May 5, 2002
HOUSTON, Texas - The University of Houston baseball team broke open a close game with seven runs in the sixth inning on the way to an 11-1 win over South Florida on Sunday in the finale of a Conference USA series at Cougar Field.
The Cougars (34-14, 16-7 C-USA), ranked No. 10 in the latest Baseball America poll, avoided the series sweep at the hands of the Bulls in a game, which was called after seven innings due to the mercy rule. UH also remained atop the C-USA standings in a tie with Southern Mississippi, which rallied late to defeat Memphis 9-4 on Sunday.
Every Cougar starter had at least one hit in the game as UH pounded out 12 hits in the win. Michael Bourn went 2-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs and tied his career best with four stolen bases. Chris Snyder went 1-for-3 with a run and three RBIs, while Cole Bruce batted 2-for-4 with a pair of runs.
Brett Cooley wasted little time in extending his hitting streak to a UH season-best 19 games with a single in the third inning that plated Keith Whatley and gave the Cougars an early lead. It was the first time UH scored first in the series against the Bulls.
UH reliever Nathan Mitchell threw 2.1 innings of one-hit ball to earn the win and improve to 4-1. Starter Gene Flores was equally effective against the Bulls, scattering three hits and one unearned run with a pair of strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
USF starter John Gorham, who earned a save in the first game of the series Friday, dropped to 5-7 with the loss after giving up five hits and two runs in 5.0 innings.
South Florida (27-21, 13-11 C-USA) knotted the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning on Mike Cunningham's sacrifice fly to center field. However, UH regained the lead in the bottom of the inning when Bourn scored on a wild pitch from USF starter John Gorham and then took control of the game with a seven-spot in the sixth.
Jesse Crain led off the frame with a home run to left field for his seventh of the season while Bourn and Chris Snyder eventually followed two-RBI singles each. Cooley then launched his team leading 14th homer of the season - a two-run shot -- down the left field line to cap the scoring in the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, UH capped the game early on Bourn's RBI-infield groundout and Snyder's sacrifice fly to deep right field.
With the team in the middle of final examinations, the Cougars won't return to action until facing C-USA rival Charlotte in a three-game series next weekend in North Carolina. The series starts at 5 p.m. (CDT) Friday and continues with a 1 p.m. (CDT) game Saturday. Sunday's game time has been moved up one hour due to the Cougars' traveling arrangements and will begin at 11 a.m. (CDT).