April 23, 2006
HOUSTON - University of Houston senior outfielder Matt Weston's groundout in the bottom of the 16th inning allowed Travis Cougot to score from third base and handed the Cougars an 8-7 win over Memphis on Sunday in the finale of a Conference USA series at Cougar Field.
The Cougars, who were ranked No. 19 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll, took advantage of a walk, sacrifice bunt, hit batter and intentional walk to load the bases with only one out in the bottom of the 16th inning. Weston then hit a ground ball to second baseman Jeremy Tolliver who started the double play with a force out at second base. But Weston beat out the relay throw to first base by a couple of steps before crumpling into a heap in the dirt as Cougot scored the game-winning run.
In a game that went back and forth, Memphis appeared to grab all the momentum in the top of the 15th inning, scoring a pair of runs off Tolliver's two-out, two-run single up the middle.
However, the Cougars rallied with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. Brad Lincoln was hit by a pitch to lead off and moved into scoring position following Weston's single into right field. After Dustin Kingsbury's sacrifice bunt moved both runners up a base, Bryan Tully laced a two-out double into left field to plate both runners and tie the game again at 7-7.
Weston finished the night 3-for-7 with a homer, two runs and a team-high three RBIs to lead a Cougar offense which posted double-digit hits for the eight straight game. Junior outfielder Jake Stewart batted 4-for-7 with a run, homer and two RBIs, while junior infielder Josh Stirneman batted 2-for-5 with a double and run. Tully batted 2-for-6 with a double and two RBIs.
Junior reliever Shea Hancock collected the win and improved to 2-1 after holding the Tigers scoreless with a strikeout in the 16th inning. Sophomore reliever Barry Laird also came out of the bullpen to keep the Cougars in the game, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings with a strikeout and only one hit allowed.
Memphis reliever Lance Scoggins picked up the loss and fell to 2-2 after allowing one run off one hit in 0.2 innings of work.
Tolliver went 4-for-6 with a double, run and team-high three RBIs to lead the Tigers who outhit UH 14-13. Infielder Kyle Norrid batted 4-for-6 with a run, a double and three RBIs.
It was UH's longest game since the Cougars set an NCAA record with a 22-inning game against Baylor during the 1999 season and tied a C-USA single game record.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 28-15 overall, 12-3 in C-USA, and won for the 16th time in their last 20 games. Memphis dropped to 21-21 overall, 6-9 in C-USA, and picked up its eighth straight loss.
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m., Tuesday, when they play host to Sam Houston State at Cougar Field. The game can be heard live over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with former UH letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans also can follow play-by-play action by clicking on the "Live Stats" link on the schedule at www.UHCougars.com.
Memphis claimed the lead in the first inning on Adam Amar's RBI-single into left field that scored Will Petersen from second base.
The Cougars answered, through, in their first appearances at the plate. Isa Garcia reached on a one-out error, and two batters later, Weston crushed the first pitch he saw in the game over the right-field fence for a 2-1 UH lead.
One inning later, the Cougars scored three more runs off three hits. Stirneman led off with a double to left field and scored on Travis Cougot's looping two-out, RBI-single into shallow center field. Stewart then followed with a two-run homer to left field for a 5-1 Cougar lead.
The Tigers pulled to within 5-2 in the top of the fifth on Cory Barton's sacrifice fly to right field and closed the gap to only two runs in the seventh inning on Tolliver's RBI-single into right field.
The score remained that way until the ninth when the Tigers' knotted the game at 5-5 on pinch-hitter Chris Newsom's two-run single up the middle.