CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Houston Baseball rallied from a 4-1 deficit midway through Thursday's game to eventually come out on top, 7-6, over No. 3 seed UConn to advance to the American Athletic Conference semifinal round at Spectrum Field.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 38-19 overall and 2-0 in American Championship play, while UConn fell to 32-24 overall and 1-1 in the tournament.
(2) Houston will play the winner of (7) Memphis vs. (3) UConn on Saturday at 9 a.m. CT. Those two teams meet at 10 a.m. CT Friday in an elimination game. The game will air on the American Digital Network at www.theamerican.org/dn.
- Corey Julks has reached base in 19 straight games and Joe Davis in 17 straight.
- Houston has hit 53 home runs -- the most since 71 in 2006.
- Tyler Bielamowicz belted his first career home run -- a solo shot on the first pitch in the bottom of the third.
- Corey Julks blasted his sixth home run of the year -- a go-ahead home run in the seventh to make it 6-5.
- Lael Lockhart Jr. went 3-for-3 with a run and RBI.
- Houston's bottom three (all freshmen) went 5-for-9 with five runs and three RBI to lead the way.
Top Offensive Players
Tyler Bielamowicz | 2x3, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR (1)
Lael Lockhart Jr. | 3x3, R, RBI, 2 2B
Corey Julks | 1x4, R, RBI, HR (6)
Joe Davis | 2x3
Jake Scheiner | 1x4, 2 RBI, 3B
Connor Wong | 1x4, R
Houston managed to chase one of the American's best pitching arms in UConn's Tim Cate after 5.1 innings, tallying a total of 10 hits on the day. The Cougars were led offensively by freshmen Lael Lockhart Jr., who went 3-for-3 with a run and RBI and two doubles and classmate Tyler Bielamowicz, who belted his first career home run and doubled in what proved to be the game-winner in the eighth.
American Player of the Year Jake Scheiner had another big game, driving in a pair on a two-out, two-run triple off the wall to tie the game at 4-4 in the fifth.
Sophomore starter Mitch Ullom made his team-high 15th start of the year and went 6.1 innings, allowing just one earned run on nine hits, one walk with three strikeouts in the no-decision.
Ullom handed the ball over to freshman reliever Brayson Hurdsman in the seventh and the southpaw went 1.1 innings of hitless baseball and induced a huge inning-ending double play to escape any threat in the top of the seventh. With the impressive relief outing, Hurdsman earned the win, improving to 4-2 on the season.
Sophomore Aaron Fletcher took over in the eighth and finished with 1.1 innings out of the bullpen and preserved a lead, allowing just one run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts for his second straight save in the American Championship and eighth on the year.
2nd | Houston scored the game's first run in the second inning when Lockhart drove a two-out double into left field, scoring Triolo -- who reached on a fielder's choice and stole second.
3rd | UConn took the lead after a few defensive miscues and a big three-run home run, scoring four unearned runs to take a 4-1 lead on the Cougars.
Houston quickly responded on the first pitch to Bielamowicz in the bottom half of the inning, as the freshman belted his first career home run -- a solo shot -- to make it a 4-2 game.
5th | The Cougars tied the game with a pair of runs in the fifth thanks to a two-out, two-run triple off the wall by Scheiner, scoring Lockhart and Bielamowicz, who kept the inning alive doubling and walking, respectively.
6th | Julks belted a deep shot to center field for his sixth home run of the year to put the Cougars on top, 5-4.
7th | UConn tied the game with two base hits in the seventh to make it a 5-5 score.
Houston didn't back down after the Huskies tied the game, scoring a go-ahead run in the seventh on a throwing error and interference play at third base as Wong made it 6-5.
8th | The Cougars tacked on a much-needed insurance run in the eighth when Bielamowicz drove in Triolo, who walked, on an RBI-double to make it 7-5 Houston.
9th | UConn made it interesting in the ninth, scoring one run on three hits, but Fletcher settled in and stranded a pair with a game-ending strikeout.
UConn fell to 32-24 on the year with the loss and will meet Memphis on Friday at 10 a.m. CT in an elimination game. The Huskies out hit Houston, 12-10, but stranded seven. Isaac Feldstein led the way offensively, driving in three runs on a three-run home run. Reliever Ryan Radue suffered the loss, allowing one earned run on two hits in 2.0 innings.
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