May 5, 2006
HOUSTON - University of Houston junior righthander Brad Lincoln struck out 10 batters while allowing only one run in seven innings to help lead the 10th-ranked Cougar Baseball team to a 10-5 win over Conference USA rival UCF on Friday in the series opener at Cougar Field.
Lincoln, who improved to 10-1, recorded his sixth double-digit strikeout game this season and third straight and retired 12 of 14 batters during one stretch midway through the game. The Clute, Texas, native struck out at least one batter in all but one inning, becoming the first pitcher in C-USA this season to reach the 10-win milestone.
Meanwhile, the Cougar offense broke out of a mini-slump with 14 hits, including five for extra bases. The Cougars jumped out early with at least one run in each of the first three innings and held a 6-0 advantage after the third inning.
UH enjoyed a 10-0 cushion after six innings before the Golden Knights rallied to score five runs in the final three innings, but that would be as close as UCF would get the rest of the night.
Senior infielder Isa Garcia finished the night 2-for-4 with two runs, and junior infielder Josh Stirneman batted 2-for-3 with two walks and a pair of runs.
UCF starter Tim Bascom, the 2006 C-USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year, collected the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) off seven hits with no strikeouts in only 2.2 innings of work.
UCF outfielder Tyson Auer batted 4-for-4 with a run and double as the only Golden Knight with more than one hit in the game.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 32-17 overall, 15-4 C-USA . UCF fell to 23-25 overall, 5-11 C-USA.
The Cougars continue the series at 7 p.m., Saturday before wrapping it up at 1 p.m., Sunday at Cougar Field. Both games 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.
The series also will feature a variety of promotional activities all weekend long. Fans are encouraged to wear red as part of Red Out Saturday to support the Cougars' postseason push. On Sunday, fans will enjoy Senior Day as UH honors its 2006 class and Fan Appreciation Day with ice cream sundaes available at the ballpark.
Fans also should prepare for a busy day on the UH campus. In addition to the Cougars' 7 p.m., contest against UCF, the Houston Dynamo will host a home soccer match at 7:30 p.m. at UH's own Robertson Stadium.
Due to the anticipated high attendance and need for parking at both events, the Athletics Department has designated parking lots 16C and 16D (directly across Cullen Blvd., beyond the right-field and centerfield fence of Cougar Field on both sides of Elgin St., lots 15A and 15 G (directly south and east of the Athletics/Alumni Center) and lot 15H (directly west of the John Hoff Tennis Courts off Elgin St.) for baseball fans.
These lots will be available at no charge for attendees of the baseball game.
The University of Houston Athletics Department would like to request that all fans planning to attend Saturday's game adjust their arrival time to well in advance of the start as traffic flow may be slower than usual. While adequate parking has been made available for baseball fans, late-arriving fans may be forced to pay for parking in lots that have not been reserved for baseball attendance.
Sophomore righthander Ricky Hargrove will take the hill against UCF on Saturday. This season, the Katy, Texas, native has compiled a 6-4 record with 64 strikeouts and a 2.77 ERA in 78.0 innings of work. His innings pitched, wins and strikeouts are second among all UH hurlers.
In his last start, Hargrove saw his career-best three-game winning streak snapped after giving up six runs off seven hits with seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work against UAB in the first game of a doubleheader on April 29.
Saturday's game will be Hargrove's first career appearance against the Golden Knights
UCF freshman southpaw Mitch Houck is slated to start for the Golden Knights. This season, Houck has compiled a 3-2 record with 61 strikeouts and a 3.08 ERA in 52.2 innings of work.
The Cougars struck for the game's first runs in their first at bat. Garcia started the rally with a one-out single through the right side of the infield and scored on Lincoln's double off the center-field wall. Weston then laced an RBI-single through the left side of the infield for a 2-0 UH lead.
UH pushed its advantage to 3-0 in the next half inning without the benefit of a hit. Matt Farrington was hit by a pitch to lead off and moved into scoring position following Travis Cougot's sacrifice bunt. After a wild pitch allowed him to move to third, Farrington scored easily on a UCF infield miscue.
In the third inning, the Cougars added three more runs off four hits. Weston led off with a home run to right field. After Stirneman slapped a one-out single to right field, Luis Flores drew a walk. Farrington then loaded the bases with a single through the left side. Cougot reached on a fielder's choice to second base that allowed Stirneman to score. Jake Stewart followed with a sharp single up the middle to plate Flores and knock Bascom out of the game.
The score remained that way until the sixth inning. Garcia led off with a single to left field and moved into scoring position after a wild pitch. Two batters later, Dustin Kingsbury laced a double down the left-field line. After Stirneman's walk, Flores smashed a 1-0 offering over the wall in left field for a 10-0 UH lead.
UCF put its first mark on the scoreboard in the next half inning on Dave DiNatale's leadoff homer.
One inning later, the Golden Knights took advantage of four straight walks and two hits to score four runs and pull to within 10-5. However, that would be as close as UCF would get the rest of the way.