Cougars Suffer Heartbreaker in C-USA Championship Opener

    Jacob Lueneburg with two hits and an RBI
    Jacob Lueneburg with two hits and an RBI
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    May 23, 2012

    Final Stats

    FINAL

    Houston
    (17-34-1)
    5   No. 4 Rice
    (40-15)
    7

      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    Houston 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 9 2
    No. 4 Rice 1 0 2 1 0 0 2 1 x 7 11 1

    W: Taylor Wall (6-3)
    S: Tyler Duffey (6)
    L: Jared Ray (2-6)

    PITCHING


    >

    Houston IP H R ER BB SO
    Jordan Lewis 5.1 8 4 4 4 4
    Jared Ray 2.1 3 3 2 2 0
    Aaron Stewart 0.1 0 0 0 0 1
    Rice IP H R ER BB SO
    Andrew Benak 0.2 3 3 3 1 1
    Zech Lemond 4.2 4 2 2 1 3
    Taylor Wall 2.0 2 0 0 1 2
    Tyler Duffey 1.2 0 0 0 0 3

    BATTING


    Houston AB R H RBI BB SB
    Jacob Lueneburg 4 1 2 1 0 0
    Price Jacobs 4 0 2 1 0 0
    Codey Morehouse 4 1 2 0 0 0
    Landon Appling 3 2 1 0 2 1
    John Cannon 3 1 1 1 1 0
    Chase Jensen 2 0 1 0 0 0
    Michael Pyeatt 4 9 0 1 0 0
    Jonathan Davis 4 0 0 1 0 0

    NUMBERS OF NOTE


    5 Five different Cougars recorded an RBI in Wednesday's loss to Rice.

    2 Houston tallied two triples off the bats of juniors Chase Jensen and Jacob Lueneburg.

    4 The Cougars recorded a team season-high four sacrifice bunts.

    PEARL, Miss.—The University of Houston baseball team dropped a 7-5 heartbreaker to top-seeded and No. 4-nationally-ranked Rice in the C-USA Championship opener at Trustmark Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pearl, Miss.

    The Cougars opened up strong on all cylinders, but spotted the Owls several free bases late in the game, falling to 17-34-1 this season. Rice improved to 40-15 with the win.

    Houston tallied nine hits, led by three Cougars with a multi-hit game. Junior Jacob Lueneburg (2x4, R, RBI) drove in a run, tripled and scored with his two-hit effort, while freshman Price Jacobs (2x4, RBI) and senior Codey Morehouse (2x4, R) each tallied two base knocks.

    Five Houston players recorded an RBI. Senior John Cannon (1x3, R, RBI), freshman Michael Pyeatt (0x4, RBI), and sophomore Jonathan Davis (0x4, RBI) each drove in a run to accompany Lueneburg and Jacobs.  Sophomore Landon Appling (1x3, 2 R, 2 BB) walked twice and scored two runs for Houston.

    The Cougars went up 3-0 after the first as Appling opened the game with a leadoff walk. HE moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Lueneburg. Davis’ RBI-groundout went on to plate Appling for the first run of the game. With two outs, Cannon doubled and Jacobs singled, driving in two.

    Rice scored a run in the bottom half of the frame on three hits, but Houston starter Jordan Lewis (5.1,8,4,4,4,4) induced an inning-ending double play to escape Rice’s early threat.

    The Cougars continued to show well at the plate, adding two more runs in the second to pull ahead 5-1 on three more hits. A leadoff single by Morehouse got things going, followed by a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Runte. With one out and a runner at second, Appling singled then stole second to put runners in scoring position. Pyeatt lasered a ball to left field that was caught for a sacrifice fly. A two-out triple by Lueneburg, his first of the year, followed to give Houston a four-run lead.

    Lewis worked a hitless second, but ran into some trouble in the third when the Owls made it a 5-3 game on four straight hits to open the frame.

    Rice would add another run in the fourth on an RBI-double that scored a two-out walk.

    Senior Jared Ray (2.1,3,3,2,2,0) would enter the game in place of Lewis. Ray worked out of an inherited jam in the sixth, holding Rice scoreless. In the seventh, the Owls used two infield singles and a bases loaded walk to tie the game at 5-5. What looked like an inning-ending double play on a ground ball to Runte at shortstop ended up resulting in the winning run on a safe call at first base.

    Houston had a chance in the eighth to tie the game back up at 6-6 when Jensen belted a one-out triple down the right field line, but was thrown out on a safety squeeze bunt attempt by Morehouse.

    Rice added a late insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, while Owl reliever Tyler Duffey (1.2,0,0,0,0,3) fanned three in the ninth for the save.

    Junior lefty Aaron Stewart (0.1,0,0,0,0,1) fanned one in the eighth.

    Earning the win for Rice was reliever Taylor Wall (2.0,2,0,0,1,2), who worked 2.0 scoreless innings, surrendering two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. 

    Ray suffered the loss for Houston, falling to 2-6 on the year. The righty surrendered two earned runs on three hits in 2.1 innings of work, while walking two.

    GAME HIGHLIGHTS

    • Sophomore Landon Appling robbed Rice of two base hits in the bottom of the eighth on a diving catch in shallow centerfield off the bat of Michael Fuda and a wall-grabbing catch off the bat of Jeremy Rathjen that saved a double.
    • Houston recorded two triples in the game – a season-best. Prior to the game, the Cougars had just seven three-baggers.
    • Houston stranded just six runners to Rice’s 12.
    • The Cougars had three extra base hits to Rice’s two.
    • Houston tallies four sacrifice bunts, a season-high.

    POST-GAME QUOTES
    Head Coach Todd Whitting
    On the effort of the Cougars…
    “My guys played their behinds off.  I’ve been telling them all year that if they keep playing like they’re playing, the hops are going to start going their way, and they continue not to.  They had so many hits that were just out of the reach of our fielders.  The double play ball where we don’t get the call at first base, the ball hopped up on (Jake) Runte at short.  If that ball takes a normal hop, we get a double play easy, and we’re out of the inning.  I feel bad for my kids, they just can’t seem to get a break.  We walk in the winning run, it’s been that case the whole year.  I keep telling them, just keep playing and eventually things are going to change.  Hopefully it will start tomorrow.”

    On the significance of opening the tournament with Rice…
    “It’s just game one.  To advance out of this tournament, you almost have to win the first game.  We played Rice really well, going back to the conference championship game last season.  We’ve had the lead late in the game in all but one of those games.  We just have to find a way to finish games against those guys.  They’re a good ball club.  Good teams, when you let them hang around, when you don’t get a hop, when you make a mistake here and there, that’s what’s going to happen.”

    On the effort of starting pitcher Jordan Lewis…

    “It was a gutty performance.  I would have liked to see him do a better job with two outs, which was his nemesis today.  He would get two quick outs and then give up walk and a few runs in a couple of innings.  He went out there and pitched his behind off.  He gave me everything he had.”

    UP NEXT
    Houston will play Game 2 of the C-USA Championship on Thursday vs. Southern Miss at 3 p.m. Both teams suffered a Game 1 loss.

     


     

     

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