UH Bullpen Combines To Hold Owls To One Hit Over 9.2 Innings; Team Wins 5th-Straight
HOUSTON -- The University of Houston baseball team took advantage of some early fielding miscues by No. 1 ranked Rice and had an outstanding group effort from its bullpen to pull out a 4-3 victory over its crosstown rival Wednesday night at Cougar Field. With the team's fifth win in a row Houston also took a two games to one lead in the best-of-five series for the Sterling Bank Silver Glove Trophy to determine the collegiate city champion.
The Owls opened the game when the first two hitters in the lineup, Jose Enrique Cruz and Austin Davis, both drew walks and advanced around the bases on a wild pitch and passed ball. First baseman Jesse Roman then doubled-in both runners to stake Rice to an early 2-0 lead. UH starter Michael Reiss was relieved by Nathan Mitchell and the junior from Houston quickly closed the door on the early-inning rally.
Houston answered with one run in the bottom of the frame when freshman Thanos Papavasiliou slugged a two out single to make the score 2-1. The Cougars then scored three runs in the bottom of the second after a single and two walks loaded the bases. Keith Whatley grounded a ball to first but a throw to home plate was errant, allowing a run to score. The next batter, Josh Snook, then singled to shallow right field to score one run, but Owl outfielder Mike Lorsbach mishandled the ball and an opportunistic Michael Bourn raced home from third to make the score 4-2.
In the fifth Cruz hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to close the margin to one, 4-3, but it was all Rice could manage off five different members of the Houston bullpen the rest of the game. After the UH stater was removed after having recorded just one out, the combined efforts of Mitchell, Bryan Harris, Nick Torina, Austin Faught and Matt Hooper in the bullpen held the heavy-hitting Owls to just one more base hit the final 9.2 innings of the game. The group also struck out 11 and allowed four walks.
In the ninth Houston closer Matt Hooper retired the side 1-2-3, striking out each of the last two men he faced to record his second save in as many outings after coming back from an arm injury. With the team's fifth win in a row UH improved to 11-16 overall. The No. 1 ranked Owls fell to 22-6. The Cougars will next face Conference USA rival Memphis on the road on Friday, March 23, in the first of a three-game weekend series.
College Baseball Linescore Rice 200 100 000 -- 3 2 2 Houston 130 000 00x -- 4 6 0 Philip Tribe, Dustin Wernecke (6) and Jeff Blackinton, Matt Cunningham (3); Michael Reiss, Nathan Mitchell (1), Bryan Harris (4), Nick Torina (6), Austin Faught (8), Matt Hooper (9) and Chris Snyder. WP- Mitchell (1-1). LP - Tribe (1-2). Save- Hooper (2). 2B- RU: Roman; UH: none. 3B- none. HR- none. Time- 2:43. Att- 2,033. Team Records- Rice 22-6; Houston 11-16.