Baseball Rally Falls Short at NCAA Norman Regional
June 3, 2006
NORMAN, Okla. - The 11th-ranked University of Houston baseball team scored six runs during the final two innings, but it would not be quite enough as the Cougars dropped an 8-6 decision to No. 1 seed and 13th-ranked Oklahoma in an elimination game during the NCAA Norman Regional at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Trailing 8-0 after seven-and-a-half innings, the Cougars rallied with three runs in the eighth inning, courtesy of back-to-back home runs from Matt Weston - a two-run, opposite-field shot to left center - and a towering solo shot to center field from Brad Lincoln. It was the third time during the 2006 campaign that the Cougars recorded consecutive home runs.
The Cougars continued their rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. After back-to-back singles from Matt Farrington and Bryan Pounds, Jake Stewart smashed a three-run homer to left field to pull the Cougars to within 8-6.
However, that would be as close as the Cougars would get the rest of the way. UH ended its 2006 season with a 39-22 overall record, the most victories since the 2000 squad tied a school record with 48 wins. Oklahoma improved to 41-20 overall and will meet the loser of Saturday night's TCU-Wichita State game at 1 p.m., Sunday.
Sophomore righthander Ricky Hargrove collected the loss and fell to 8-6 after surrendering seven runs off eight hits with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work. Junior righthander Shea Hancock performed admirably in relief, holding the Sooners to only one run off four hits with a career-best seven strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
OU starter Steven Guerra improved to 11-3 with the win after holding the Cougars to three runs off four hits with eight strikeouts in 7.1 innings. Reliever John Brownell collected his second save after throwing a scoreless ninth inning.
Weston went 2-for-5 with a run, homer and two RBIs, while senior infielder Isa Garcia batted 2-for-4 with a run in their final games as collegiate players. Garcia also finished the 2006 season on a career-best 10-game hitting streak.
Ryan Rohlinger went 3-for-5 with a home run and game-high five RBIs, while Kevin Smith batted 2-for-4 with a home run. Jackson Williams went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs, and Russell Raley batted 2-for-4 with a run to lead the Sooners, who outhit the Cougars 14-9.
The Sooners struck for the game's first run in the second inning when Kody Kaiser laced a two-out, solo home run over the right-field wall.
OU pushed its lead to 5-0 in the third inning with a pair of home runs. Ryan Rohlinger provided the big blast with a three-run shot down the left-field line and was followed by Kevin Smith's solo homer to right center.
The Sooners continued to pad their lead with two more runs in the fourth inning off Rohlinger's two-run single to left field.
In the eighth inning, OU pinch hitter Scott Rooker's two-out double down the left-field line plated Williams from first base.
The Cougars put their first mark on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning. Garcia slapped a single into single into left field, and Weston launched an 0-1 offering over the wall in left-center. Lincoln then blasted the first pitch he saw over the center-field fence to knock Guerra from the game and pull the Cougars to within 8-3.