Wednesday, April 3, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 122


Baseball downs the Owls

By Stuart H. Clements
Daily Cougar Staff

The No. 5 Houston baseball team has another trophy to add to its collection of defeated Top 25 opponents. The Cougars upset the No. 3 Rice Owls 1-0 Tuesday night in a ferocious defensive battle.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

The baseball team runs out to congratulate senior Nathan Mitchell (center, with arm raised) on his first save of the season after he
held Rice scoreless in the bottom of the ninth. The win marked the Cougars' first of the year over their cross-town rival.

The game was the fourth of the annual Silver Glove series between the cross-town rivals. Rice had already won the series in the first
three games of the five-game series, but the Cougars weren't ready to give up.

"Pitching and defense was the key tonight," head coach Rayner Noble said. "It sure wasn't offense."

The battle took place on the field, rather than at the plate. The Cougars tallied just three hits against the Owls' four.

The only run of the game was scored on a play on which Rice had two errors.

The Cougar offense was led by freshman Stuart Musslewhite, who scored the winning run in the bottom of the second inning.

Musslewhite managed a base hit after one out in the inning. Junior Anthony Scalise was next up to bat and hit a ball directly at Rice
first baseman Eric Arnold.

The ball bounced off Arnold's glove, and second baseman Vincent Sinisi chased after it into left field, then threw it past first base into
foul territory.

After the dust had settled from the two errors, Musslewhite had made it home and Scalise was comfortably on third base.

Sophomore Danny Zell was the starter on the mound against the Owls and went his longest stretch of the year, giving five scoreless
innings and improving his record to 2-0 on the season.

Zell, a southpaw, struck out two batters and gave up only four hits and no runs, lowering his ERA to 2.51.

Sophomore Austin Faught took the hill as the relief pitcher and went three and one-third innings. Faught recorded only one strikeout,
but gave up no hits and no runs. Faught now has a 3.09 ERA.

"Take a look at Danny Zell and Austin Faught," Noble said. "Anybody that can hold a team that's batting .337 to four hits that's pretty

Senior Nathan Mitchell filled in as the closer on the mound for two-thirds of an inning. Mitchell faced two batters, striking out the last
batter for the win to improve his ERA to 2.41. The senior right-hander tallied his fourth save of the season.

The Cougar defense really saved the game. Rice had six batters left on base, and no Owl made it past second base.

Houston had two double plays to close out the top of two innings and went three up and three down in the top of the eighth.

The menial offensive action and monumental defensive success maintained palpable tension throughout the game, and the
Cougar defense simply played better ball to win the game.

The Cougars will face East Carolina in a three-game series this weekend in Conference USA play. The Pirates are No. 8 in C-USA
and possess a 4-4-1 league record.

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