May 10, 2014
No. 13 HOUSTON
STORRS, Conn. - No. 13 Houston Baseball earned a 3-1 win at UConn, highlighted by a complete-game pitching performance from junior Aaron Garza to take Game 1 of the three-game weekend series as Game 2 was halted in the top of the sixth due to darkness on Saturday afternoon in Storrs, Conn.
The Game 1-win improved Houston's overall record to 37-13 and 11-8 in American Athletic Conference play.
Game 2 has Houston ahead 4-2 in the top of the sixth, but will resume on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. CT with Game 3 shortly following.
Garza (9.0,5,1,1,0,5) finished with his second complete game of 2014 as he went the distance, allowing just one run on five scattered hits, no walks and five strikeouts to improve to 7-4 on the year.
Houston's offense came alive late, helping Garza earn the win after a 1-1 game was broken up with two Cougar runs in the eighth.
Senior Casey Grayson gave Houston a little cushion with a solo homerun over the right center wall for his sixth long ball of the year to finish with a hit and RBI. With the walk in the third inning, Grayson extended his streak of reaching base safely to 23 straight games.
UConn jumped ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first on two hits and a sacrifice bunt, but it didn't take Houston long to tie the game when Montemayor opened the second inning with a single into centerfield, later scoring on a double off the bat of Appling.
Knotted a 1-1, the Cougars were shutout down and were retired in order during the 5-6-7 innings before breaking open the game in the eighth. A pinch-hit leadoff double by Survance go things rolling for the Cougars. He moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by senior Frankie Ratcliff and later scored on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Vidales. Grayson then provided Houston with a two-run lead on the next pitch when he launched a shot over the right center wall.
Garza was equally lights out when he allowed one baserunner in his final 14 hitters he faced - the baserunner coming off a Houston fielding error.
UConn starter Anthony Marzi (7.2,6,3,3,1,1) allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in 7.2 innings, but suffered the loss, falling to 4-6 on the year.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
"That was a great outing by [Aaron] Garza. That was the Garza we saw earlier in the season where he pitched with emotion and absolutely pounded the zone. After giving up the run in the first inning, he was able to settle in and shut them down. Offensively, we were able to scratch across some late runs with Appling, Vidales and Grayson all coming through with an RBI today."
Junior Aaron Garza
On today's performance
"It is always nice to come on the road and open the series with a win. It all started back home this week, working on mechanical things in practice that prepared us to come out here and compete. I was able to rely heavily on my two-seam fastball today, letting it run - helping me induce a lot of groundballs."
On the late offensive spark
"Our offense kept working and we found a way to plate two runs late to put us ahead. Those two runs in the eighth really helped me go out in the ninth and finish it off."
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Houston and UConn will complete Game 2 at 9 a.m. CT on Sunday with the originally-scheduled Game 3 to begin shortly after. Following the weekend series, Houston will return to the city to face Rice at Constellation Field (home of Sugar Land Skeeters) in Sugar Land, Texas at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are available at www.sugarlandskeeters.com.