May 16, 2013
HOUSTON - Two big swings off the bats of junior Frankie Ratcliff and freshman Justin Montemayor and sharp defense behind a solid pitching outing lifted Houston Baseball to a 3-2 win over Southern Miss on Thursday evening at Cougar Field.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
8 Frankie Ratcliff tripled for the eighth time in 2013 to move in a tie for the nation's lead and tied the Houston single-game record set back in 1993 by Phil Lewis.
21 With his third-inning single, freshman>Kyle Survance extended his consecutive games of reaching base safely streak to 21.
30 Houston is now 30-1 on the year when leading after seven inning as junior>Chase Wellbrock picked up his 10th save.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 34-19 and 12-10 in C-USA play, while the Golden Eagles fell to 27-24 and 14-8 with the series opening loss.
Each team tallied just seven hits, but Houston's came in the most needed situations as both Ratcliff and Montemayor registered two-out RBI with extra base hits.
Leading the surge offensively was Ratcliff, (2x4, RBI, 3B) who tallied two base knocks for his fourth straight multi-hit game. The shortstop drilled his eighth triple of the year, tying the single-season record set by Phil Lewis back in 1993. That three-bagger also propelled him into a tie for the nation's lead and brought the Cougars to 24 total, just three shy of the all-time Houston record of 27 set back in 1990.
Montemayor (1x4, RBI, 2B) picked up the game's first RBI in the first when he drove a 3-2 pitch into left center for a RBI-double with two outs.
Freshman>Josh Vidales (2x4, R) scored a run and tallied two hits, while fellow freshman>Kyle Survance (1x4, R) third inning single extended his current base streak to 21 straight games. Sophomore Michael Pyeatt (1x3) picked up the other lone Houston hit to extend his on-base streak to 12 straight games.
Pitching was key as Houston starter>Daniel Poncedeleon (7.1,7,2,2,5,2) earned the win to improve to 7-4 on the year following a two-run, seven-hit effort. The righty was helped by a strong defensive performance, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first.
Senior>Matt Hernandez (0.1,0,0,0,0,0) worked to one hitter and retired the lefty in a key situation in the eighth, while junior>Chase Wellbrock (1.1,0,0,0,0,2) continued to perform to high level out of the pen, picking up his 10th save on the year with a 1.1 inning, no-hit, two-strikeout performance.
Southern Miss jumped on the board early with a run in the first, following a leadoff walk, but Poncedeleon helped himself out with a fielder's choice and 1-2 putout to strand bases loaded and escape the early jam.
Houston bounced back in the latter half of the frame when Vidales singled and moved to third on a throwing error by the right fielder, attempting to catch Vidales over running the base. With two outs and a 3-2 count, Montemayor drove a deep ball into the left center gap, scoring Vidales to make it a 1-1 game.
The Cougars plated another run in the third when Survance singled and scored on a Ratcliff triple down the right-field line.
Another run in the fifth put the Cougars up 3-1 when Appling took second on a throwing error by Southern Miss' shortstop, moved to third on a bunt single by Vidales and scored on a groundball by Survance.
The 3-1 lead held up despite the Golden Eagles making it interesting with a single run in the seventh after a leadoff double, walk and fielder's choice.
When leading after seven innings, Houston is now 30-1 this season as Wellbrock and Hernandez closed the door on Southern Miss, holding the Golden Eagles hitless in the final 1.2 innings.
Houston knocked off Southern Miss starter Andrew Pierce (8.0,7,3,2,0,8) as he fell to 9-2 on the year, after allowing two earned runs on seven hits in a complete-game effort.
HEAD COACH Todd Whitting
"We played outstanding baseball tonight. We had a couple of mistakes early, but overall we played hard tonight. When you play hard, you can overcome things. We had timely hits and great pitching tonight. (Daniel Poncedeloen) Ponce pitched outstanding, he had great sink on the ball, and their hitters couldn't square up on the ball. >Matt Hernandez) Herny did his job, and then (Chase) Wellbrock comes in to shut the door like he's been doing all year. When we have those combinations, we win."
Thoughts on the win
"We came out fired up ready to play, and we played good baseball. Wellbrock did a great job of coming in, and getting the job done. All of our pitchers pitched well today with Ponce coming in throwing a gem, and Herny getting his job done."
On hitting behind>Josh Vidales and>Kyle Survance
"They do a good job of getting on base, and when guys do that the pitchers pitch you different. When those guys are getting hits it motivates you to get hits as well, and builds your confidents. When those guys are ripping you want to do the same, and join in on the hit parade. When they get on early in the game it makes my job easier."
On his performance tonight
"I was able to get good sink on my cutter and fastball tonight. I was able to get a lot of ground balls, and my defense played great behind me. We are happy with this win, and we are going to take it one game at a time moving forward."
On getting his 10th save of the season
"It was a pressure situation tonight. Ponce pitched a great game, and gave us a chance to win tonight. Our defense played great tonight, and we had timely hitting. I just wanted to come in and do my job for the team."
· Friday Frenzy | $1 hot dogs, $2 sodas, $3 beers
· Senior Day | Pregame (beginning around 12:30 pm)
· Help us honor our three departing seniors: Austin Pruitt, Ryan Bonnot and>Matt Hernandez.
Single-game tickets begin as low as $6 for youth and $8 for adults in general admission seating (Level 200) and as low as $8 for youth and $10 for adults in reserved seating (Level 100). CLICK HERE to purchase tickets or call the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at (713) GO-COOGS.
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.
Houston and Southern Miss will continue the three-game series at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.