May 7, 2011
HOUSTON - The University of Houston baseball team scored three runs in the ninth inning but came up short, 12-6, in game two of the Conference USA series against the Rice Owls Saturday afternoon at Cougar Field.
Senior Ryan Still led off the ninth inning taking base after being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a groundout to first base by senior Caleb Ramsey. Sophomore M.P. Cokinos drew a walk and junior Matt Creel's RBI single plated the first run of the inning. Sophomore Chase Jensen's fly out to right field put runners at the corners before Cokinos scored on senior Joel Ansley's single to left centerfield. Junior John Cannon would single to right field scoring Creel from third base but that would be the end of the Cougar comeback as junior Austin Gracey hit into a fielder's choice to end the game.
The Cougars nearly matched runs with the Owls through the first three innings, trailing by just one run, 3-2, but Rice would score three runs in the fifth and seventh innings and one run in the sixth to pull away from UH. Houston would plate four runs in their final two at bats but the deficit would be too much to overcome.
Daniel Gonzalez-Luna flied out to right field to start the game for the Owls but junior John Cannon was called for a catcher's interference, putting the runner on base. He would score on Michael Ratterree's RBI single up the middle and Ratterree would then put the Owls up 2-0, scoring on a passed ball.
The Cougars would cut into the deficit in the bottom of the inning. Still led off with a walk and scored from second base on Cokinos' RBI single up the middle.
The Owls answered in the top of the second inning, taking a 3-1 lead on back-to-back doubles. Still would answer the run for the Cougars, drawing his second of three walks in the bottom of the third inning before scoring again on a Cokinos RBI single.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Rice would send three runs across home place in the fifth inning and after a leadoff double in the sixth inning, Derek Hamilton would give Rice a 7-2 lead.
Rice continued to add to its lead with three runs in the seventh inning, but this time the Cougars were able to score a run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Cokinos led off with a single and scored when junior Codey Morehouse reached base on an error at first base.
Two runs in the ninth inning gave Rice its final total of the series before the Cougars closed out the contest with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
With the loss, Houston falls to 22-25 on the season and 9-8 in Conference USA play.
Junior Jordan Lewis went 4.1 innings in the start, giving up three earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts. At the plate, Cokinos led the Cougars going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
The series against Rice will conclude at 1 p.m. Sunday. The final game of the series will air on Comcast Sports Southwest (Channel 129).