May 13, 2003
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Cole Bruce blasted a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to break a tie and lead the University of Houston baseball team to an 8-6 win over No. 9 Texas A&M on Tuesday at Olsen Field in College Station, Texas.
The Cougars (30-23) scored four runs over the final three innings to rally from a 6-4 deficit after six innings. Tied at 6-6 entering the ninth inning, Hyung Cho started the Cougar rally with a single to center field and stole second to move into scoring position. Bruce then crushed a 1-1 offering from A&M reliever Dwayne Pollok well over the center field wall 400 feet away to give the Cougars the lead and record his fifth homer of the season.
UH reliever Ryan Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his UH single-season record 12th save and became the Cougars' career save leader with 13.
Gene Flores improved to 3-2 with the win after tossing 1.1 innings of hitless relief and recorded his second consecutive win. Pollok collected the loss for A&M and dropped to 2-1 after allowing three runs off six hits in three innings of relief.
Cho, Michael Bourn, Travis Tully, Stuart Musslewhite and Nick Bott each rapped out two hits to lead the Cougar offense, which outhit the Aggies 15-11. Bruce led UH with two RBIs, with Cho, Musslewhite and Gabe Lucas adding single RBIs.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 30-23 overall, while Texas A&M dropped to 39-14. UH also avenged a 4-2 loss to the Aggies on Feb. 16 during the final day at the Minute Maid Park College Classic and won for the fourth time in their last five games at Olsen Field.
UH took an early lead in their first at-bat off a pair of hits. Bourn led off the game with a sharp single through the left side of the infield and raced all the way to third when Tully's single bounced over the head of Aggie first baseman Eric Scheidt.
Bourn then easily scored on the first of two wild pitches from A&M starter Ryne Tacker to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
The Aggies responded in the bottom of the frame on Cory Patton's RBI-double into the left field gap that scored Erik Schindewolf, who drew a lead-off walk.
The Cougars regained the lead in the third inning with two more hits. Bott laced a double down the left field line that bounced off third base umpire Rick Hall and moved to third on an infield groundout. Cho then lifted a looping single into shallow center field to plate Bott and had the Cougars a 2-1 advantage.
Again, the Aggies responded in the bottom of the frame but this time with a pair of runs on a wild pitch that scored Schindewolf and Scott Beerer's looping RBI single into right field.
The Cougars regained the lead in the sixth inning with a pair of runs off four consecutive hits. Thanos Papavasiliou started the rally with a one-out double to right center and moved to third on Matt Farrington's single through the right side of the infield. With Farrington moving on the pitch, Lucas slapped a single through the right side to score Papavasiliou and allow Lucas to race all the way to third base.
Musslewhite then lifted a looping single into shallow center field that plated Farrington and handed the Cougars a 4-3 lead.
Once again, the Aggies rallied in the bottom of the inning, but this time they took the lead for good with three unearned runs off two hits and a pair of UH infield errors. Justin Pouk scored the game-tying run on the first of UH's misplays in the field, and after another UH error allowed Schindewolf to reach base with two outs, Cliff Pennington provided the big blast with a two-run double for a 6-4 Texas A&M lead.
In the seventh inning, the Cougars pulled to within a run. After walking on four straight pitches from Aggie reliever Dan Donaldson, Bourn moved to second base on a passed ball and up to third on Tully's single through the left side. Although Cho grounded into a double play, Bourn scored easily from third to trim the Aggie lead to 6-5.
UH knotted the game again at 6-6 in the eighth inning and did so in a unique way. Brian Martin blasted a double off the center field wall to lead off, and pinch runner Brad Sullivan moved to third on Farrington's second sacrifice bunt of the night. Sullivan then raced home and scored the tying run when Texas A&M catcher Justin Pouk's return throw to reliever Dwayne Pollok following a pitch to Musslewhite sailed over the pitcher's head.
Pennington, Patton, Beerer and Eric Scheidt recorded two hits apiece for the Aggies, with Pennington adding two RBIs and Schindewolf scoring a game-high three times.
The Cougars wrap up their regular season this weekend as they play host to current Conference USA leader Southern Mississippi in a three-game series at Cougar Field. That series begins with 7 p.m. games on both Thursday and Friday wraps up at 1 p.m., Saturday.
The starting date for the series was moved up one day to accommodate team travel to the 2003 C-USA Tournament, hosted by Tulane at Turchin Stadium on May 21-25.
While the Cougars will be unable to defend their regular-season championship, the team could move as high as the No. 2 seed with help from other teams this weekend. Regardless, the Cougars will be seeded no lower than No. 5 when the tournament starts on May 21.
Fans can catch the action from all three games on 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.