Comeback! Coogs to Play for Regional Championship
June 2, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. - Down 4-0 in the eighth, No. 9 Houston Baseball never let up as it rallied back to tie the game and force extra innings, later coming away with a 5-4 victory on a Kyle Survance two-out, RBI-single, winning in 11 innings over No. 4 LSU to advance to the Regional Championship game on Monday at 7:05 p.m.
The Cougars and Tigers will square off with a winner take all game on Monday to advance to the Super Regionals next weekend. The last time a Cougar team advanced to the Regional Championship game came back in 2008 - the last regional appearance for Houston - when they fell to Texas A&M in the College Station Regional.
With the win, Houston improved to 47-16 overall and 4-0 in extra-inning games this season - and has won 16 of its last 20 and finished Sunday with two victories to force a Game 7 in the Baton Rouge Regional.
You couldn't have asked for a better performance out of senior closer Chase Wellbrock (5.0,3,1,1,0,2) as the Houston all-time saves leader comes in and shuts LSU down, allowing just one run on three hits in 5.0 complete innings with two strikeouts for the win - improving to 5-0 in his senior campaign.
His effort was backed by a tremendous defensive effort by the Cougars - who played yet another errorless baseball game - making several web gem catches in the outfield to preserve the late lead, including a wall-crashing catch in extras by senior Landon Appling to keep the Tigers off the bases.
Houston tallied nine hits and drove in five runs - all of which were registered as RBI.
Survance (3x5, R, RBI) drove in the game-winner in the 11th on his third hit of the night. He was joined by a two-RBI night by Appling (1x5, R, 2 RBI) and senior Caleb Barker (1x4, 2 RBI) - who each drove in two on singles up the middle in the eighth - combining for the four-run frame to tie it.
Sophomore Josh Vidales (2x4, 2 R) was the table-setter all night, tallying two base hits and a walk, while scoring a run to join senior Casey Grayson (1x5) and junior Michael Pyeatt (1x2, R) with big hits that made large contributions in the winning effort.
It was a two-out single by Vidales in the 11th, followed by a two-out double by Pyeatt that set the table for Survance to drive in the winning run.
David Longville (5.0,5,1,1,1,2) made one of the best starts of his Houston career against LSU, lasting 5.0 complete innings, allowing just one run on five hits and one walk with two strikeouts - but was the hard-luck loser, falling to 1-1 on the year.
Sophomore Jared West (1.0,2,2,2,0,0) allowed two runs on two hits in 1.0 inning of work in relief, before handing the ball over to Wellbrock to finish the final five innings on just 55 pitches.
LSU broke open a scoreless game in the second with a solo homerun, but Longville was able to settle in and retire the next three. The Tigers threatened in the first as well with one out and runners on the corners, but a groundball to Grayson was putout at first before Grayson-to-Barker-to-Hollis on a 3-2-5 putout caught the LSU runner trying to take home on the groundball.
After a leadoff single by Survance to open the game, the Cougars were held without a hit until Grayson's two-out base knock through the ride side in the sixth inning.
LSU struck for a leadoff single in the sixth, chasing starter Longville after 5.0 complete innings. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native was sharp in his 14th start of the year. West took over for him and was able to retire the next three to escape any jam.
Ratcliff drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, but an unlucky break fell LSU's way when Hollis' sacrifice bunt was missed by the first baseman, finding the second baseman's glove behind the bag for a 4-6 double play to erase the runners.
After LSU scored two on an inside-the-park homerun that was protested on the spot after the ball was under the right field line gate - the Tigers held a 4-0 lead going into the eighth.
Houston used that momentum to strike for two runs in the eighth. Appling delivered to make it 4-2 on a two-run single up the middle with no outs in the inning. Grayson then executed a flawless groundball to put runners at second and third with just one out for Barker, who drove a 2-1 pitch into centerfield, scoring Survance and Appling - making it 4-4 in the eighth.
The Cougars made it interesting in the ninth with two walks and runners at the corners with two outs, but LSU was able to escape without any runs following an inning-ending strikeout.
Wellbrock allows a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth, but LSU is kept off the board, sending the game into extra innings - the second of the weekend.
In the top of the 11th and with two outs, Houston picked up a single off the bat of Vidales - his second of the game - to begin the extra-inning scoring threat. Pyeatt then laced a double down the right field line to put runners at second and third with two outs for Survance, who continued to be the go-to guy with runners in scoring position. The Jersey Village, Texas native placed a perfect ball down the left field line to score Vidales to put the Cougars up 5-4 with three outs to play.
Wellbrock returned and was sharp as always, inducing three straights to win it for the Coogs.
Houston Head Coach Todd Whitting
On the controversial inside the park home run during the 7th inning
On his pitching staff going into tomorrow's game
Senior Caleb Barker
On the momentum change after this game
Senior Chase Wellbrock
On the momentum change after this game
Sophomore Kyle Survance