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Monday, March 20, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 114

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Road sweet road

UH covers nearly 3,000 miles in 11 days; returns with seven wins 

By Josh Gajewski
Daily Cougar Staff

The UH baseball team returned home from its 11-day Spring Break road swing last night, but it wasn't necessarily a choice decision.

The Cougars have taken a liking to their recent trips, and as of late the road has meant one thing: victory.


Robert Dieudonné pitched two scoreless innings in relief in UH's 10-2 win on Saturday over North Carolina-Charlotte. The Cougars play host to Tulane this weekend.

Pete Medrano/The Daily Cougar

Their 7-2 win over North Carolina-Charlotte on Sunday was the cap to a 7-0 swing, which included two sweeps, a win over Arizona and even an exhibition win over the San Diego Padres.

The Cougars got rolling on March 10 with a 3-2 win over Southern California, which was ranked at No. 5 heading into the series. That honor wouldn't last long, however, as UH went on to sweep the Trojans with wins of 14-7 and 8-4 the next two days.

The following Monday, the team got a special treat when it traveled to Peoria, Ariz., to face the Padres' spring training club, which included many players expected to make the opening-day roster.

UH got some help from current major leaguer and former UH letterman Woody Williams, who suited up in a Cougar uniform against his teammates. His double in the second inning and homer in the sixth keyed a 10-7 win while Brandon Caraway and Robert Dieudonné also homered.

On March 14, it was back to business as the Cougars made the short trip to nearby Tucson to face Arizona. J.P. Woodward, Sean Allen and Jarrod Bitter each connected for homers in the first three innings as UH jumped out to a 10-0 lead by the fourth inning.

Bryan Harris started the game and got solid relief work from Matt Hooper, Nick Torina and Dieudonné in the 10-4 win.

UH next hopped on a flight to Charlotte to open up Conference USA play versus UNCC.

On Friday, Kris Wilken got things going with a two-run single that gave the Cougars an early 2-0 lead that would be short-lived.

UNCC tied it in the second with two runs of its own but UH regained the lead for good with three runs in the third as Bitter and Tyson Schweitzer both went deep.

The Cougars went on to win 9-2 behind yet another strong pitching performance from staff ace Kyle Crowell, who scattered four hits and two runs over seven innings to improve to 5-1 on the year.

Saturday it was Jerret Sykes' turn to shine. Filling in for the injured Shane Nance, who hurt his shoulder in the game against USC, Sykes surrendered only a first-inning run in six innings of work, scattering five hits for his second win of the year.

The balanced Cougar attack included two hits and three RBI from both Woodward and Aaron Melebeck.

UH scored one run in the first and third frames, two runs in the fifth and ninth, and four runs in the seventh on just two hits, three walks and a sacrifice fly.

Dieudonné relieved Sykes with a scoreless seventh and eighth and struck out three. Sophomore Nathan Mitchell shut the door in the ninth, giving up one run as the Cougars prevailed 10-2.

The brooms were out in full force Sunday as UH completed the three-game sweep of the 49ers with a 7-2 win. The Cougars came from behind from an early 2-0 deficit and scored seven unanswered runs.

Jason Kirchner's RBI single in the fourth tied the game at 2-2 and a sacrifice fly by Tyson Schweitzer the very next inning gave UH a 3-2 lead that would hold up.

Relievers Matt Hooper, Torina, and Greg Runser allowed two hits and no runs over the final six innings as the Cougars went on for the 7-2 final.

The seven wins over the break result in a 19-7 record, 3-0 in C-USA. The trip covered nearly 3,000 miles, and UH traveled from coast to coast, winning the entire way.

UH's overall road streak now stands at 11, with the last loss coming to Texas on Feb. 8. Up next, the Cougars will try and continue their winning ways at home against Tulane. The three-game series gets underway Friday night at Cougar Field.
 

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