April 29, 2003
HOUSTON - The University of Houston baseball team jumped out to an eight-run lead after three innings and held off a late rally on the way to an 8-6 win over Texas-San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon at Cougar Field.
After scoring two runs in their first at-bat, four in the second inning and two more runs in the third, the Cougars appeared to have the game well under control before UTSA struck for three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth.
However, UH reliever Ryan Wagner slammed the door on the Roadrunner hitters, throwing 1.1 innings of hitless relief on the way to his team-leading 10th save of the season. With that total, he tied the UH single-season record, set by Jesse Crain during the 2002 campaign.
Trailing 8-6, UTSA rallied with two outs in the eighth inning to put runners on second and third after a strikeout and wild pitch, walk and double steal. However, Wagner forced Danny Phillips to ground out to shortstop and then used a double play and strikeout in the ninth to seal the win.
UH reliever Bryan Harris recorded the win and improved to 2-0 after throwing two shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts. UTSA starter Jason Vecchio dropped to 0-2 after giving up eight runs (five earned) off six hits in only two innings.
Travis Tully went 2-for-4 with two runs, two stolen bases and a pair of RBIs to lead the Cougars, who outhit UTSA 11-7. Gabe Lucas went 2-for-4 with two runs, a home run and RBI, while Stuart Musslewhite batted 2-for-4 with a run. Michael Bourn batted 2-for-5 with a run and stolen base, while Hyung Cho tied for team-high honors with two RBIs.
The Cougars struck for the game's first two runs in their first at-bat. After back-to-back walks to Tully and Cho, Tully advanced to third on a deep fly ball off the bat of Thanos Papavasiliou. From there, the two Cougar baserunners teamed up on a double steal with Tully for the first run of the day. Cho then came around on a UTSA infield error for a 2-0 Cougar lead.
In the second, UH exploded for four runs. Lucas started the rally with a double to left field and moved to third on Musslewhite's bunt single. After Bott reached on an infield error to score Lucas and Bourn reached on a fielder's choice, Tully slapped a single to left field to score Bott.
After Tully and Bourn combined to steal second and third, Cho plated both runners with a single up the middle to cap the score and give the Cougars a 6-0 lead.
One inning later, Lucas blasted his fourth homer of the year on a 2-2 count to lead off the frame and Tully's infield groundout scored Musslewhite, who followed Lucas with a single through the right side of the infield and moved to third base on Bott's hit and a groundout.
UH appeared to have things well in hand until the fifth inning when UTSA struck for three runs with Cory Horton providing the big blast with a two-run double to right field.
One inning later, Phillips pulled the Roadrunners to within 8-6 after blasting a three-run homer off UH reliever Taylor Gartz. However, that would be all the offense UTSA could muster the rest of the afternoon.
Philip Gentry batted 2-for-4 with a run, while Phillips went 1-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs. Horton also batted 1-for-3 with a run and two RBIs in the losing effort.
The Cougars return to action at 6 p.m., Wednesday as they meet 20th-ranked Baylor in Waco, Texas, for the second time this season. Earlier this year, the Bears took a 14-4 win over the Cougars during the first day of the Minute Maid Park College Classic on Feb. 14 and followed that with a 15-4 win at the Baylor Ballpark on March 11.
Sophomore righthander Garrett Mock (4-3, 4.06) is slated to start on the hill for the Cougars, while Baylor's Steven White (5-3, 4.38) will throw for the Bears.
Fans can catch the action at 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.