot play of plate, pounding out 19 hits in the win. It marked the fourth straight game that the Cougars pounded out 16 hits and was the team's biggest win since taking a 27-5 decision over Illinois State on March 8, 1993. The 17 runs also was the highest total since UH claimed a 19-6 win over USF during the C-USA Tournament on May 19, 2000.
All but one Cougar starter rapped out at least one hit in the game with seven players posting at least two hits. Cole Bruce went 3-for-6 with three runs, a home run and three RBIs while Stuart Musslewhite batted 3-for-5 with a pair of runs to extend his career- and UH-season best hitting streak to 13 consecutive games.
Kevin Roberts batted 3-for-5 with four runs and two RBIs, and Thanos Papavasiliou went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI for the Cougars. Rob Johnson tied his career-best hitting streak to seven games with a pair of hits, and Brett Logan and Matt Farrington added two hits each with Farrington blasting a grand slam home run in the Cougars' eight-run eighth inning.
Cincinnati starter Chase Lampl collected the loss and dropped to 0-3 after allowing seven runs (only three earned) off eight hits with a strikeout in four innings of work.
Jim Olds came off the UC bench to bat 2-for-2 in the losing effort.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 18-22 overall, 10-6 in C-USA play, and extended their winning streak to a season-best four straight games. Cincinnati dropped to 8-29 overall, 2-14 in league action.
The Cougars continue the series against the Bearcats at 7 p.m., Saturday. The game can be heard live on over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling the action. Fans also can follow the action through live stats by clicking on the Gametracker at the bottom of the main page at www.UHCougars.com.
The Cougars grabbed the early lead in the second inning with a pair of runs, thanks to two hits and a UC error. Papavasiliou started the rally with a one-out single, moved to second on a fielder's choice and raced all the way home from second base when a throw on a UC double-play attempt went wide to first base.
Logan, who reached base on the fielder's choice and moved to second on the errant throw, then scored on Farrington's double to left field.
In the third inning, the Cougars broke the game open with three more runs off four hits and another error. After back-to-back singles from Bruce and Musslewhite, Roberts plated Bruce with a single to left center, and Musslewhite took advantage of an errant throw from the outfield that rolled into the Cougar dugout to score the second run of the inning. Papavasiliou then capped the Cougar scoring with an RBI-single to right center to score Roberts and give UH a 5-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, the Cougars struck for five more runs. Musslewhite led off with a single and stole second to move into scoring position. After advancing on another UC error, Musslewhite scored on wild pitch. Logan then plated Roberts with an RBI-single through the left side of the UC infield.
The Cougars added two more runs in the seventh inning. With one out, Roberts scored when he and Nick Bott combined on a double steal of second base and home. Brett Logan then plated Bott with a double into right field for a 9-0 Cougar lead.
UH erupted for eight runs in their final at bat with Farrington's grand slam, Bruce's three run homer and an RBI-single from Roberts creating the runs.