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Volume 68, Issue 92, February 10, 2003

Sports

Cougars open season with double losses

By Stuart H. Clements
The Daily Cougar

The Battle at the Beach in Malibu, Calif., proved slightly more than the No. 6-ranked Cougars could handle.

After the loss of a disappointing season opener, 4-2, in 12 innings against California-Santa Barbara on Friday, things began to look up for the Cougars as their tremendous pitching staff took over and defeated No. 43 Pepperdine 2-0.

But on Sunday, No. 47 Washington scored two runs in the first inning and held on to defeat the Cougars 4-1, leaving Houston with a 1-2 record for its opening weekend.

Sophomore right-hander Garrett Mock toed the rubber against the Huskies for his debut as a starting pitcher and as a Cougar.

Mock went six innings, giving up only two earned runs in the first inning and just five hits in six innings, bringing his ERA to 3.00 for the season. In addition, the pitcher tallied six strikeouts.

Sophomore Brian Martin came in for relief, but only lasted a third of an inning. The southpaw gave up two runs to give the Huskies their final score of 4-1.

Next on the mound was Kevin Roberts, a freshman utility player who gave up two hits before being pulled after a third of an inning.

Saturday was definitely the high mark for the Cougar pitching staff.

Sophomore left-hander Danny Zell gave an impressive start on the mound for his first game of the season, pitching seven innings of a one-hit shutout against Pepperdine.

The Waves tallied only one hit through nine innings, and Zell tallied four strikeouts, ending the opening weekend with a 0.00 ERA, walking only two batters, and picking up his first win of the season.

Junior Rickey Putman added an inning of relief with one strikeout, while senior Brett Cooley, a player generally seen at first base, closed out the game with two strikeouts and picked up his first save of the season.

Fridayis season opener was an endurance test for the Cougar bullpen, especially for sophomore right-hander Ryan Wagner.

Junior right-hander Brad Sullivan got the start and went six innings, giving up only two hits and tallying seven strikeouts before the relief came in. Sullivan recorded a no decision for his first start. Wagner lasted five innings, giving up three runs in the top of the 12th but striking out eight batters during his tenure on the rubber.

The Cougars struck first in the bottom of the seventh with one run, but the Gauchos answered with a run in the top of the eighth.

The Cougar offense had a lot of trouble connecting with the ball during the opening weekend. Batters like Cooley, junior Nick Bott and freshman Brett Logan have yet to pick up a hit for the season, and several other Cougars did little better than that.

Junior Thanos Papavasiliou leads the team, picking up four hits on 10 at-bats with two doubles and two RBIs.

The Cougars will return to Houston to play at the Astros College Classic in Minute Maid Park this weekend. They will face No. 10 Baylor, No. 37 Alabama and No. 34 Texas A&M.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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