Feb. 11, 2012
HOUSTON--Baseball Fan Appreciation Day at Cougar Field was full of excitement as 54 former Cougar standouts graced Cougar Field on Saturday and took part in the Alumni Game against the 2012 Houston Cougars under the direction of second-year head coach Todd Whitting.
Interaction among the former and current players and coaches began about three hours prior to the 2 p.m. start and concluded with an autograph session highlighting this year's ball club.
"To have the caliber of the former players we have at the University of Houston, it was very special to see all of these guys back," said Whitting.
Houston jumped out to an early 1-0 lead over the Alumni when senior John Cannon scored on a wild pitch. With one out following Cannon's fielder's choice, junior Casey Grayson's single to right center put Cannon at third with a chance to grab the game's first lead.
Former Cougar and Pittsburgh Pirate Brad Lincoln got the start for the Alumni. After surrendering an opening-inning run, Lincoln threw a scoreless second, before handing the ball off to his relief staff, which included Drabek, Ryan Wagner, Michael Goodnight, Daniel Crawford and Larry Coker.
Houston used one hit and two Alumni miscues to plate two more runs in the third. Junior Taylor White led off the frame with an infield single, but was cleared on a fielder's choice.
Freshman Keegan Sanford and sophomore Landon Appling reached and produced a double steal to plate the Cougars' second run. Junior Chase Jensen would then follow with a misplaced sharp hit to right center that scored Appling for a 3-0 lead.
The Cougars plated its final run of the game in the fifth inning when freshman Zack Gibson led off the frame with a single to right center. He would then advance to third on a failed pickoff attempt, while Appling's hit-by-pitch and stolen base placed Gibson for the game's fourth run.
Senior Jordan Lewis (4.0,1,0,0,5,4) earned the start for the Cougars, pitching a solid 4.0 innings of work. The right-hander allowed just one hit to lead off batter Brad Sullivan, while retiring his next 11-of-15 hitters. Lewis fanned four on the afternoon, while walking five for the win.
Junior Jordan Mannisto (1.2,2,0,0,0,0) pitched 1.2 innings in relief without allowing a run on two hits. Senior Mo Wiley (1.1,1,0,0,0,3) tossed the final 1.1 innings, fanning three of his five batters faced, while surrendering just one hit.
UHCougars.com will preview the 2012 squad, beginning Monday with the infield and outfield, followed by the catchers and pitchers on Tuesday.
Follow Cougar Baseball on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at Houston Cougar Baseball.
Houston opens the 2012 season at home on Feb. 17-19, hosting Delaware at Cougar Field. The three-game series will begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday and a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.