Headed to the Supers! Cougars are Regional Champs
June 3, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. - Playing to keep its season alive and advance to the NCAA Super Regional round, No. 9 Houston Baseball overcame an early deficit and scored 12 unanswered runs to earn an impressive 12-2 victory over No. 4 LSU at Alex Box Stadium on Monday evening to capture the 2014 Baton Rouge Regional title and advance on to the Supers for the first time since 2003.
With win No. 48 this season captured, the Cougars have tied the program-record of 48 wins in a single season, coming twice in program history (2002, 2000). Houston improved to 48-16 this season and finished the Baton Rouge Regional with a 4-1 mark with back-to-back wins over the No. 8 national seed in LSU.
The back-to-back wins on the road at The Box marked the first time since 2000 a Houston program had accomplished that feat.
Playing in front of over 11,000 fans at Alex Box Stadium and with the season on the line, Houston stepped up and beat the odds when a seven-run third inning took over, lifting the Cougars to an early 9-2 lead, which held until a three-run eighth extended the lead by 10 runs.
When you mention dominant postseason pitching - junior Jared Robinson's name will appear near the top - as the right-hander entered the game in the third inning in place of freshman starter Andrew Lantrip.
Robinson (6.1,4,0,0,1,8) was brilliant in all facets as he finished with a career-high eight strikeouts in a career-long 6.1 innings - allowing no runs with four hits and one walk to improve to 5-1 on the year - all out of the bullpen.
His effort on the bump was backed by a strong offensive performance, which featured 12 hits and a seamless defensive game - committing no errors for the third time this weekend.
Every Cougar contributed in some way offensively as five Houston players finished with a multi-RBI game. Leading the charge was sophomore Ashford Fulmer (3x3, R, 2 RBI) - who was a perfect three-for-three with two RBI on the night. He was joined by senior Frankie Ratcliff (2x3, 2 R, 2 RBI) and freshman Connor Hollis (2x4, R, 2 RBI) with two base knocks and two RBI.
Joining them in the RBI column was junior Michael Pyeatt (1x4, R, 2 RBI) and senior Landon Appling (1x4, R, 2 RBI) totaled two RBI each on base hits, while senior Caleb Barker (1x3, R, RBI) drove in a run on a hit.
Named Most Outstanding Player of the Baton Rouge Regional, sophomore Kyle Survance (1x4, 2 R, 2B) finished with a base hit, two runs scored and his 31st stolen base of the season. Senior Casey Grayson (1x3, R, RBI) plated a run and walked three times, while sophomore Josh Vidales (0x4, 2 R, BB) walked and scored two runs.
Lantrip (2.2,4,2,2,2,0) worked 2.2 innings in his sixth career start and second on the weekend, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks before handing the ball over to reliever Robinson to close out the game with the Cougars on top.
LSU jumped out and took an early lead on the Cougars, posting two runs on three hits off Lantrip, but Houston returned the scoring effort in the latter half of frame when the first three hitters in Survance, Pyeatt and Grayson all reached by free passes. Ratcliff then drilled a ball into deep centerfield, scoring Survance from third and moving Pyeatt to third.
With one out in the first, Barker laid down a well-placed safety squeeze, scoring Pyeatt to tie the game at 2-2. After a leadoff single in the second by Hollis and a sacrifice bunt by Fulmer to move him to second, he was left stranded, sending the game to the third halted with a stalemate.
Lantrip ran into a little trouble in the third when he allowed two hitters to reach via the walk. After a two-out walk, he handed the ball over to Robinson with runners at second and third where the righty induced an inning-ending strikeout on a 3-2 pitch.
For the third straight inning Houston's leadoff hitter reached and that proved to be big in the third frame as the Cougars posted seven runs on five hits to take a 9-2 lead in the game. The inning was started when Grayson, Ratcliff and Barker all reached via a walk, single and hit-by-pitch, respectively.
Grayson was erased at home on a force out, but with one out, the Cougars let loose for seven runs, beginning with an RBI-hit-by-pitch coming off the shoulder of Appling. The scoring continued when Hollis roped a double down the right field line, plating two for a 5-2 lead. Fulmer followed with an RBI-single and Survance walked before Pyeatt smoked a two-strike pitch through the left side, scoring two more runs for an 8-2 lead, allowing Ratcliff to add to his RBI total tonight with his second sacrifice fly.
Robinson was in total control as he cruised through four innings without allowing an LSU hit until the Tigers struck for three in the eighth. However, no score changed happened as Robinson was able to induce an inning-ending groundout.
To the ninth, the Cougars padded their lead with three more runs when it loaded the bases with one out. Grayson scored on a passed ball, followed by an Appling RBI-single to score Ratcliff and a sacrifice fly by Fulmer to score Vidales to make it 12-2.
Robinson struck out the first two LSU hitters in the ninth, but the second reached on a ball in the dirt. The Tigers then singled, but were retired on the two outs, ending their season with a 46-16-1 overall record.
BATON ROUGE ALL-REGIONAL TEAM
Houston Head Coach Todd Whitting
On his pitching depth
On the previous 5-4 win carrying over into tonight's game
On bringing Jared Robinson in after throwing earlier this weekend
On if he thinks Houston will host Super Regional