April 25, 2014
No. 12 HOUSTON
CINCINNATI, Ohio - No. 12 Houston Baseball cranked out seven extra-base hits en route to an 11-4 victory at Cincinnati in Game 1 of the three-game weekend set to earn its 30th win of the year on Friday evening.
The win lifted Houston's overall record to 30-11 and its conference mark to 7-6. The Cougars also improved to 8-2 on the road this season and have now won three straight conference road games.
Houston scored seven runs in the final four innings, while holding Cincinnati scoreless to break up the 4-4 tie that was present heading into the sixth.
14 hits and seven extra-base hits accompanied 10 RBI and several career-bests.
Highlighted by the offense late, the game became all Houston's when senior reliever Tyler Ford shut the Bearcats down in the final four frames after they evened the score on a two-run homerun in the sixth inning.
Ford (5.0,6,1,1,1,6) struck out a career-high six in 5.0 innings of work out of the pen to improve to 5-0 on the year. In the win, Ford allowed just one run on six scattered hits and only one walk.
Offensively, sophomore Justin Montemayor notched a career-tying four hits on a career-high three doubles in a 4-for-5 effort with three runs scored. He opened the game 4-for-4 and led off three straight innings with a double and scored in all three of those innings.
Senior Casey Grayson, who finished 2-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI, while reaching base in his 15th consecutive game and tallying his 10th straight game with a base hit remained hot at the plate. Senior Caleb Barker was 2-for-5 with two doubles, three runs (a career-high) and two RBI.
Sophomore Kyle Survance (1x3, 2 R, 2 RBI) drove in two on his second homerun of the year - a moon shot over the right field wall in the third. Also tallying a multi-hit game was freshman Connor Hollis (2x4, R, RBI) who drove in one and scored a run on two hits and a sacrifice bunt. Junior Michael Pyeatt (1x3, RBI) drove in a run, while sophomore Ashford Fulmer (1x5, R) and senior Jacob Lueneburg (1x1) each added hits. Senior Frankie Ratcliff picked up an RBI.
Houston grabbed the early lead with a run in the second following a leadoff double by Montemayor, who later scored on an RBI-groundout that was a high chopper by Ratcliff. The Cougars then padded their lead with two more runs in the third on Survance's second homerun of the year, scoring Barker - who doubled with one out.
Cincinnati - after threatening in the early going - found a way to plate two runs and trim Houston's lead to 3-2 on three hits and a leadoff hit-by-pitch. The Cougars then went up 4-2 in the fourth - scoring in its third straight frame - after Montemayor, again, led off the inning with a double into right center and later scoring on a first-pitch single off the bat of Pyeatt.
After allowing Cincinnati's fifth-inning leadoff hitter to reach via a hit-by-pitch, the Bearcats' three-hole hitter Justin Glass connected on a two-run homerun to make it a 4-4 game.
The Cougars settled in and got their offense rolling in the later innings - which included one run in the sixth, two in the seventh and four in the eighth to go up 11-4. In those three innings, Houston connected for seven hits and took advantage of four late errors by Cincinnati.
Of the six hits, three were for doubles. The big eighth inning began when Hollis reached on a single into centerfield - which was followed by back-to-back doubles by Fulmer and Barker - who plated two on his second extra-base hit of the night.
Grayson then followed with a one-out, two-run single into left center - scoring Barker and Survance for the Cougars' 10th and 11th runs, respectively.
Houston starter Aaron Garza (4.0,6,3,3,2,2) pitched 4.0 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts - leaving with a no-decision.
Cincinnati's offense stranded 12 runners - thanks in large part to the pitching effort by both Garza and Ford to work around jams and induce inning-ending popouts or in Ford's case, striking out the side after back-to-back singles in the sixth.
Bearcat reliever Colton Cleary (4.0,7,7,4,0,1) allowed seven runs (four earned) on seven hits in just 4.0 innings of work to fall to 0-2 with the loss.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
Thoughts on the game
"I thought we played extremely hard. [Aaron] Garza didn't have his best stuff, but it was nice to see the offense step up and help out the pitching staff for once. Tyler Ford battled his tail off. Cincinnati got a bunch of good swings in on us tonight. This is a tough place to play. This field plays extremely fast. May be one of the fastest I've seen. I thought we handled the early adversity well and kept grinding away and eventually had the big inning to put the game away."
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Houston and Cincinnati will continue its three-game series on Saturday. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. CT. The weekend set will conclude on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT.