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Volume 68, Issue 112, Monday, March 17, 2003


Cougars waste pitching clinics

Cougar Sports Staff

If someone had told UH baseball head coach Rayner Noble that his No. 1 pitcher would strike out 12 batters and not give up a single run in eight innings, he probably would have liked his chances of taking the first game of the East Carolina series.

Junior pitcher Danny Zell held East Carolina to just one run in UHis lone win of the East Carolina series Saturday. Zell improved to 5-1 with a 2-1 win but the Cougars lost the series, 1-2, to fall to 8-12 this season.

Brian Viney/The Daily Cougar

Junior Brad Sullivan has struck out 34 batters in the Cougarsi last three games and passed the 300-strikeout mark for his career, but he came away from Fridayis start without a decision. The Cougars went on to lose the game in 12 innings, 1-0. It was a sign of things to come during the weekend.

The Cougars dropped their first Conference USA series of the season 1-2 to drop to 8-12. It was the first time in seven years that the Cougars have lost a season-opening conference series. The team was outscored by just two runs (7-9) during the three games.

Sundayis 7-5 10th-inning loss was the second extra-inning affair of the series.

UH battled back to tie the game at 5-5 in the ninth inning off a two-run home run from junior Hyung Cho. It nearly gave UH the momentum, but an error in the top of the 10th inning all but gave the game to the Pirates. Reliever Brian Henderson hit the Piratesi Jake Smith on a wild pitch to set up ECUis game-winning RBI double.

The Cougars followed Fridayis shutout by taking a 2-0 lead in the third inning of Saturdayis game. Junior Nick Bott led off the inning with a double. Junior outfielder Gabe Lucas brought him home with a one-out single to left field. Lucas scored off junior Thanos Papavasiliouis sacrifice fly.

Sophomore reliever Ryan Wagner struck out three in two innings of work to earn the save and help the Cougars even the series at 1-1. Wagner has four saves. Junior lefthander Danny Zell continued to rack up the wins by scattering seven hits through seven innings and striking out three. Heis now 5-1.

Fridayis game was dominated by pitching just as much as Game 2 of the series. A mistake cost the Cougars the game.

ECUis John Poppert swung at a wild pitch from Wagner in the 12th inning, but made it to first base when the ball got away from catcher Brett Logan. He advanced to third on another error and scored when Mike DeJesus hit a double play. The Cougars couldnit score in the bottom frame.

It ended what looked to be a career night for Sullivan. The junior finished the night after recording his 309th career strikeout. He now trails former Cougar Shane Nance (388) for No. 1 on the all-time list.

The Cougars will host Rice in Game 3 of the Silver Glove Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday. UH is down 0-2 in the five-game series.

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