April 29, 2006
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - University of Houston freshman righthander Luis Flores struck out a career-high 10 batters in only 5.2 innings to help lead the 13th-ranked Cougar Baseball team to a 9-4 win over UAB in the nightcap of a Conference USA doubleheader Saturday at Young Memorial Field.
In the first game of the day, the Blazers rallied to score five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, turning a two-run deficit into a 7-4 win.
With the split, the Cougars remained 15 games over the .500 mark and stood at 31-16 overall, 14-4 C-USA. UAB dropped to 16-29 overall, 3-12 C-USA.
The Cougars return to action at 3 p.m., Saturday when they meet Stephen F. Austin at Pete Smith City Park in Nacogdoches, Texas. UH enjoyed an 8-1 win over the Lumberjacks on Feb. 14 at Cougar Field
That game 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.
Flores, who improved to 4-2 with the win, faced the minimum through the first three innings and topped his previous career high of nine strikeouts set against Monmouth on Feb. 26, 2006.
After managing only six hits in the first game of the twinbill, the Cougars nearly doubled that effort with 11 nights in the second game of the day. Senior outfielder Matt Weston went 2-for-4 with two runs, a double and homer to lead an offense that saw every starter record at least one hit in the game.
UAB starter Lyle Northington collected the loss and fell to 2-6 after giving up six runs (three earned) off five hits with a pair of strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
Jacob Legg, Phillip Bell and Ryne Lovdahl each went 2-for-4 with a run with the latter two Blazer hitters adding a pair of RBIs apiece.
The Cougars scored a pair of runs in the second inning. Bryan Tully led off with a single to left field and raced all the way to third base on Weston's double down the right-field line. After a walk to Brian Temko loaded the bases, Brett Logan lifted a sacrifice fly down the right-field line to score pinch runner Chris Joseph and moved Weston to third base. Travis Cougot then reached on a fielder's choice that allowed Weston to score and hand the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, UH broke the game open with five runs off three hits. Weston started the scoring with a monster solo home run to right field. Temko reached on an effort and moved up a base after Logan drew a walk. Cougot then laced an RBI-double to right field to plate Temko. Jake Stewart followed with a sacrifice fly in four territory down the right-field line to plate Logan.
UAB broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fourth on Lovdahl's RBI-single up the middle that scored Jacob Legg.
Two innings later, Bell and Lovdahl connected on back-to-back home runs to cut the UH lead to 7-3.
In the seventh inning, Joseph led off with a double to the wall in left center and eventually came around on Logan's triple to the wall in right center.
Stewart led off the Cougar eighth inning with a home run to left center to cap the scoring for the day.
In the first game, the Blazers exploded for five runs off four hits and took advantage of an error and passed ball to turn a two-run deficit into a three-run victory.
The Cougars led 4-2 entering the eighth inning after home runs from Garcia and Kingsbury in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, broke a 2-2 tie. In the UAB eighth, Steven Turner was hit by a pitch to lead off and moved to second following Jorge Gutierrez's single to left field.
After Turner stole third and scored and Gutierrez moved up a base on Levi Patmon's sacrifice bunt, Danny Sawyer was intentionally walked. Bell then laced an RBI-double down the left-field line to score Gutierrez and tie the game at 4-4. Following a Cougar pitching change, Lovdahl blasted a double off the wall in right center on the first pitch to score both runners and hand the Blazers a 6-4 lead.
Two batters later, Zac Ward reached on an infield single and Lovdahl came around to score the final run of the game on the Cougars' second fielding miscue of the game for a 7-4 UAB lead.
UH starter Ricky Hargrove collected the loss and saw his career-best three-game winning streak snapped after allowing six runs off seven hits while tossing a career-best-tying eight strikeouts for the second straight game in 7.2 innings of work.
Garcia went 2-for-4 with a solo home run to lead the Cougars who managed only six hits in the game. Stewart went 0-for-2 with a run to see his career-best 11-game hitting streak snapped.
UAB starter Jim Crew improved to 5-2 with the complete-game win after limiting the Cougars to four runs off six hits with one strikeout.
Bell finished the game 1-for-3 with a run, double and RBI, while Gutierrez and Ward each posted a pair of hits in the winning effort.
In the first game, the Cougars struck for the game's first run without the benefit of a hit in the first inning. Stewart was hit by the first pitch of the game and stole second base to move into scoring position. After a groundout advanced Stewart to third, Lincoln lifted a sacrifice fly into left field to score Stewart and hand the Cougars an early 1-0 lead.
The lead was short lived as UAB grabbed its first lead of the series on Sawyer's two-run homer in the bottom of the inning.
The Cougars knotted the game at 2-2 in the third inning. Logan drew a leadoff walk and moved to second base following Stewart's sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Lincoln laced an RBI-double down the right-field line to tie the game.
The score remained that way until the sixth inning when Garcia launched a 1-0 offering over the left-field fence.
One inning later, Kingsbury blasted a leadoff shot on another 1-0 count to double the Cougar advantage at 4-2.