May 16, 2002
HOUSTON, Texas - If the University of Houston baseball team was looking to set the tone early in its pivotal series against Conference USA rival TCU, sophomore pitcher Brad Sullivan certainly accomplished that.
The Nederland, Texas, native struck out nine batters while holding the Horned Frogs to only one hit and did not allow any runners to reach second base as the Cougars took a 2-0 win in the first game of the series Thursday at Cougar Field. With the win, Sullivan recorded his 10th win of the year and improved to 10-1 while lowering his team-leading ERA to 2.18.
Mike Settle's two-out single in the second inning was one of only four TCU baserunners in the game. Despite giving up leadoff walks in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings, Sullivan quickly retired the side with double plays in each of those frames while facing only one batter over the minimum.
It was the first one-hitter by a Cougar pitcher since Austin Faught accomplished the feat against UAB on April 7, 2001.
The series continues at 7 p.m. Friday at Cougar Field and wraps up at 1 p.m. Saturday. Saturday's game time was moved up several hours earlier in the week to accommodate TCU's traveling arrangements. Fans can hear the action live on KGBC Radio 1540 AM or through the Internet at www.kgbcradio.cc.
With the win, the Cougars (39-14, 20-7) pushed their lead to 1.5 games over the Horned Frogs (29-25, 19-9) but did not gain any ground over Louisville, which took a 14-1 win at East Carolina on Thursday, and remained a half game ahead of the Cardinals. UH also extended its lead over Southern Mississippi to two games after the Golden Eagles lost a 7-0 decision at Tulane.
In a game which featured two of the top pitchers in Conference USA with Sullivan and TCU righthander Clayton Jerome, offense for both teams was at a minimum. UH did not record its first hit of the game until the fifth inning, but it was a productive one. Junior shortstop Jesse Crain blasted the first pitch he saw from Jerome over the left field wall for a 1-0 UH lead.
Crain recorded his 10th home run of the year and became the third Cougar to reach double-digit homers this season, joining Brett Cooley and Chris Snyder.
One inning later, the Cougars padded their lead with an unearned run in the sixth inning. Michael Bourn reached on an infield single to lead off and moved to second base when TCU shortstop Levi Robinson's throw went wild. After moving to third on Keith Whatley's groundout, Bourn scored and gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead on Brett Cooley's sacrifice fly to center field.
That would be all the offensive support that Sullivan would need the rest of the way as he retired eight of the last nine batters. Jake Duncan walked to lead off the eighth inning in TCU's last offensive rally but was quickly retired on UH's fourth and final double play of the evening.