May 7, 2004
HOUSTON - After exploding for seven runs through the first two innings, the University of Houston baseball team cruised the rest of the way in taking a 9-2 win over Memphis on Friday in the opener of a Conference USA series at Cougar Field.
The Cougars, who snapped a three-game losing streak, took advantage of Rob Johnson's grand slam in the first inning and three more runs in the second inning to win the series opener.
That would be all the offense that UH starter Matt Varner would need to record his team-leading sixth win and improve to 6-3. A native of West Columbia, Texas, Varner struck out a personal-best and UH season-high 10 batters in seven innings. After allowing a first-inning run to the Tigers, he allowed only four more hits the rest of the way.
Varner struck out at least one batter in six of the seven innings in which he worked and struck out two Memphis batters in the first, third and fourth innings.
Matt Farrington went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs to lead the Cougar offense, which outhit Memphis 11-9. Johnson finished the day with two runs and a game-high four RBIs, while Travis Tully went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs to extend his hitting streak to a career- and UH season-best 15 consecutive games. Nick Bott added more insurance runs with a two-run homer - his team-leading seventh - late in the win.
Memphis starter Jarrett Grube dropped to 7-4 after giving up seven runs off 10 hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Chad House, Kyle Scott and Josh Payne each added two hits for the Tigers.
The Cougars continue the series at 7 p.m., Saturday, before wrapping up at 1 p.m., Sunday. Both games can be heard live over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling the action. Fans can follow live stats at www.UHCougars.com by clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the bottom of the main page.
Memphis grabbed the lead in its first at-bat when Brent Dlugach's infield single scored House, who led off with a single to left center.
However, the Tiger lead would not last long. Tully led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on Farrington's looping single into shallow left field. After a sacrifice bunt and Cole Bruce was hit by a pitch, Johnson blasted an 0-1 offering from Grube over the wall in left center for a 4-1 Cougar lead.
In the second inning, the Cougars pushed their advantage to 7-1 thanks to five hits. After Brett Logan laced a one-out single through the left side and Tully followed with another single to left center, Farrington's double down the left field line plated Logan. Thanos Papavasiliou then laced a double into the gap in left center to plate both runners.
That would be all the offense that two teams would muster until Bott blasted a two-run shot over the left field wall on a 2-1 offering from Memphis reliever Zack Cook.
Memphis took advantage of a Cougar infield error to score their final run of the night in the ninth inning.