TAMPA, Fla. -- In what played out to be the expected pitchers' duel it was, Houston starter Andrew Lantrip struck out a career-high 13 hitters, but the Cougars would eventually fall 2-1 in an 11-inning American Athletic Conference heartbreaker to league-leader USF on Friday evening.
With the loss, the Cougars snapped their four-game win streak and fell to 27-15 on the year and 7-6 in league action, while USF improved to 28-14-1 and 9-4 in the American Athletic Conference.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
0 -- Houston played an errorless baseball game, its third in the last four contests.
9 -- The Houston pitching staff struck out 14 -- making that nine games this season with 10+ strikeouts.
11 -- Ian Rice walked to extend his on-base streak to a team-leading 11 straight games.
13 -- Andrew Lantrip struck out a career-high 13 USF hitters.
Lantrip (8.1,6,1,1,1,13) was electric in his 11th start of the year, striking out a career-high 13 and allowing just one run on six hits and a walk in 8.1 innings of work. He would leave the game with a 1-1 tie and be credited with the no-decision -- his third straight this season.
The Livingston, Texas native kept USF hitters in check, retiring 10 of the first 11 he faced. Even after allowing a leadoff single in the fourth in a 0-0 game, Lantrip would induce an infield fly, flyout to center field and a strikeout to keep USF off the board.
Houston would be the first to break open the 0-0 stalemate when it plated a run in the top of the fifth inning. Freshman Corey Julks opened the frame, reaching third on a double and error. One pitch later, the Cougars took the lead on a sacrifice fly by junior Justin Montemayor.
Leading 1-0 in the seventh, Houston looked to be in control to extend its lead when Julks and Montemayor made it first and third with one out following back-to-back hits. A squeeze attempt fell in favor of USF as Julks was put out at the plate for the second out of the inning.
The Bulls would then strike in the latter half of the frame when the No. 4 hole hitter led off with a single into right field and took second on a one-out walk, later scoring on an RBI-single into center field to tie the game at 1-1 with two outs in the inning.
Junior Kyle Survance drove a pitch off the right field wall for a stand up triple to open the top of the eighth, but Conference Preseason Pitcher of the Year Jimmy Herget for USF worked around that leadoff hit and kept Houston off the board, as a groundout and two strikeouts followed in the inning.
Lantrip would hand the ball over to junior reliever Patrick Weigel (1.2,0,1,1,2,0) in the ninth after USF threatened with a leadoff single and one-out intentional walk. Weigel would throw three pitches and escape the inning after inducing a double play groundout to keep the game tied at 1-1 and force extra innings.
Junior Jacob Campbell doubled to open the 11th inning, but pinch runner Robert Grilli would be gunned down at the plate, trying to score on a 1-out fielder's choice grounder by Montemayor to erase any threat of the Cougars taking the lead.
USF would take advantage of a leadoff walk and follow that up with a hit-by-pitch to put two runners on with no outs in the bottom of the 11th off Weigel. Freshman left-hander Aaron Fletcher (0.1,2,0,0,0,1) would take over and strikeout the first hitter he faces, but a single loads the bases with one out in the inning, allowing USF to win in in the next at-bat on a walkoff RBI-single through the right side, making it 2-1.
Houston pitchers (Lantrip, Weigel, Fletcher) combined for 14 strikeouts - marking the third time that total has come this season. Weigel would suffer his first loss as a Cougar, falling to 4-1 on the year.
Offensively, Julks and Campbell each led the team with two hits, while Julks scored the Cougars only run. Montemayor singled and drove in the team's only RBI on a sacrifice fly, while Survance tripled and freshman Connor Wong and junior Ashford Fulmer each singled.
Houston and USF will continue the three-game series with a 3:30 pm CT game on Saturday, which will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Single game tickets for the remaining eight home games at Cougar Field can be purchased by clicking here: UHCougars.com/Basetickets.
Along with the online option, fans can purchase tickets by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office at TDECU Stadium Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or can call 713-GO-COOGS.
Houston Baseball offers variable pricing on its single-game tickets and group rates.
For the first time ever, the pricing breakdown will be determined whether or not you purchase your single-game tickets online vs. at the gate the day of the game as well as whether the Cougars play on a weekday (Monday-Thursday) or weekend (Friday-Sunday).
Weekday: Monday-Thursday; Weekend: Friday-Sunday.
As noted in the table, variable pricing occurs. For weekday (Tuesday nights) online purchases, fans can take in a game, ranging from $5-$7 depending on the choice of seating. If you choose to purchase the day of the game as a Weekday Walk-Up, you will pay roughly $2 more than the online price ($7-$9).
Weekend (Friday-Sunday) online pricing will range from $6-$8 per game, while Weekend Walk-Up pricing the day of the game will run a fan anywhere from $8-$10.
Group rates are also available (as noted in the table). Weekday (Tuesday) and Weekend (Friday-Sunday) pricing occurs. Groups of 10-24 are set at $4-$5 per person, while groups of 25+ are $3-$4 per person.
HOW TO PURCHASE
To purchase tickets in advance, fans must visit the Athletics Ticket Stadium Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or you can call 713-GO-COOGS.
JOIN THE DUGOUT CLUB
Nationally-ranked Houston Baseball would like to encourage those wishing to support the efforts and success of the baseball student-athletes to consider joining the Dugout Club for as low as $25 a month or $300 annually.
For a minimum monthly installment of $25 or a minimum one-time gift of $300, supporters can take advantage of the Pinch Hitter level, which will guarantee an invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball team apparel.
For a minimum monthly installment of $100 or a minimum one-time gift of $1,000, supporters can take advantage of the Diamond level, which will guarantee batting practice passes for two to any home game, invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball apparel.
**Cougar Pride points will be applied accordingly.
For more information on joining the Dugout Club, please contact the Houston Baseball office at (713) 743-9396.
For more information regarding Cougar Pride, please call (713) 743-GOUH.
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.