May 10, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Houston baseball team exploded for seven runs in the eighth inning on the way to an 11-8 win over Memphis on Saturday in the finale of a Conference USA series at Nat Buring Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.
Trailing 5-4 and entering the eighth inning, the Cougars rapped out eight hits with half of those going for extra base hits to take the lead for good and then held off a Tiger rally in the bottom of the frame to split the series' first two games. It was the first time in 18 games this season that the Cougars won after trailing at the end of the seventh inning.
After back-to-back singles from Travis Tully and Sam Mitchell to lead off the seventh, Nick Bott plated Tully with an RBI-single to right field to knot the game at 5-5. Stuart Musslewhite laid down a sacrifice bunt and Michael Bourn was intentionally walked to load the bases with only one out. Matt Farrington then slapped a double down the left field line that cleared the bases and soon scored when Hyung Cho blasted a two-run homer to left field.
The Tigers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning on three hits, but UH reliever Ryan Wagner slammed the door on Memphis with 1.2 innings of shutout relief to set a new UH single-season record with his 11th save of the season.
With that save, Wagner also tied Larry Coker for the school career record with 12 saves in less than two full seasons.
Every Cougar starter and reserve with at least one plate appearance had at least one hit in the game as UH pounded out a season-best 22 hits in the contest. It was the most hits by a Cougar team since April 3, 1999, when the Cougars recorded 29 hits in a 20-5 win at Memphis.
Stuart Musslewhite went 4-for-4 with a run and two doubles while Cole Bruce batted 3-for-5 with a run, double, home run and two RBIs. Farrington, Cho, Tully and Bott all rapped out two hits apiece. Junior pitcher Brad Sullivan, who struck out 12 in Friday's series-opening loss, went 2-for-3 with two doubles during his start at first base.
UH reliever Gene Flores improved to 2-2 this season despite allowing four runs off four hits with three strikeouts in 2.2 innings. Memphis reliever Erik Filsinger dropped to 0-4 after giving up three runs off four hits with a strikeout in only one inning.
Kevin House batted 3-for-5 with four runs and two RBIs and led off the Memphis first inning with a home run to center field for the second consecutive game. Bill Moss also batted 3-for-5 with a run and two RBIs in the losing effort.
The series wraps up at 1 p.m., Sunday. Fans can catch the action at KAXF 88.3 FM or over the Internet at www.UHcougars.com with pregame slated to begin about 15 minutes before the first pitch. Fans can also catch the action batter-by-batter by visiting www.UHcougars.com and clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the Daily Calendar at the bottom of the main page.
UH junior southpaw Brian Henderson (4-2, 3.09) is slated to start the series finale Memphis righthander Stephen Gostkowski (3-4, 4.25) expected to start for the Tigers.