CLEARWATER, FLA. -- No. 14 Houston Baseball put on an offensive clinic as it tallied a tournament-record 24 hits and scored 17 runs en route to a 17-3 run-rule win in eight innings over Memphis on Saturday, which sends them to the American Athletic Conference Championship Game, set for Sunday at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.
With the win, the Cougars advance to the Championship Game for the second straight season and will await the winner of East Carolina and UConn. Sunday's Championship Game at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday will be televised nationally on ESPNU as well as on UHCougars.com/baseradio.
Houston improves to 42-17 on the year after winning its eighth straight game and moves to 3-0 in the league's postseason tournament.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
2 -- Houston will make its second straight Championship game appearance.
2 -- Houston has notched back-to-back 40-win seasons, the first time since 1999 and 2000.
3 -- Kyle Dowdy went on to throw his third complete game of the year.
5 -- Corey Julks tallied a career-high five RBI in the victory.
6 -- Connor Wong drove in a tournament-record six RBI in the win.
8 -- Houston has now won eight straight games.
9 -- All nine offensive Cougars recorded a hit in today's win.
10 -- Freshmen Corey Julks and Connor Wong combined for 10 hits and 11 RBI.
13 -- Ashford Fulmer singled in the second to extend on-base streak to 13 straight games.
14 -- Ian Rice singles in the third to extend his on-base streak to 14 games.
15 -- Jacob Campbell singled in the third inning to extend his on-base streak to 15 games.
17 -- Houston scored an American Athletic Conference tournament-record 17 runs.
19 -- Houston has won 19 of the last 22 games played this season.
21 -- Kyle Survance tripled in the first to extend his on-base streak to 21 straight games.
24 -- Houston tallied a tournament record 24 hits, surpassing their previous high of 20 a year ago vs. UCF.
Houston used a 24-hit effort to score 17 runs and back Cougar starter Kyle Dowdy, who was solid in his ninth win of the year. Dowdy (8.0,3,3,1,3,2) went the distance, allowing just one earned run on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts to improve to 9-2 on the year.
The 24-hits was five shy of the single-game Houston team record, which was 29 vs. Memphis on April 3, 1999, but the 24-hits in a conference-tournament record in any conference Houston has ever played in, surpassing a previous high of 23 hits, happening vs. Charlotte on May 18, 1997 in Conference USA play.
Wong (5x6, 3 R, 6 RBI) broke an American Athletic Conference tournament record with six RBI on the day, all coming on a five-hit effort -- both career-bests for the freshman. He went on to also score three runs in the win.
Julks (5x6, 3 R, 5 RBI) notched a career-day as well, tallying five hits and five RBI, while scoring three runs.
Every Cougar in the order tallied a hit and all but two scored a run.
Junior Josh Vidales (3x5, 3 R, 2 RBI) and junior Ian Rice (3x6 2 RBI) each had a three-hit day and drove in a pair of RBI, while junior Ashford Fulmer (2x5, R, RBI) and junior Justin Montemayor (1x4, RBI) each had a hit and RBI.
Adding to the hit column and scoring runs for the Cougars was junior Jacob Campbell with a three-hit day, going 3-for-6 with two runs, while junior Kyle Survance tripled to open the game and scored two runs and junior Chris Iriart had a hit, walked twice and scored three times.
Houston scored in the first four innings to take a quick 11-0 lead through those frames, which was highlighted by a four-run third and five-run fourth.
The first run of the game came on a Vidales' RBI-single in the first, scoring Survance -- who opened the game with a leadoff triple. The Cougars added another run in the second when Wong scored on an RBI-single by Fulmer.
The third inning was key as the Cougars took advantage of a one-out walk by Iriart to notch four straight hits after that en route to four runs. The four hits came from Campbell, Julks, Wong, and Rice.
With one out in the fourth, Vidales and Iriart tallied back-to-back walks, allowing the next four Houston hitters to reach via the base hit, sparked by a two-run single by Julks and a two-run double by Wong.
Up 11-0, Dowdy continued to pitch at an efficient pace, retiring 13 of the first 14 hitters he faced with the only runner reaching on a 1-out single in the first.
Memphis would scratch across two runs in the fifth after back-to-back, 1-out walks ended up scoring on a base hit and error to make it 11-2 Houston through five innings.
Houston responded in the seventh with another run following a two-out RBI single by Wong, scoring Vidales -- who had led off the frame with a hit.
What looked to be a run-rule after seven and the Cougars head 12-2, Memphis would score one in the latter half of the inning on a fielding error to force an eighth inning.
With that the Cougars took advantage of the extra inning to score five more runs on four hits -- highlighted again by a bases-clearing double by Julks.
Dowdy was able to work a quick 1-2-3 eighth to end the game in run-rule fashion.
Memphis starter Connor Alexander (2.1,8,6,6,1,0) lasted just 2.1 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and one walk to fall to 4-3 on the year.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
On the Cougars' offensive performance
"That was impressive. We thought coming into the season, we would have an offensive club, but the last month or so, they have been clicking and scoring runs. Like I told them, when they get back to the hotel and take the uniform off, this game is over. We have to get ready to play tomorrow."
On Corey Julks' performance of late
"The last month or so, he has been our best hitter. He has been clutch. He has really grown up since the first part of the season. He is working his tail off and he deserves everything he is getting.
On advancing to the Championship game
"We just need to take care of business, go out there and throw strikes like we have been doing and drive in runs, and see what happens."
On returning to the Championship game for the second straight season
"Well anytime there is a trophy on the line, our kids are playing for something. To me, our postseason started over a month ago. We have had a chance to win a couple of trophies in the last week and there is another one out there tomorrow and we need to go get that thing."
Junior Josh Vidales
On today's offensive performance
"I think we did a really good job of shortening up our strokes and putting good swings on the ball even when we are down in the count, we were putting quality swings on the ball."
On Corey Julks' performance at the plate of late
"Big presence. In the past couple of weeks, he has been coming up big for us. He has worked hard and has been a big impact on this team."
On moving into the Championship Game on Sunday
"Just the next guy up. Come out everyday just like it was the last. Being Championship Day, there is a little more on the line. We just have to come out ready to play."
Houston will advance to the American Athletic Conference Championship for the second straight year and will await the winner of ECU-UConn.
The Championship Game will take place Sunday at 11 a.m. CT and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
NCAA SELECTION SHOW WATCH PARTY
Houston Baseball is prepared to return to NCAA Championship play for the second consecutive season and watch party details are set for the selection show, which will take place on Monday, May 25 at 11 a.m. CT. Join the Cougars at Lucky's Pub in its Downtown Houston location (801 St. Emanuel) to learn Houston's NCAA postseason fate. Doors open at 10 a.m.
What: Houston Baseball Watch Party for NCAA Selection Show
When: Monday, May 25
Time: 11 a.m. CT (show begins) -- Doors open at 10 a.m.
Where: Lucky's Pub (Downtown -- 801 St. Emanuel) | Houston, Texas 77003
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