winning streak at seven
In a game filled with early Cougar mistakes, the No. 10-ranked Rice Owls picked up where they left off from the previous meeting in the Silver Glove Series and handed the Cougars their ninth loss in a 10-2 blowout.
Houston head coach Rayner Noble had disappointment written all over his face as he saw his Cougars' seven-game winning streak snapped.
"We stunk, plain and simple," Noble said. "We didn't pitch; we didn't hit; we didn't field. We didn't do anything right. It was an awful ball game."
The Owls wasted little time in setting the tone in Game 3 of the series as they quickly put up four runs against UH starter Greg Runser.
Rice's Charles Williams reached on a fielder's choice in the first, followed by a single by All-American Bubba Crosby. The two later scored on a line drive double in the left centerfield gap by Damon Thames, who scored on UH right fielder Eric Lee's third error of the season.
The Owls struck again in the third, as shortstop Damon Thames sent the first pitch over the left field wall for his first of two home runs for the night.
"I was seeing it well tonight," Thames said. "It's really comfortable being in the middle of that lineup because you know you don't have to do everything and know someone every night is going to pick up the slack."
The Owls finished the Cougars off in the fourth inning as they picked up four more runs off Houston reliever Nick Torina to improve their record to 17-7.
Sophomore Shane Nance said the Cougars didn't play up to the level that saw them run off seven straight wins.
"I can't say what I really want to say," Nance said. "We came out flat, with no effort and intensity. It's just ridiculous. We play good for seven games and then come out here and give no effort."
Freshman Kenny Baugh completely dominated the Cougars as he went seven innings, allowing three hits and one unearned run to pick up his second win of the year.
"I felt pretty good tonight," Baugh said. "I wasn't quite loose early, but as the game went on I got better."
Rice junior Bubba Crosby added that the added depth only helps the Owls' chances throughout the season.
"It's guys like Kenny that make this team have that much depth," he said. "But I can honestly say that I didn't know how well he was going to do. But it's great to have guys low in the staff pitch like that."
The Cougars' woes continued at Cameron Field: They have been outscored 26-5 in the their last two games played there.
"UH - they have always played us tough," said Crosby. "These last two games we've taken pretty good leads to put the games away, but I think they'll rebound. I just hope it's not against us."
This loss gives the Owls a 2-1 lead in the Silver Glove Series, but it doesn't seem important to Coach Noble at this time.
"It doesn't mean a whole lot to me. A game is a game," Noble said. "It doesn't matter if a glove is on the line or whatever. We didn't show up tonight at all."
The Cougars will try to regroup this Friday as they open Conference USA regular season action against the Tulane Green Wave. This matches the tournament champions (Houston) against the regular season conference champs (Tulane) of a year ago.
Silver Glove Series
Game 1: Cougars 8, Owls 7
Game 2:Owls 16, Cougars 3
Game 3:Owls 10, Cougars 2
Game 4: March 17 at Cameron Field (7 p.m.)
Game 5: April 15 at Cougar Field (7 p.m.)
UH baseball update
Wednesday: Cougars 2, Rice 10
On deck: Cougars (10-9) vs. Tulane Green Wave - 7 p.m. Friday at Cougar Field
Cougar Pep Rally, noon today at UC Satellite
* All home games are free to UH students