April 28, 2007
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - University of Houston freshman southpaw Wes Musick allowed only one run in the first seven innings to help lead the Cougars to an 8-2 win over Marshall in the middle game of a Conference USA series at Appalachian Power Park.
Musick, who won his fourth straight game, improved to 6-3 after limiting the Herd to only one run off five hits and five walks with five strikeouts. After allowing one first-inning run, the Lufkin native allowed only three more hits over his final six shutout innings.
Meanwhile, the Cougar offense set the tone early with four runs in the first inning and never looked back in the win. Freshman centerfielder Zak Presley finished the night 2-for-3 with two runs, two stolen bases and an RBI, while senior first baseman Josh Stirneman went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Sophomore catcher Luis Flores also batted 2-for-5 with a two-run homer to lead the Cougars.
Jimmy Cesario went 1-for-4 with a run to extend his hitting streak to a career and UH-season-best 20 straight games. He joined Brandon Caraway (40), Ike Lucas (32), Brett Cooley (22) and Travis Tully (21) as the only players in school history to record a 20-game hitting streak during their careers.
Marshall starter Ryan Kiel collected the loss and fell to 4-4 after giving up six runs (three earned) off four hits and five walks in 3.1 innings.
Blake Sanders went 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead the Herd offense.
With the win, the Cougars evened the regular-season series against the Herd and improved to 24-18 overall, 10-4 in C-USA games, while Marshall fell to 18-23, 3-10 C-USA.
The rubber match of the series begins at 10 a.m. (CDT) Sunday. Fans can hear Cougar Baseball games live on UHCougars.com with former Cougar letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans can follow live stats by clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the front page of UHCougars.com or on the Schedule and Results page off the Baseball main page.
Fans always can follow live stats by clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the front page of UHCougars.com or on the "Schedule and Results" page off the Baseball main page.
Freshman righthander John Touchton makes his sixth start when he takes the hill during the series finale. This season, the Houston native has compiled a 4-3 record with 24 strikeouts and a 6.69 ERA in 39.0 innings of work. Sunday's game will be his fifth consecutive C-USA start.
In his last start, Touchton moved up a spot in the Cougar rotation to pitch the middle game of the series against No. 5 Rice on April 14 at Cougar Field. He collected the loss to see his two-game winning streak come to an end after giving up eight runs (seven earned) off 10 hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts in five innings.
Sunday's game will be Touchton's first career appearance against the Thundering Herd.
Marshall is slated to throw junior righthander Jeremy Slone. This season, Slone has posted a 2-2 record with 38 strikeouts and a 5.43 ERA in 56.1 innings.
The Cougars took advantage of two hits and a pair of Marshall errors to jump out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning. Bryan Tully started the rally with a one-out walk and moved to second after Cesario's single to right center. Dustin Kingsbury lined a ground ball that was misplayed, allowing Tully to score the game's first run. Stirneman then poked an RBI-single through the left side of the infield to score Cesario. Flores laced another ground ball that was mishandled, allowing Kingsbury and Stirneman to score.
The Herd answered in the bottom of the inning with a run on Brendan Murphy's RBI-single through the left side.
In the third inning, the Cougars took advantage of the long ball to push their lead to 6-1. After Stirneman slapped a one-out single through the right side, Flores blasted an 1-0 offering from Kiel over the left-field wall.
In the fifth inning, the Cougars pushed their lead to 7-1. After reaching on a fielder's choice, Zak Presley advanced to second when the Marshall pitcher and first baseman began talking before time was called. Presley then stole third base and scored on Bryan Pounds' RBI-infield-single.
The score remained that way until the seventh inning when the Cougars added another run for an 8-1 lead. Presley smashed a two-out double to left field, stole third and scored on an errant throw to third base.
Marshall added another run in the eighth inning on Sanders' RBI-single through the left side. However, that would be as close as the Herd would get the rest of the way.