|Monday, April 24, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 139
Cougars getting defensive in the field
|How sweep it is
Wins over Memphis move Cougars into three-way tie in C-USA
By Anna Sivadasan
He had it as a personal goal before the season even started.
And Sunday afternoon at Cougar Field, Shane Nance finally made that goal a reality.
With the 13th-ranked Cougars' 8-1 win over the Memphis Tigers, Nance won his 28th career game, which broke a tie he had for most career wins with former UH great and Cy Young award winner Doug Drabek. Drabek accomplished the feat in three years, and his record had stood since 1983.
UH lefthander Shane Nance allowed only one run in six innings of work, which gave him his 28th career victory, a new school record.
"I came out today and really felt good," Nance said. "I really didn't feel like I threw that well against Baylor (Tuesday night), and so I went out there trying to throw hard from the beginning."
And the senior did just that, striking out seven of the first nine batters he faced, including the side in both the first and third innings. He set down the first 10 batters he faced, and the Tigers didn't pick up their first hit until the fourth inning.
"He was just fabulous," UH head coach Rayner Noble said. "He looked very sharp, and I'm just very pleased for him that he broke that record. If he would have been healthy the whole year, he would have shattered it."
A shoulder injury sidelined the lefty for over a month, delaying his run at the record, but the inevitable occurred Sunday.
"Kris (Wilken) caught me early in the season, and that was our goal early on," Nance said. "We talked back then about getting the record, but then I got hurt."
Still working his way back from the injury, Nance took the mound on a pitch-count, threw six innings and allowed only three hits and a run with seven strikeouts.
The record for career wins is just the most recent UH pitching record Nance now owns. Heading into the season, he was already at the head of the class as the Cougars' all-time leader in innings pitched and strikeouts.
And for the second consecutive start, he helped himself at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
He led off the first with a single, got to second on a sacrifice, and scored after the Tigers committed two pass balls.
The Cougar offense added seven more runs in the next seven frames to aid Nance's cause.
"Overall, it's good that we're swinging the bat again," Nance said. "Two weeks ago, you could have thrown a beach ball out there, and we wouldn't have hit it. It's a definite plus when you're out on the mound and your team gets you the early lead."
Aaron Melebeck and J.P. Woodward each had two RBI, and Sean Allen and Wilken added one apiece.
Wilken was one of many Cougars who enjoyed an excellent series, going 8-for-11 with four RBI, two doubles and a homer in the three games. And in three years against UM, the Tigers have had a tough time getting the junior out as he has 25 hits in 38 at-bats.
"I've been struggling lately," Wilken said. "But coach (Noble) has been working with me on an individual basis on my hitting, and so hopefully I'm starting to come out of it."
With the victory, UH (30-13 overall, 12-4 Conference USA) has won five consecutive games. And for the first time in a while, the Cougars also gained ground on the two teams ahead of them in the C-USA standings. Southern Miss and Tulane both lost Sunday, leaving the Cougars in a three-way tie for first with USM and TU.
"We really needed this sweep as a shot in the arm," Noble said. "The other clubs in the conference aren't backing down. Our pitching was outstanding the whole weekend, and we got enough timely hitting to get it done."
UH 8, UM 2
Behind the pitching of Duncan McAdoo, Houston hitters collected 12 hits, and more than half of them went for extra bases. And with McAdoo supplying another solid start, the Cougars easily took the middle game 8-2 Saturday night.
In addition to doubles by Eric Lee and Chris Snyder and a triple by Brandon Caraway, UH also hit four homers in the game. Jason Pekar hit two in his first two trips to the plate, and Tyson Schweitzer hit his team-leading ninth, and Wilken also added his seventh of the season.
On the hill, McAdoo pitched seven strong innings with a career-high 10 strikeouts. The senior improved to 5-1 on the year and 3-0 in conference play. In three C-USA starts, McAdoo owns an ERA of 1.31. He's also surrendered only three earned runs and struck out 20 conference batters in 20.2 innings.
UH 7, UM 1
Another Friday start, and another win for UH junior righty Kyle Crowell.
UH gave Crowell early support with four runs in the bottom of the first. Woodward singled in two runs with the bases loaded, and UH scored two more runs in the first on an error and a wild pitch by the Tigers.
Eric Lee also hit his sixth homer of the season in the win.
Crowell pitched seven innings of one-run ball to pick up his ninth win
of the year.
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