HOUSTON - No. 28 Houston Baseball won its sixth straight game and improved to 17-4 with an impressive 4-3 win over Texas on Tuesday evening at Cougar Field in front of a season-high crowd of 2,342.
With the win, the Cougars also improved to 11-2 at home, while Texas fell to 12-8 this season.
"It was a great environment out here tonight. The thing I was really excited about was the amount of red in the stands. We had a tremendous Houston Cougar crowd out here," said head coach Todd Whitting. "In a game where we scuffled a little bit, the crowd really helped us out tonight."
Houston pitching was phenomenal in the win as sophomore starter Aaron Garza fanned a career-high six Longhorns en route to his third win this season – improving to 3-0. The Galveston, Texas native didn’t allow an earned run in 5.1 innings pitched, scattering just six hits and two walks.
"Aaron Garza was outstanding - he was absolutely phenomenal tonight. He got a little tired towards the end, but Chase Wellbrock came in to slam the door," said Whitting. "It was a really gutsy effort by those guys."
Junior reliever Chase Wellbrock was equally impressive, earning his second save of the year after tossing 3.2 innings, while surrendering just one hit and onewalk with his one strikeout.
Houston hitters tallied eight hits, led by freshman Jacob Campbell’s two base knocks and run scored. Freshman Kyle Survance (1x4, R, 2 RBI) drove in two of Houston’s four runs on a sharp single that went past a diving first baseman in the second inning.
Driving in runs were freshman Josh Vidales (1x5, RBI) and junior Frankie Ratcliff (1x3, R, RBI, BB). Vidales’ RBI-single in the second inning extended his on-base streak to 15 straight games.
Also contributing with hits in the winning effort were freshman Kyle Kirk (1x4, R, BB), freshman JustinMontemayor (1x4) and sophomore Michael Pyeatt (1x3, BB).
Houston jumped on the Longhorns in the second inning with three runs. With one out, the Cougars continued to do what they do best, driving in runners in scoring position.
Campbell opened the frame with a one-out single, moved to second a double down the right field line off the bat of Ratcliff – allowing Survance to drive them both in on his sharp single through the right side to put Houston up 2-0.
Two outs and a runner at second, Vidales extended his hit streak to nine games with his single to left field, plating the speedy Survance to extend Houston’s lead by three runs.
A key fifth-inning run came on a bases loaded walk by Ratcliff, his 20th of the year for Houston to go up 4-0. Kirk led off the inning with a base hit, the only leadoff to reach base this evening for the Cougars. With two outs, Longhorn pitching walked three in a row, including Ratcliff’s RBI-base on balls.
That run proved critical as Texas went on to plate three in the top half of the sixth – all runs would end up unearned as Houston allowed Texas to score on a leadoff error. The Longhorns only recorded one hit in the frame, while being issued three walks.
The defensive play of the night came with the tying run at third and two outs, Texas’ four-hole hitter tried to drop a bunt down, but Kirk continued his excellent play fielding bunts to throw the runner out at home to hold Houston’s 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Cougar pitching and defense was solid, keeping Texas off the scoreboard as the Longhorns stranded seven including two in the third. Garza and Wellbrock combined to retire three straight hitters in four of the nine innings.