Cougars down the Golden
By Stuart H. Clements
Daily Cougar Staff
The No. 5 Houston baseball team went 2-1
in a three-game series against Conference USA rival Southern Mississippi
The two teams had been tied for second
in the conference behind Louisville, which was undefeated until this weekend,
Florida swept the Cardinals in a three-game
Brian Viney/The Daily Cougar
Junior Anthony Scalise hit
a sacrifice fly to drive in the winning run against Southern Mississippi
in Friday's game.
The Cougars improved to 21-8 overall,
and jumped to No. 1 in the conference with a 7-2 record. Southern Miss
dropped to 18-10, 6-3
in the league, which puts the Golden Eagles
in a five-way tie for No. 2 in the league.
Sophomore Gene Flores was the starting
pitcher Sunday and went three and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs.
Seniors Nathan Mitchell and Matt Hooper
followed, giving up a run apiece. Junior Danny Zell took the hill for one-third
of an inning to
close out the eighth, facing only one
Senior Jesse Crain closed on the mound
for the Cougars and pitched five innings, his longest stretch this season.
Crain held on for
his second win of the weekend, improving
his record to 4-0 and maintaining a perfect 0.00 ERA.
Southern Miss led off with two runs in
the bottom of the first and followed with a third run in the second.
The Cougars didn't catch up until the fourth
inning, when they scored three runs to tie the score, but the Golden Eagles
with a run of their own.
USM then extended its lead in the fifth
with another run, but Houston jumped back into the lead with three runs
in the eighth.
The Golden Eagles sent the game into extra
innings, scoring their final run in the bottom of the eighth to tie the
game at 6-6.
Junior Brett Cooley hit a sacrifice groundout
in the top of the 13th inning to drive in Crain, who then took the mound
and finished off
the Golden Eagles for the 7-6 win.
Senior Keith Whatley was the starter for
Saturday's game. The southpaw gave up six runs in three and two-thirds
innings for the loss
and dropped to 6-2. After starting 6-0,
Whatley has dropped his last two decisions.
Sophomore Austin Faught and freshman Ryan
Wagner each pitched one and one-third innings. The Golden Eagles went scoreless
against the two relievers and only had
Sophomore Brian Henderson came out of the
bullpen and gave up two runs in one inning, and junior Bryan Harris finished
game with two-thirds of an inning.
The Cougars opened the scoring in the second
inning with senior Daron Bertillion hitting a two-RBI single to plate junior
Cooley and sophomore Hyung Cho.
The Golden Eagles answered in the bottom
of the second with one run to cut Houston's lead in half.
In the bottom of the third, Southern Miss
jumped into the lead with three runs, but the Cougars fought back in the
top of the fourth.
Crain singled to the infield and junior
Chris Snyder batted both of them in with a powerful two-run home run to
left field, tying the
game at 4.
The Golden Eagles refused to give up and
responded with two runs of their own in the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, USM sealed
its victory, adding two more runs to make the final score 8-4.
Sophomore superstar Brad Sullivan took
the hill to begin Friday's game. Sullivan added nine strikeouts to his
season total in six and
one-third innings and held the Golden
Eagles to just two runs.
Sullivan has a 1.24 ERA but didn't pick
up the win Friday. The game went 10 innings, with the Cougars not taking
the lead until the
top of the 10th.
Faught pitched one-third of an inning to
relieve Sullivan and was followed by Mitchell, who went two innings, allowing
only one run.
Crain closed out the game to earn his
third win of the season.
The Cougars struck first in the second
inning with one run. Snyder doubled to right center field, and two batters
later, Cho hit a
sacrifice fly to plate Snyder and pick
up the RBI.
Southern Miss answered the Cougars with
a run of their own in the bottom of the second. Golden Eagle Griff Israel
hit a home run
over left-center field to tie the game
before the Cougars closed out the inning.
Houston took the lead again in the top
of the fifth when sophomore Gabe Lucas doubled and was driven home on a
triple from junior
Anthony Scalise, which was dropped by
USM's right fielder Clint Stoy.
Stoy saved face in the bottom of the sixth
with a double to left-center field, plating teammate Jeff Cook to pick
up an RBI.
The Cougars managed a run in the top of
the 10th to take a slim lead, and Crain survived the bottom of the inning.
Houston won 3-2.
Houston returns to Cougar Field at 7 p.m.
Tuesday for the fourth game of the Silver Glove series against cross-town
rival No. 3 Rice.
The Owls won the series after taking the
first three games of the five-game series, but two victories over Rice
would help the
Cougars in the national polls.