Monday, April 16, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 133



UH drops first C-USA series of season

By Derrick Hinton
Daily Cougar Staff

Early leads by the Cougar baseball team resulted in only one win this weekend in a three-game Conference USA series against No. 20 Tulane. This is hopefully not indicative of the season as a whole, as the Cougars are trying to maintain a lead in C-USA.

The Cougars headed to New Orleans on Easter weekend with a three-game lead in conference and a chance to put away Tulane, the experts' favorite to win C-USA. UH came away with a 2-1 series loss and a two-game lead in conference.

Sunday's game began as a seesaw battle. Houston jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but the Green Wave took it right back in the third, scoring four runs.

Houston was able to tie the game in the fourth on a single by freshman Thanos Papavasiliou, who was two-for-three with three RBI. The Cougars and Tulane swapped runs in the fifth, but a huge five runs in the seventh inning by Tulane effectively ended the game.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Freshman Thanos Papavasilou, tagging out an opponent, brought the Cougars within range to take the Tulane series on Sunday, but UH was overcome 10-5 in Game 3 for its first 2-1 Conference USA series loss this season.

With a 10-5 final, the Green Wave took the rubber match of the series.

Tulane clubbed UH on Saturday, slamming seven homeruns and crossing the plate 16 times. The Cougars did score 10 times, led by senior Sean Allen (four-for-three with one RBI). Junior Cooper Vittitow hit his first homerun of the season. But the UH pitching squad just couldn't hold back the Green Wave.

Hurlers freshman Austin Faught, sophomore Bryan Harris, freshman Jared Grein, freshman Brian Henderson and freshman Michael Reiss all struggled to contain one of the nation's top offenses.

Houston's lone win of the weekend came Friday, when freshman Brad Sullivan pitched an excellent six innings, striking out eight while only yielding one run. Sullivan got three runs of support in the first two innings and held on tight to lead. Senior Nick Torina and junior Nathan Mitchell pitched shutout relief, preserving the win.

The Friday bout was Mitchell's third save in his recent role as a closer while junior Matt Hooper is shelved with a shoulder injury.

Houston must recover from this series loss quickly as it will vie for the Silver Glove title on Wednesday.

Rice, which has been struggling as of late, dropping from No. 1 to No. 5, is in a 2-1 hole in the series.

If Houston wins, the Cougars take the series. If not, UH head coach Rayner Noble and Rice head coach Wayne Graham might reschedule a previous rainout in order to figure out just which school has the best baseball team in Houston.

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