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Volume 68, Issue 99, Wednesday, February 19, 2003 

Sports

UH swings and misses

Cougars commit three errors in Game 1 of the Silver Glove Series to Owls, fall to 2-5 this season

By Stuart H. Clements
The Daily Cougar

It ended the same as last seasonis Game 1 of the Silver Glove Series, but this time at Cougar Field the Cougars let the ball slip through their hands. UH (2-5) opened the series against crosstown rival No. 2 Rice with a 3-0 loss Tuesday at Cougar Field.


Mauro Alvarez/The Daily Cougar


Junior designated hitter Thanos Papavasiliou almost saw his hitting streak come to an end against Rice in Tuesdayis 3-0 loss to the Owls at Cougar Field. It took a double in the ninth inning to extend it to 10 games (dating back to the 2002 season).

While junior pitcher Brad Sullivan pitched closer to his usual self after being rocked for five runs Friday, pitching wasnit enough to overcome a three-error game from the Cougar fielders.

Junior outfielder Adam Bluhm bobbled a ball in left field that led to one of two runs scored by the Owls in the fifth.


Junior outfielder Adam Bluhm lets a ball get past him during Tuesdayis 3-0 loss to the Rice Owls. The Cougars committed three errors and fell to 2-5.

Mauro Alvarez/The Daily Cougar

"I think we just kicked the ball around out there at the fence," UH head coach Rayner Noble said. "We couldnit pick the ball up and get it back in; thatis uncalled for. Itis a little unusual for us to make that many errors."

Sullivan went six innings, giving up four hits and three runs, but only two were earned. The right-hander finished the day with a 4.12 ERA, but threw a season-high eight strikeouts. It was a welcome performance after Fridayis disaster.

"I didnit think there was any need for (Sullivan) to sit around for 10 days until he pitched again," Noble said. "He only threw about 57 pitches on Friday. I think it was worthy of him coming out and starting a big game. We could have used getting off on the right foot here, but we didnit."

Sullivan is considered one of the best collegiate pitchers in the game and looked more like that kind of guy today, despite picking up the loss. He fell to 0-2 this season.

"He looked like his old self," Noble said. "He got a little wild there, hit a batter in the sixth inning and I think that hurt. That last run was critical."

Rice pitchers Wade Townsend and Jeff Niemann combined for a four-hit shutout against the UH offense. Townsend gave up three hits and tallied eight strikeouts in six and one-third innings, ending the day with a 1.84 ERA.

Townsend picked up the win, making it his first decision of the season.

Niemann pitched the remaining two and two-thirds innings, giving up only one hit and adding two strikeouts. His ERA is 3.18.

"(The Owls) pitched really well," Noble said. "When they did give us stuff early, we couldnit capitalize on moving the guys over for the most part. We did a couple of times, but then we just didnit drive the runs in, and in a game like this you got to pick up the runs when theyire out there."

UH sophomore Ryan Wagner came in to relieve Sullivan in the top of the seventh and gave one and one-third innings of shutout ball, adding two strikeouts. Sophomore Taylor Gartz and junior Rickey Putman both gave a third of an inning on the mound, with Gartz striking his batter out.

Senior Brett Cooley moved over from first base to finish on the mound in the ninth inning. Cooley gave up no hits and tallied one strikeout.

Junior Thanos Papavasiliou leads the Cougars in offense this season. Papavasiliou has a .421 batting average.

In his final at bat, Papavasiliou hit a double and went 1-for-3 against the Owls. The designated hitter now has a 10-game hitting streak that dates back to last season.

The Cougars will hit the road Friday to face No. 14 Louisiana State in a three-game series in Baton Rouge, La. They will return to Cougar Field for a three-game set against Louisiana-Lafayette beginning Feb. 28.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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