CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For the fourth straight year, Houston Baseball wins its way into the American Baseball Championship title game in Clearwater, Fla. after earning a convincing 13-3 win over (3) UConn on Saturday in the semifinal round at Spectrum Field.
The Cougars scored five runs in the fifth inning and never let up as they backed their ace starter in Trey Cumbie, who improved to 10-1 on the year with yet, another lights out performance, going 7.0 shutout innings with seven strikeouts and only surrendering two hits.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 39-19 overall and 3-0 in American Championship play, while UConn fell to 32-25 overall are have been eliminated from this week's tournament.
(2) Houston will play the winner of (1) UCF and (8) East Carolina at 11 a.m. CT Sunday on ESPNews in the American Championship game. East Carolina needs one win to advance to play the Cougars, while UCF must beat the Pirates twice Saturday to advance.
- Corey Julks has reached base in 20 straight games and Joe Davis in 18 straight.
- Houston has hit 54 home runs -- the most since 71 in 2006.
- Trey Cumbie improves to 10-1 on the year with the win.
- Cumbie becomes first Cougar since Austin Pruitt in 2013 to win 10 games in one season.
- Houston has advanced to the American Championship title game for the fourth straight year.
- Cougars have now won five straight games.
- Houston has tallied at least 10 hits in four of the last five games.
Houston out hit UConn, 14-7 en route to its third straight 10+ hit game -- all coming in this week's tournament. The Cougars were led offensively by junior Corey Julks, who drove in four RBI on two hits, which included his seventh home run of the season. Junior Connor Hollis drove in three RBI on two hits and freshman Lael Lockhart Jr. plated a pair of RBI on two hits.
American Pitcher of the Year Trey Cumbie proved why he is one of the best arms in the league, tossing 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts en route to his 10th win of the year in just his 14th start. He is now 10-1 in 2017.
Freshman Fred Villarreal worked the final 2.0 innings in relief, allowing two earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts.
4th | Houston broke open the 0-0 stalemate with a run in the fourth. With one out, Hollis was hit, took second on a single by Scheiner, and third on a bases-loading walk by Julks. With two outs, Coldiron hit a rocket up the middle that was misplayed, scoring Hollis for the game's first run.
5th | The Cougars had a fun fifth inning, scoring five runs to jump out on UConn, 6-0. Lockhart led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bielamowicz. Wong was hit and a double steal happened, putting runners in scoring position for Hollis, who put the Cougars ahead 3-0 on a two-run single up the middle. Scheiner then followed with an RBI-double down the left field line, scoring Hollis from first and then Julks belted his seventh home run of the year -- a two-run shot -- to make it 6-0.
7th | Houston added to its lead in the seventh with a pair of runs, thanks to a two-RBI single into left center off the bat of Lockhart to make it an 8-0 game.
9th | The Cougars continued to score runs in the ninth, taking advantage of four walks and receiving RBI from Bielamowicz, Hollis and a two-run single by Julks, to plate five runs and go ahead, 13-0.
UConn didn't let up, down by 13 with three outs to play as the Huskies used four hits and two Houston errors to score three runs, but eventually fall 13-3.
UConn has been eliminated from the tournament and owns a 33-25 record. The Huskies were held to just seven hits, four of which came in the final frame. Seven different UConn hitters had a base hit. American Rookie Pitcher of the Year Mason Feole was chased in the fifth inning and suffered the loss, falling to 7-4 on the year. He allowed four earned runs on four hits and two walks in 4.1 innings of work.
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