May 17, 2014
No. 12 HOUSTON
CAMDEN, N.J. - No. 12 Houston Baseball wrapped up its 2014 regular season with a 7-5 American Athletic Conference win over Temple on Saturday afternoon at Campbell's Field. The win improved the Cougars' record to 41-14 and 14-9 in league action.
The 41 regular-season wins are the most regular-season wins since earning 41 back in 2002. That season, the Cougars won seven during the post-season to finish with a program-best 48.
NOTE: Due to inclement weather on Friday, causing unplayable conditions for Game 2 of the series, as well as travel arrangements for Houston on Saturday, the three-game weekend series at Temple has been shortened to just two games.
With the shortened two-game series, Temple and Houston finished with an even 1-1 in the series.
Highlighted by dominating relief pitching and work on the base paths, the Cougars finished with six stolen bases, a season-high.
Senior Tyler Ford (5.1,5,2,1,0,7) continued to make a statement as Houston's long reliever as the lefty struck out a career-high seven hitters en route to his seventh win to improve to 7-0 in his 22 appearance of the year. He allowed just one earned run on five hits and no walks in 5.1 innings out of the pen.
Senior Chase Wellbrock (2.0,1,0,0,0,1) took over for Ford in the eighth and shut Temple down to earn his 11th save of the year and his 23rd of his career.
Houston and Temple tied in hits with 10 apiece as sophomore Justin Montemayor (3x5, R) led all hitters with three base hits, while scoring a run. Sophomore Kyle Survance (2x3, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 SB) had two hits, scored three runs and stole two bases, bringing his team-total to 29 on the season.
Adding to the offense with an RBI was junior Michael Pyeatt (1x3, R, RBI), sophomore Ashford Fulmer (1x1, RBI), senior Frankie Ratcliff (1x4, R, RBI, BB), and senior Landon Appling (1x3, RBI), while freshman Connor Hollis (1x5) singled.
Houston used a leadoff single by Survance, a stolen base and sacrifice bunt by Pyeatt to set up an RBI-situation for Grayson, who put the Cougars up 1-0 on a sacrifice fly into left field.
Temple didn't back down in the latter half of the inning when it used a two-out, two-run homerun to take its first lead of the game.
The Cougars then quickly responded with its second run of the game on an Appling RBI-single that plated Ratcliff, who opened the frame with a walk and moved up a base on a passed ball. Temple then chased Garza after they opened the inning with back-to-back singles and later jumped back ahead on a bases-loaded walk.
Sophomore Aaron Garza (1.2,4,3,3,1,1) lasted just 1.2 innings after allowing three runs on four hits and one run with one strikeout before handing the ball over to his senior teammate Ford, who stranded the bases load with a huge strikeout to escape the Temple threat in the second inning.
Houston used a throwing error by Temple in the top of the third to tie the game back up at 3-3, scoring Pyeatt from second on the groundball to second base by Ratcliff.
Survance used his wheels once again to put Houston on the board and tie the game back up at 4-4 in the top of the fifth. The Jersey Village, Texas native doubled to open the fifth, then stole third and took home on a throwing error.
Ratcliff put the Cougars back ahead with a two-out RBI single into left field, scoring Montemayor from second after he singled and moved up a base on a wild pitch.
Two walks and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases and with one out, Pyeatt reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Vidales from third to put Houston up 6-4. Temple was able to escape a no-out, bases-loaded jam, allowing just one run to score.
Houston added its seventh and final run in the eighth with a two-out RBI double by Fulmer, plating Survance, who walked and took second on a wild pitch.
Temple would scratch across a run in the eighth to make it 7-5, but Wellbrock, after allowing a leadoff single in the ninth, slammed the door on Temple, inducing a final double play.
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With the regular season wrapped up, Houston will prepare for the American Athletic Conference Championship in Clearwater, Fla. next week. Official tournament pairings will be released following the conclusion of every regular-season conference series.