April 27, 2003
TAMPA, Fla. - Nick Bott blasted a three-run double off the left field wall to break open a close game and lead the University of Houston baseball team to a 12-7 win in 10 innings over South Florida in the finale of a Conference USA series at Red McEwen Field.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Bott pushed the Cougars' lead to four runs with his fifth double of the season. Pinch hitter Matt Farrington followed with a single and Sam Mitchell walked to load the bases before Bott's big blast. Michael Bourn and Hyung Cho each followed with RBI singles to cap the Cougar scoring in the frame.
Earlier in the inning, Cho gave the Cougars a 7-6 lead when he slid under the tag at home plate on Stuart Musslewhite's safety squeeze.
The lead went back and forth throughout the day as both teams threatened to take control of the game. USF appeared to have the game in hand with the bases loaded and only one out in the bottom of the ninth, but UH reliever Garrett Mock forced Jeff Baisley to pop up a bunt and threw to third base to catch Bryan Hierlmeier off the bag for a rally- and inning-ending double play.
Mock won his second game of the week after allowing only one run off four hits with a strikeout in 2.2 innings of relief. USF closer Joey Livingston dropped to 0-4 after giving up five runs off six hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Cho batted 4-for-6 with two runs, a homer and three RBIs to lead the Cougars, who pounded out 15 hits in the game. Cole Bruce extended his hitting streak to a career-best seven games, going 3-for-5 with a run, RBI and his second home run of the series.
Bott finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs, while Stuart Musslewhite batted 2-for-4 with a run and RBI.
With the win, the Cougars ensured they would fall no lower than third place in the latest C-USA standings and won for the 17th time in their last 21 games. UH also snapped a two-year losing streak of league series to the Bulls and won a series in Tampa for the first time since 1997, the year the all-time series began.
Jeff Baisley went 3-for-5 with two runs, a home run and RBI, while Myron Leslie and Travis Brown rapped out two hits apiece for South Florida.
USF took advantage of back-to-back hits and back-to-back walks and scored the game's first run in the first inning when Kris Howell drew a bases-loaded walk.
In the third, Jeff Baisley blasted the first pitch in the frame over the right center field wall to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead.
The Cougars knotted the game in the next half inning with a pair of runs. Cho blasted the first pitch of the inning over the left field wall for his team-leading 10th of the season. Papavasiliou walked and moved to third on Bruce's double off the center field wall. Two batters later, Gabe Lucas lifted a sacrifice fly into center field to plate Papavasiliou to tie the game at 2-2.
The Bulls regained the lead in the fifth inning with two runs, courtesy of two hits and two more Cougar errors. Mike Cunningham doubled to right field to lead off and stole third before scoring on the first UH misplay of the inning. Two batters later, Brown laced an RBI-single through the left side of the infield to plate Leslie.
In the top of the next half inning, though, UH cut that lead in half when Bruce blasted the first pitch he saw to the left of the high wall in center field.
USF pushed its lead back to two runs in the bottom of the sixth when Devin Ivany was plunked by a Gene Flores offering with the bases loaded, scoring Jermaine Smith.
The Cougars stormed back in the seventh inning with three runs to take a one-run lead. Mitchell and Bott led off with back-to-back singles and moved up a base on Michael Bourn's second sacrifice bunt of the game. Travis Tully then reached on a USF infield error, allowing Mitchell to score from third base.
After a USF pitching change, Cho laced a single through the right side of the infield just under the glove of diving Bull second baseman Jermaine Lewis to score Bott. Tully then came all the way around to score from first base when USF right fielder Bryan Hierlmeier's throw to third base sailed into the dugout for a 6-5 UH lead.
The Bulls rallied in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 6-6 on Ivany's sacrifice fly to center field, taking advantage of two walks and a hit to load the bases before Ivany plated Lewis, who led off the frame with a walk.
The Cougars return to action at 2 p.m., Tuesday as play host to Texas-San Antonio at Cougar Field. That game was recently added to the Cougar schedule since UH's first game at LSU on Feb. 21 was cancelled due to rain.
From there, the team returns to Waco, Texas, for the second time this year to meet Baylor at 6 p.m.
Fans can catch the action from both games on KAXF 88.3 FM or over the Internet at www.UHcougars.com with pregame slated to begin about 15 minutes before the first pitch. Fans can also catch the action batter-by-batter by visiting www.UHcougars.com and clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the Daily Calendar at the bottom of the main page.