May 25, 2006
HOUSTON - University of Houston junior righthander Brad Lincoln allowed only one run in eight innings of work to help lead the 11th-ranked Cougar Baseball team to a 7-1 win over No. 5 seed East Carolina on Thursday during the second day of the 2006 Conference USA Tournament at Reckling Park.
Lincoln, who won his 11th consecutive decision while celebrating his 21st birthday, scattered five hits with six strikeouts and retired 16 of the last 18 batters that he faced to improve to 12-1 and lower his team-leading ERA to an impressive 1.64 mark. The Clute, Texas, native allowed a one-out single to Dale Mollenhauer in the bottom of the third inning and then allowed only two more batters on a walk in the sixth inning and an infield error in the eighth inning over his final five innings.
Senior infielder Isa Garcia went 3-for-4 with a run, double and two RBIs, while freshman infielder Travis Cougot finished the day 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI to lead the Cougars, who outhit the Pirates 14-5 and saw all but one starter record a hit in the game.
Lincoln also helped his own cause at the plate, batting 2-for-4 with a run, while sophomore outfielder Bryan Tully batted 2-for-4. Senior outfielder Matt Weston also blasted a two-run homer in the fifth inning to give the Cougars a comfortable 4-1 cushion. It was the Chino Hill, Calif., native's team-leading 15th home run of the season with all of his long balls coming since April 4.
East Carolina (33-25) grabbed the early lead in the second inning before the Cougar claimed their first lead with four runs in the fourth inning. UH then seized control of the game with three more runs in the fifth inning for the final margin of victory.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 38-19 and recorded their highest win total since the 2002 season. The Cougars also earned a day off before returning to action at 9 a.m., Saturday in the semifinals. The Cougars will face the winner of Friday's Tulane-East Carolina game and must win only once on Saturday to advance to the C-USA Tournament championship game for the first time since 2002.
All Cougar postseason games can be heard live over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with former UH letterwinners Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling all the action. Fans also can follow play-by-play action by clicking on the "Live Stats" link on the schedule at www.UHCougars.com.
East Carolina grabbed the early lead in the second inning after Jake Dean fouled off several pitches before lining an RBI-single into center field to score Ryan Tousley, who reached on a two-out double down the right-field line.
UH erupted for four runs off three hits in the fifth inning for its first lead of the game. Cougot started the rally with a one-out to center moved and moved to second base following Jake Stewart's walk. After working his way to a 2-2 count, Garcia slapped a double down the left field line with both runners moving on the pitch to score both and plate the Cougars' first runs. Weston then followed with a towering two-run homer over the right-field wall for a 4-1 UH lead.
One inning later, the Cougars pushed its lead to 7-1. Lincoln laced a leadoff single into center field and moved into scoring position following Tully's sacrifice bunt. Luis Flores then laced a double into left field and moved up a base on an ECU error in the outfield.
Cougot followed with a double of his own down the left-field line. After back-to-back walks to Stewart and Garcia loaded the bases, Dustin Kingsbury reached on an infield single that allowed Cougot to score from third base.