May 2, 2004
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Seventh-ranked East Carolina jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first two innings and never looked back on the way to an 8-3 win over the University of Houston baseball team Sunday in the finale of a Conference USA series at Harrington Field in Greenville, N.C.
The Cougars chipped away and pulled to within two runs after the fourth inning, but ECU padded its lead with two runs in the fifth and single runs in the seventh and eighth on the way to its third straight regular-season series victory over the Cougars. UH senior third baseman Nick Bott blasted a mammoth, two -run homer to right center in the top of the ninth, but that would be as close as UH would get the rest of the way.
With the loss, the Cougars suffered only their third ever sweep since joining Conference USA in 1997. UH also dropped to 21-25 overall, 12-9 in C-USA play. ECU recorded its 19th straight win to stand at 38-6 overall, 18-3 in league play.
UH starter Austin Sumerlin collected his first loss and dropped to 2-1 after giving up five runs (three earned) off four this with a strikeout in 4.0 innings. With the Pirates' first run in the first inning, the Houston native saw his career- and UH-season-best 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings streak snapped.
Matt Farrington went 2-for-3 with a run and RBI for the Cougars, while Travis Tully went 1-for-4 to extend his career-best hitting streak to 14 consecutive games and equaled UH season-best streak by junior shortstop Stuart Musslewhite. After his late homer, Bott finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs and a pair of RBIs.
ECU starter Shane Mathews improved to 6-0 after holding the Cougars to three runs off seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings.
Jamie Paige batted 3-for-5 with three runs, while Ryan Jones batted 3-for-5 with three runs, two homers - including an inside-the-park job - and a game-high four RBIs. Darryl Lawhorn finished the day 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs.
The Cougars take a break from midweek action due to final examinations and don't resume play until next weekend at Cougar Field against Conference USA rival Memphis. That series begins with 7 p.m. games on both Friday and Saturday before wrapping up at 1 pm., Sunday.
All three games can be heard live over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling the action. Friday's game also will be available on 88.3 KAXF FM. Fans can follow live stats at www.UHCougars.com by clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the bottom of the main page.
As they did all weekend long, the Pirates struck for the game's first run early. Jones gave ECU an early advantage when he blasted a 2-2 offering over the right field wall. Ryan Norwood followed with an RBI-double down the left field line and Drew Costanzo's groundout scored Darryl Lawhorn from third base.
In the second inning, Jones struck again with a two-run, inside-the-park homer for a 5-0 ECU lead.
UH posted its first marks on the scoreboard after five straight singles from Brett Logan, Matt Farrington, Tully, Rob Johnson and Thanos Papavasiliou with Johnson and Papavasiliou platting a runner apiece with their hits.
In the fourth inning, the Cougars struck for another run to pull to within 5-3. After lacing a double down the left field line and moving to third on a fielder's choice, Nick Bott scored on Farrington's single through the left side of the Cougar infield.
ECU added to its lead in the fifth inning on Jones' RBI-single to center field.
The score remained that way until the seventh inning when Darryl Lawhorn's looping single into center field plated Jamie Paige.
One inning later, Mark Minicozzi scored on the Cougars' fourth error of the day to give the Pirates a 9-3 lead and cap the scoring for the day.