HOUSTON -- With a 3-1 win on Friday evening over UConn at Cougar Field, No. 19 Houston Baseball clinches the 2015 American Athletic Conference title and will play as the No. 1 seed in next week's Conference Championship in Clearwater, Fla.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 38-17 on the year and 15-8 in league action -- winning their sixth straight conference series and seventh overall at home this season.
The regular-season conference title is the first for head coach Todd Whitting at the helm, the eighth in program history and first since 2002 for Houston.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
1 -- Houston will play as the league's No. 1 seed in next week's Championship in Clearwater, Fla.
2 -- Houston earned its second trophy of the week -- after claiming the Silver Glove and now Conference title.
3 -- The Houston bullpen held UConn scoreless in the final 3.0 innings.
6 -- Freshman Seth Romero earned his team-leading sixth save of the year.
6 -- Houston won its sixth straight weekend series of the year with the 3-1 victory on Friday.
7 -- The Cougars won seven of their eight home weekend series of the year, tying the only one that wasn't a win (vs. Columbia).
8 -- Houston claimed its eighth regular-season conference title in program history -- first since 2002.
8 -- Kyle Dowdy won his team-leading eighth game of the year, improving to 8-2.\
15 -- Houston has won 15 of the last 18 games played this season.
18 -- Kyle Survance doubled in the fifth inning to extend his on-base streak to 18 straight games.
Houston tallied six hits, three of which landed for extra bases in the win as five Cougars contributed with hits offensively in Friday's win. Leading the way with an RBI were juniors Kyle Survance (1x3, R, RBI, 2B), Josh Vidales (0x3, RBI, SF), and freshman Corey Julks (1x4, RBI).
Junior Jacob Campbell led the team with two hits, while scoring a run and joining junior Ashford Fulmer (1x3, R) and junior Justin Montemayor (1x3) with hits.
Houston starter Kyle Dowdy (6.0,3,1,1,3,4) earned his team-leading eighth win of the season, improving to 8-2 on the year with his 6.0-inning effort. The righty allowed one run on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
The Cougar bullpen that featured sophomore Marshall Kasowski (0.2,0,0,0,1,1) and freshmen Aaron Fletcher (1.2,2,0,0,0,0) and Seth Romero (0.2,0,0,0,0,1) kept the Huskies at bay as the trio combined to throw 3.0 shutout innings in the win.
Romero would earn his team-leading sixth save of his freshman campaign, fanning the final hitter to clinch the win.
What proved to be a pitcher's duel early fell in favor of the Cougars when Houston struck for the game's first run in the fourth when Campbell got things going with a 1-out single -- the first hit of the game for Houston. He would then score on a Julks triple that found the left center gap to put Houston up 1-0.
The Cougars tacked on two more runs in the fifth -- which proved to be all they needed. With one out in the frame, Fulmer doubled down the right field line and then came around to score on Survance's double into the left center gap for the 2-0 lead. A wild pitch moved Survance to third and Vidales would take advantage of that -- driving in the third and final run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
UConn starter Anthony Kay (6.0,6,3,3,2,9) entered the game with a 2.00 ERA, but would be tagged with the loss, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks, while fanning nine Cougars.
Head Coach Whitting
On tonight's regular-season title
"A conference championship on your home turf is really special. I'm proud of the team. They've been through a ton this year with injuries and with position changes and role changes. The team we ended with is definitely not the team we started with, but it's a pretty good team. I'm proud of the coaches and the players for their efforts all year."
"Tonight [Kyle] Dowdy was Dowdy. He went out there and gave us everything he had. He kept the lead and the bullpen has been like it has all year...solid. [Marshall] Kasowski comes in, then [Aaron] Fletcher and [Seth] Romero closes it out; two freshmen close out our conference championship win on your home field, that is a big deal."
"We played great defense, we made some great defensive plays tonight, that is what championship baseball is about, but we are not done. We have to keep going because we have another trophy to try and win next week and a bunch of trophies after that."
Junior Kyle Survance
"Winning the regular-season title is huge, especially from how far we have come. This year winning the conference is huge going into the postseason."
Houston and UConn will wrap up the weekend series with the finale slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at Cougar Field.
Saturday's finale will also serve as Senior Day. The program will honor its four departing senior student-athletes in David Longville, Aaron Garza, Jared Robinson and Taylor Cobb during a pregame ceremony.
Following the final home series, Houston will head to the American Athletic Conference Championship in Clearwater, Fla. Official seeds will be released following Saturday's finales, but Houston will play as the No. 1 seed on Tuesday at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
JOIN THE DUGOUT CLUB
Nationally-ranked Houston Baseball would like to encourage those wishing to support the efforts and success of the baseball student-athletes to consider joining the Dugout Club for as low as $25 a month or $300 annually.
For a minimum monthly installment of $25 or a minimum one-time gift of $300, supporters can take advantage of the Pinch Hitter level, which will guarantee an invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball team apparel.
For a minimum monthly installment of $100 or a minimum one-time gift of $1,000, supporters can take advantage of the Diamond level, which will guarantee batting practice passes for two to any home game, invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball apparel.
**Cougar Pride points will be applied accordingly.
For more information on joining the Dugout Club, please contact the Houston Baseball office at (713) 743-9396.
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