June 2, 2006
NORMAN, Okla. - Conor Gillaspie's RBI-double in the seventh inning broke a tie and helped lift No. 30 Wichita State to a 2-1 win over the 11th-ranked University of Houston baseball team Friday in the opening game of the 2006 NCAA Norman Regional at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
With the score tied at 1-1, Josh Workman drew a one-out walk and then stole second base to move into scoring position. Two batters later, Gillaspie gave the Shockers the lead for good, slapping a two-out double down the right-field line.
Wichita State's Aaron Shafter collected the win and improved to 11-3 after holding the Cougars to one run off six hits with three strikeouts in seven innings of work. Reliever Noah Booth picked up his seventh save after throwing the final two shutout innings.
Junior righthander Brad Lincoln saw his 11-game winning streak come to an end after allowing two runs off seven hits with five strikeouts in 6.2 innings. The Clute, Texas, native overcame a slow start but picked up his first losing decision since Feb. 18 at No. 23 Arizona State and fell to 12-2 this season.
Lincoln also went 2-for-3 with the team's lone run to lead the Cougar offense, which was outhit 8-7. Senior infielder Isa Garcia batted 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a personal-best nine straight games.
Matt Brown went 2-for-5 with a double and RBI to lead Wichita State, while Gillaspie finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI.
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 39-21 overall, while Wichita State improved to 45-20.
The Cougars return to action 1 p.m., Saturday in an elimination game from the NCAA Norman Regional. The Cougars meet the loser of Friday night's Oklahoma-TCU contest in the first game of the day.
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.
Sophomore righthander Ricky Hargrove will is expected to take the hill for the Cougars' during their second game at the 2006 NCAA Norman Regional. This season, the Katy, Texas, native has compiled an 8-5 record with 79 strikeouts and a 2.78 ERA in 97.0 innings of work. His ERA, innings pitched, wins and strikeouts are second among all UH hurlers.
He is the only member of the current weekend rotation that does not play in the field on his days away from the mound.
Hargrove received his first C-USA Pitcher of the Week honor on May 8 after limiting UCF to only two runs (one earned) off nine hits with a career-best nine strikeouts during the middle game of that series.
In his last start, Hargrove helped set the tone for the entire C-USA Tournament with an impressive performance in the Cougars' opening game against No. 7 seed Marshall. He allowed only one run off seven hits with three strikeouts in seven innings of work. Although he allowed at least one baserunner every inning, he was able to take advantage of numerous ground balls that induced a pair of double plays and allowed him to wiggle out of any jam.
Hargrove has never faced Oklahoma or TCU during his career. He also will be making his first career appearance in the NCAA postseason.
Wichita State grabbed the quick lead in the first inning when Brown's double to left field plated Kenny Waddell, who reached on a leadoff infield single.
The Cougars tied the game in the second inning. Lincoln reached on a leadoff single and moved to second base two batters later when Josh Stirneman drew a one-out walk. Luis Flores then laced an RBI-double down the left-field line to put the score at 1-1. However, that would be all the offense UH would muster the rest of the day.