May 21, 2005
HOUSTON - Sophomore infielder Brad Lincoln went 2-for-4 with two runs and a towering three-run homer, but it would not be enough as the University of Houston baseball team dropped an 11-7 decision Saturday to No. 30 Southern Miss in the finale of a Conference USA series at Cougar Field.
With the loss, the Cougars dropped to 30-28 overall and finished the league schedule with a 16-13 record. USM improved to 39-17 overall, 20-10 in C-USA games.
The Cougars, who earned the No. 5 seed, will open the 2005 C-USA Tournament presented by PowerAde against No. 4 East Carolina at 9 a.m., Wednesday at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field in Hattiesburg, Miss. This will be the first time that these two teams will meet as they missed one another during the 2005 regular season.
The game can be heard live on the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with former UH letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. In addition, fans can follow all the play-by-play action by clicking on the Gametracker link at www.UHCougars.com.
The two teams went back and forth were tied through the first three innings. However, the Golden Eagles took the lead for good in the fourth inning with two runs and added two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings to break the contest open and win the regular-season series.
Southern Miss first baseman Brad Willcutt went 5-for-6 with four doubles, four runs and four RBIs to lead the USM offense, which pounded out 17 hits in the game. Kevin Coker went 3-for-6 with a double, while Marc Maddox, Jason Lower, David Steele and Trey Cuevas each rapped out two hits in the win.
Junior outfielder Travis Tully went 2-for-5 with a run, while junior DH Kevin Roberts batted 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs in the losing effort. Freshman infielder Bryan Tully scored a team-high three runs.
UH reliever Chris Wright earned the loss and dropped to 0-1 after giving up two runs off three hits with a strikeout during his first collegiate decision. USM starter Patrick Ezell improved to 7-2 with the win after holding the Cougars to five runs off eight hits with six strikeouts in six innings of work.
USM jumped out to an early lead in their first at bat with a pair of runs on Brad Willcutt's RBI-double and an RBI-single from David Steele.
But the Cougars rallied in the bottom of the next half-inning with two runs of their own. Bryan Tully reached on a single and moved all the way to third base on Brad Lincoln's single to right field. Dustin Kingsbury then lifted a looping single into shallow center field to plate Bryan Tully and allowed Kingsbury to race to third base.
Kevin Roberts then launched a sacrifice fly into center field to plate Lincoln and knot the game at 2-2.
The score remained that way until the third inning when Willcutt launched a two-run homer over the left-field wall and Jason Lowery came around to score on the Cougars' first error of the day.
Again, the Cougars answered in their next at bat, tying the game on Lincoln's towering three-run homer over the scoreboard in right center.
USM regained the lead for good in the fourth inning when Willcutt's double - his second of the game - to right field scored Kevin Coker from second base, and Jason Lowery's single up the middle scored Willcutt.
In the seventh inning, the Golden Eagles took advantage of a passed ball and an infield error to score two more runs. One inning later, Jason Lowery laced an RBI single to center field and the Cougars' third error of the day plated another run for an 11-5 USM lead.
The Cougars trimmed that deficit to four runs in the bottom of the inning after back-to-back RBI-singles from Roberts and Chris Joseph. However, that would be as close as UH would get the rest of the way.