May 24, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - The University of Houston baseball team jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first two innings and never looked back in taking a 10-5 win over UAB on Saturday during the fourth day of the 2008 Entergy Conference USA Championship, hosted by Tulane at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
UAB pulled to within a pair of runs in the fourth inning, but the Cougars answered with three in the fifth inning and single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames to seal the win.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 37-22 overall, while UAB dropped to 26-33. The Cougars forced an elimination game against the Blazers, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Saturday. However, Saturday's schedule at the Championship has been backed up due to longer games, so fans are encouraged to stay updated with the latest information at <ConferenceUSA.com or UHCougars.com.
The winner of Saturday night's Houston-UAB game advances to Sunday's C-USA Championship game, scheduled for 1 p.m., against the winner of the bracket featuring No. 2 seed Southern Miss and No. 6 seed Marshall.
Fans can hear all Cougar Baseball games live at UHCougars.com by clicking the appropriate links. Jeremy Branham will call the play-by-play action while former letterwinner Pat Cauley provides color analysis.
Fans always can follow live stats by clicking on the Gametracker link.
Senior third baseman Bryan Pounds went 3-for-4 with a run, home run and game-high four RBIs to pace the Cougar offense, which rapped out 10 hits in the game. Senior outfielder Jake Stewart batted 2-for-3 with a home run, three runs and two RBIs, while senior second baseman Ryan Lormand bated 2-for-5 with a double, triple, two runs and an RBI.
Freshman reliever Ty Stuckey collected the win and improved to 3-3 after limiting the Blazers to three runs off six hits and two walks with a strikeout in 4.1 innings. It was the Spring native's first appearance since May 4. Sophomore southpaw starter Donnie Joseph allowed only two unearned runs off three hits and a walks with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Junior southpaw reliever Jimmy Raviele closed out the win with a shutout ninth inning.
Allen Aubin went 4-for-4 with a run, double and two RBIs, while Phil Bell batted 3-for-5 to lead UAB, which outhit the Cougars 11-10.
UAB starter Johnny Volk picked up the loss and fell to 2-1 after surrendering seven runs (five earned) off five hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
The Cougars grabbed the early lead with two runs. After Blake Kelso reached on an error and stole second base, Stewart blasted a towering home run to left field. The rally continued as Jimmy Cesario was hit by a pitch, Lormand reached on another UAB infield miscue and Bryan Tully was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Zak Presley then lifted a sacrifice fly into left field to score Cesario for a 3-0 lead.
The Cougars added another run in the second inning, courtesy of a two-out rally. After two quick outs to start the frame, Stewart smashed a double off the wall down the left-field line and scored easily on Pounds' single through the right side for a 4-0 UH lead.
The score remained that way until the fourth inning when the Blazers cut the lead in half on Aubin's two-out, two-run single to left center.
UH pushed its lead to 7-2 in the third inning off a pair of this. Pounds launched a one-out, 1-0 offering over the center-field wall for the first run. After Cesario drew a walk, Lormand plated him with a triple to the wall in right center and then scored on Tully's sacrifice bunt.
The Blazers pushed a single run across in the sixth inning when Jonathan Merritt's sacrifice fly to center field scored Austin Taylor.
UH answered with a run of its own in the next half inning. Chris Wallace drew a leadoff walk and moved to third following Caleb Ramsey's single through the right side. After a walk to Stewart loaded the bases, Pounds lifted a sacrifice fly into right field to plate Wallace for an 8-3 Cougar lead.
The Cougars scored another run in the seventh inning. Lormand led off with a double down the left-field line and moved to third following Tully's sacrifice bunt. Presley then lined a single into left field for a 9-3 Cougar lead.
Jonathan Merritt smashed a two-run homer to left field to pull the Blazers to within 9-5 in the eighth inning. However, that would be as close as the Blazers would get the rest of the way.
In the bottom of the inning, Stewart drew a walk and stole second to move into scoring position. Going with the pitch, Stewart scored easily when Pounds slapped an RBI-single into right field for a 10-5 Cougar lead.