Millington, Tenn. -- The University of Houston baseball team used an aggressive running game to claim a 9-5 Conference USA road win over Memphis Saturday afternoon in Millington, Tennessee. The Cougars stole a season-high 10 bases to set up a come-from-behind win, the team's seventh victory in a row that keeps UH in sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings with a perfect 5-0 league record.
After Memphis jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning Houston stole three bases in the third to set up its first run of the day and cut the margin to one. Shortstop Keith Ahrens was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and he advanced to second base on ground out. After Keith Whatley drew a walk, Ahrens advanced to third on a fly ball to give UH runners at the corners with two away. The Cougars then converted a delayed double-steal for a run when Ahrens slid under the tag after the initial play was to try and throw out Whatley at second base.
Houston's aggressiveness on the basepaths then set up a big three-run third which gave the Cougars a lead they would not relinquinsh. Michael Bourn led off the fifth with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a fly ball and tied the game by scoring on a single by Josh Snook. Snook then stole second and with first base open, Memphis walked cleanup hitter Chris Snyder to get to freshman Thanos Papavasiliou. Papavasiliou however delivered a double to the wall in left that scored both baserunners and gave Houston a 4-2 lead.
The Cougars then added a pair of insurance runs in the top of eighth. Sam Mitchell walked, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Sean Allen. Allen advanced to third on a single by Ahrens and with runners at the corners, Houston again executed a delayed double-steal that stretched the margin to 6-2.
Memphis came right back in th bottom of the eighth with a three-run home run that made the score 6-5. In the top of the ninth Cougar catcher Chris Snyder returned the favor with a three-run homer that increased the final margin to 9-5.
Houston starting pitcher Austin Faught earned his second C-USA win in as many weeks. The freshman left-hander struck out a career-high 10 in 5.0 innings of work. Senior Nick Torina earned his first save of the season pitching the final 1.2 innings after Memphis had cut the lead to 6-5. The Cougars improved to 13-16 overall and 5-0 in conference. Memphis fell to 12-8 and 1-4. The teams will complete the three-game weekend series on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Conference USA Baseball Linescore Houston 001 030 023 -- 9 9 2 Memphis 200 000 030 -- 5 8 4 Austin Faught, Nathan Mitchell (6), Nick Torina (8) and Chris Snyder. Matthew Krabbe, Nick Rogers (8), Joshua Cartwright (9) and Rickey Clinton, Barrett Smith (9). WP- Faught (2-4). LP - Krabbe (1-2). Save- Torina (1). 2B- UH: Papavasiliou; UM: none. 3B- none. HR- UH: Snyder (8), UM: Payne (5). Time- 2:53. Att- 435. Team Records- Houston 13-16, 5-0; Memphis 12-8, 1-4. Other C-USA Scores Saturday Southern Miss 11, Charlotte 10 (10 innings) (18) Tulane 9, Cincinnati 6 Saint Louis 2, Louisville 0 South Florida 7, UAB 1