Baseball Forces Championship Game at NCAA Regional at College Station
June 1, 2003
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Hyung Cho blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to lift the University of Houston baseball team from a one-run deficit to a 7-6 win in the first game of the championship at Olsen Field during the NCAA Regional at College Station.
The Cougars were scheduled to play the Aggies in a rematch at 7 p.m., Saturday with the winner advancing to next weekend's NCAA Super Regional against Rice.
After Justin Ruggiano put the Aggies ahead with a solo home run in the top of the seventh, the Cougars answered in the bottom of the frame. Gabe Lucas reached on an A&M infield error before Cho blasted a 1-1 offering from Aggie reliever Dan Donaldson over the left field wall to put UH ahead 7-6.
The junior third baseman finished the day 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs to lead a Cougar offensive attack, which rapped out 11 hits in the game.
UH closer Ryan Wagner slammed the door on the A&M offense with two shutout innings and struck out three of the seven batters he faced for his school-record 14th save of the season.
Freshman reliever Kevin Roberts picked up his first collegiate win by tossing 1.2 innings with only one hit and one run with three strikeouts.
Donaldson dropped to 1-3 after giving up one run off two hits with a pair of strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
The Cougars made their mark on the scoreboard first with three runs in their first at-bat. Bourn led off with a single to right center and came all the way around to score on an A&M error on Lucas' sacrifice attempt.
After reaching second base, Lucas scored the Cougars second run on Cho's single through the left side of the infield, and Cho raced all the way to third on an A&M error in the outfield. Brad Sullivan reached base on the Aggies' third error of the inning, and Travis Tully's groundout plated Cho to hand the Cougars an early 3-0 lead.
Texas A&M cut into the lead in its next at-bat with a run on Kevin Whelan's sacrifice fly.
The Aggies jumped ahead in the third inning with three runs off two hits and a passed ball. Erik Schindewolf scored the frame's first run on Scott Beerer's sacrifice fly, and Cliff Pennington tied the game at 3-3 on a Cougar passed ball. After Ruggiano walked and moved into scoring position on another passed ball, Justin Pouk gave the Aggies the lead with an RBI single through the left side.
UH answered and reclaimed the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Cho and Bruce led off with back-to-back singles and moved up a base on Sullivan's sacrifice bunt. From there, Tully plated Cho with a sacrifice fly into center field, and Stuart Musslewhite slapped an RBI-single through the left side of the infield to score Bruce and give the Cougars a 5-4 lead.
A&M knotted the game in the fifth inning when Beerer's second straight sacrifice fly plated Cory Patton, who led off the frame with a single.
Pouk batted 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Ruggiano scored three times for Texas A&M.