CLEARWATER, FLA. -- A five-run fifth inning for East Carolina proved to the be difference as No. 14 Houston Baseball dropped the finale of the American Athletic Conference Championship, 9-1, to the Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
With the loss, the Cougars dropped just their fourth game in the last 23 contests as the overall record sits at 42-18 on the year heading into NCAA postseason play. The win streak was snapped with Sunday's loss after Houston strung together eight consecutive wins entering postseason action.
Houston will learn its postseason fate, whether its an NCAA Regional host, announced tonight, or what NCAA Regional it is sent to on Monday at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU.
MONDAY'S 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
NUMBERS OF NOTE
2 -- Houston made its second straight Championship game appearance.
2 -- Houston has notched back-to-back 40-win seasons, the first time since 1999 and 2000.
4 -- Four Cougars were named to the All-Tournament Team: Lantrip, Wong, Rice, Julks
14 -- Ashford Fulmer was hit-by-a-pitch in the second to extend on-base streak to 14 straight games.
15 -- Ian Rice walks in the fourth to extend his on-base streak to 15 games.
16 -- Jacob Campbell singled in the third inning to extend his on-base streak to 16 games.
22 -- Kyle Survance singled in the first to extend his on-base streak to 22 straight games.
Houston starter Seth Romero (4.2,6,5,5,0,4) went just 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with four strikeouts, and would fall in just his fourth game, with his last loss coming back on April 4 at Memphis.
The freshman southpaw fell to 7-4 in the debut campaign.
Junior Patrick Weigel took over for Romero, but wasn't able to get the Cougars out of the five-run fifth inning and handed the ball over to senior Jared Robinson (2.1,1,0,0,1,3), who worked 2.1 innings, without allowing a run on one hit and one walk with three strikeouts.
Sophomore Marshall Kasowski (1.2,3,3,0,0,0) tossed 1.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing no earned runs on three hits before handing the ball to senior teammate Aaron Garza (0.1,0,0,0,0,0,0) who retired the only hitter he faced.
The Houston offense was held to just five hits, as junior Kyle Survance led the Cougars with a pair of base knocks. Junior Chris Iriart (1x4), freshman Corey Julks (1x4) and junior Jacob Campbell (1x4) all singled, while junior Justin Montemayor (0x2, RBI) drove in the Cougars' lone run on a sacrifice fly.
East Carolina struck for a run in the first to take a 1-0 lead after a one-out hit-by-pitch followed by a single, wild pitch and an RBI-groundout put the Pirates ahead early.
Houston would use a sacrifice fly by Montemayor to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom half of the second inning, scoring Julks -- who led off the frame with a single, moved up a base on a walk by Wong and up another on a sacrifice bunt by Rice.
With two outs in the fifth, East Carolina drew a single and then took advantage of a two-run homerun to left field to go ahead, 3-1. The hit barrage continued for the Pirates as seven straight hitters reached, rolling over the lineup to go up 6-1 on five hits and a bases loaded walk.
After holding East Carolina scoreless the next three innings, the Pirates were able to take advantage of a two-out error and a two-run single to plate three final runs in the ninth to extend its lead to 9-1.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
Overall thoughts on the game
"East Carolina pitched well today. We didn't have the best offensive day. I just thought we got beat. You know, we get those two quick outs and next thing you know -- they have five runs on the board. If we would have been able to escape after that two-run homerun, we might have had a chance."
On the offensive approach today
"We didn't swing the bats that well and chased some pitches out of the zone. Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap to the other team. They beat us today."
On if the team is deserving of hosting an NCAA Regional
"It isn't about one day, but about a body of work and the metrics are all there. No question -- we should host a Regional."
JOIN THE DUGOUT CLUB
Nationally-ranked Houston Baseball would like to encourage those wishing to support the efforts and success of the baseball student-athletes to consider joining the Dugout Club for as low as $25 a month or $300 annually.
For a minimum monthly installment of $25 or a minimum one-time gift of $300, supporters can take advantage of the Pinch Hitter level, which will guarantee an invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball team apparel.
For a minimum monthly installment of $100 or a minimum one-time gift of $1,000, supporters can take advantage of the Diamond level, which will guarantee batting practice passes for two to any home game, invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball apparel.
**Cougar Pride points will be applied accordingly.
For more information on joining the Dugout Club, please contact the Houston Baseball office at (713) 743-9396.
For more information regarding Cougar Pride, please call (713) 743-GOUH.
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.