Houston Holds Off UC Rally To Remain Atop C-USA Standings
Cincinnati, OH -- The University of Houston baseball team held off a late rally by Cincinnati to claim a 5-4 win in 10 innings Saturday afternoon at Johnny Bench Field in Ohio. With the win the Cougars remain in sole possession of first place in the Conference USA standings with a 7-1 league record. Houston (15-17 overall) and Cincinnati will play the finale of the three-game series Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern time).
Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when freshman centerfielder Michael Bourn clubbed a two-out double that scored a pair of runs. Cincinnati then took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third on the strength of back-to-back home runs by Ryan Minges and LaDaris Vann. Houston came right back in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs on hits by Keith Whatley and Josh Snook that returned the lead to UH, 4-3.
With the lead regained Houston freshman starting pitcher Austin Faught was outstanding in holding UC in check. After the third inning, Faught allowed just one Bearcat baserunner until he was lifted at the start of the eighth. The left-hander from Houston's Jersey Village High School finished the day striking out eight and allowing only the three runs on four hits - all of which were from that Cincinnati third inning.
In the bottom of the ninth however Cincinnati would not go away quietly. All-Conference USA infielder Kevin Youkilis started the ninth with a solo home run off UH closer Matt Hooper that tied the game 4-4.
Houston freshmen Sam Mitchell and Hyung Cho then led off the 10th with back-to-back singles. The pair advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Sean Allen and Mitchell scored from third on sacrifice fly to right field by pinch hitter Brad Sullivan to make the score 5-4. In the bottom of the frame UH left-handed pitcher Keith Whatley, who began the day in leftfield, posted strikeouts for two of the three outs to preserve the one-run win.
Cincinnati fell to 16-10 on the year and 3-5 in conference play. The series finale will be cybercast live around the world on the internet at www.ucbearcats.com. Freshman Gene Flores will start on the mound for Houston.
Conference USA Baseball Linescore Houston 020 200 000 1 -- 5 14 1 Cincinnati 003 000 001 0 -- 4 7 0 Aystin Faught, Nathan Mitchell (8), Matt Hooper (9), Keith Whatley (9) and Chris Snyder; Kyle DiEduardo, Tony Maynard (3), Curtus Moak (9) and Chris Hamblen. WP- Whatley (3-1). LP - Moak (3-2). Save- none. 2B- UH: Bourn; UC: none. 3B- none. HR- UH: none; UC: Vann (2), Youkilis (10), R.Minges. Time- 2:56. Att- 297. Team Records- Houston 15-17, 7-1; Cincinnati 16-10, 3-5.