May 8, 2009
HOUSTON - The University of Houston baseball team won their fourth-straight Conference USA series opener topping No. 22 East Carolina 5-4 on Friday night at Cougar Field. With the win, Houston moves to 12-7 in league play and into a second place tie in the league standings with the Pirates.
Friday night's battle was a back and forth contest that fell in the Cougars favor as they took a 4-4 tie game into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Cougars put two runners on base in the inning but the next two batters recorded to UH outs before Presley loaded the bases on a hit by pitch. Kelso put the Cougars on top to stay scoring on a wild pitch with Chris Wallace at the plate.
Donnie Joseph then closed out the game pitching two shutout innings, while striking out four batters to earn his eighth save of the season. His eight saves now move him into sixth place in the UH single season record books. Chase Dempsay notched the win to improve to 3-0, going 1.1 innings, allowing two hits with one strikeout. Jared Ray earned the start going 5.2 innings, allowing four runs with five strikeouts.
After shutting down the Pirates in their first at bat, Houston put three consecutive runners on base in the home half of the first inning. Blake Kelso led off with his 13th double of the season, while William Kankel followed that up with a single to left field and Caleb Ramsey plated Kelso with a single to left field.
East Carolina tied the ball game with a single run in the third inning but Ramsey wouldn't let the Pirates hold the lead for long hitting a solo shot over left field, his fourth home run of the season to put the Cougars back on top, 2-1.
The back and forth nature of the game continued in the fourth as East Carolina stole back the lead on a two-run homer to left field from Dustin Harrington and in the bottom of the fourth Houston was able to score two runs to regain the lead, 4-3. Taylor White scored the first run with a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Chris Wallace who reached after being hit by a pitch and White then scored off a Kelso single to center field.
The Pirates tied up the contest once again scoring a single run in the sixth inning, while Houston was held scoreless in the bottom of the inning. The Cougars Wallace was intentionally walked after the run and David Murphy struck out to end the inning. But the Pirates lead wouldn't last for long as Houston went ahead in the seventh to hold on for the win.
Houston will close out their home stand against East Carolina at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Prior to Sunday's game, Houston will honor its two seniors, Jimmy Raviele and Chris Wright.
UH then closes out the regular season at UCF on May 14-16 before the Conference USA Championship in Hattiesburg, Miss., on May 20-25.