April 28, 2006
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - University of Houston junior righthander Brad Lincoln struck out a season-high 13 batters over eight innings to lead the 13th-ranked Cougar Baseball team to a 7-2 win against UAB in the opening game of a three-game Conference USA series at Young Memorial Field.
Lincoln, who improved to 9-1 with the win, collected his career-best eighth straight win and retired 12 of 13 batters midway through his stint. The Clute, Texas, native struck out at least one batter every inning while striking out the side in the fifth and seventh innings.
With his total, Lincoln boosted his season total to 122 strikeouts, the fourth-highest total in UH single-season history.
Meanwhile, he helped his own cause by hitting 2-for-5 at the plate and added a two-run double in the first inning to give the Cougars a lead they would never relinquish.
Lincoln was part of a Cougar offense that pounded out 13 hits. Each of the first four players in the Cougar lineup rapped out two hits in the game with junior outfielder Jake Stewart going 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 11 straight games. Senior infielder Isa Garcia finished the night 2-for-4 with a run and RBI, while junior infielder Dustin Kingsbury batted 2-for-5 with a run and stolen base. Sophomore outfielder Bryan Tully also batted 2-for-5 with a run and double in the winning effort.
UAB starter Jacob Legg collected the loss and fell to 1-4 after giving up seven runs (five earned) off 13 hits with three strikeouts in eight innings.
Catcher Danny Sawyer went 3-for-4 to lead the UAB offense, while outfielder Ryne Lovdahl batted 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored.
With the win, the Cougars won for the 18th time in their last 22 games and their sixth straight victory to improve to 30-15 overall and 13-3 C-USA. UH remained two games behind league leader Rice, which was a 2-0 winner at UCF on Friday. UAB fell to 15-28 overall, 2-11 C-USA.
In a change from the original schedule, the two teams will wrap up the series with a noon doubleheader on Saturday. Heavy rain is forecast in the Birmingham area on Sunday, so coaches and administrators from both teams agreed to make the schedule change to beat the severe weather.
Both games 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.
The Cougars struck for the game's first runs in the first inning with two runs, thanks to three hits and one UAB error. Isa Garcia started the rally with a one-out single to right field and moved into scoring position after Dustin Kingsbury slapped a single through the left side. Lincoln then laced a double to the wall in right center, plating both runners for a 2-0 UH lead.
UH added two more runs in the next inning. Luis Flores led off with a one-out walk and moved to second following Travis Cougot's single to left field. Stewart then lined an RBI-single up the middle off the glove of UAB shortstop Ryan Metcalf, allowing Flores to score and send Cougot to third base. Garcia followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center field to plate Cougot for a 4-0 UH lead.
UAB put its first mark on the scoreboard in the second inning on Zac Ward's RBI-single into center field.
The Cougars pushed their lead back to four runs, though, in the next half inning. Tully started the rally with a two-out single up the middle and moved into scoring position following passed ball. Josh Stirneman then laced a single through the right side to score Tully for a 5-1 UH lead.
UAB trimmed the Cougar advantage to 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth on Lovdahl's leadoff home run to left center.
The Cougars answered in the next half inning, courtesy of a UAB infield error. Matt Weston laced a one-out double down the right-field line and moved to third after a groundout. Stirneman then reached on UAB' second fielding miscue of the night which allowed Weston to score easily for a 6-2 UH lead.
In the eighth inning, Stewart launched a 1-2 offering from Legg over the wall in right-center for the final margin of victory.