WACO, Texas — University of Houston Baseball improved to 5-0 in midweek games with a 5-3 win over Baylor on the road Tuesday evening, riding the pitching efforts of sophomore starter Aaron Garza and junior reliever Dylan Rucker, earning the win and save for the Cougars.
The win upped Houston’s record to 13-4 – still the best start since a 17-1 record in 1993. The Cougars have now defeated Baylor twice this year as the Bears fall to 7-10.
Garza improved to 2-0 on the year in his fourth straight midweek start after tossing 5.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs on eight scattered hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Rucker was the story of the night with his 3.1 perfect innings in relief for his firstcareer save as a Cougar. The right-handed junior college transfer from Eastfield College relieved Garza in the sixth inning to shut down the Bears, who continued to threaten the Houston defense during mid-game innings up tothat point. He didn’t allow a hit, run, walk and retired all 10 batters he faced to close out the game – holding Houston’s early lead.
Houston’s offense opened up hot in the second and third innings, but was silenced after the third – as the Cougars were held without a hit the rest of the game.
The five hits were key in the early going for the Cougars as five freshmen recorded the hits for Houston. Freshman Josh Vidales (1x3, 2 RBI) drove in two on his double down the left field line to lead the offensive attack. Joining in the hit category were newcomers Kyle Kirk (1x4), Justin Montemayor (1x4), Jacob Campbell (1x4, R) and Ashford Fulmer (1x4, R, RBI).
Also scoring runs were sophomore Michael Pyeatt (0x2, R) and junior Landon Appling (0x1, R, RBI, SAC).
Following a quick two outs in the top of the second inning, Houston used a two-out walk by Appling to spark a three-run inning. Campbell, Fulmer and Vidales used three straight hits, including a huge two-run double by Vidales to go up 3-0 after two frames.
The Cougars then added two more runs in the third after Barker was hit-by-the-pitch leading off the inning. A single by Montemayor and a passed ball moved runners up a base allowing Appling to plate Pyeatt, who reached on a fielder’s choice to score on a RBI-sacrifice bunt.
Baylor scored its first run in the bottom of the third on two hits and a walk and made it a 5-3 game after a two-run fourth on two hits and a Houston error.
Bears’ reliever Sean Spicer held Houston hitless through the first 4.0 frames when Baylor threatened the Cougars’ early lead.
Rucker matched Baylor’s second pitcher with his effort out of the pen, holding the Bears scoreless,shutting down all 10 Bear hitters he faced. The Bears finale three pitcherskept Houston in check, but thanks to an early lead – Houston’s pitchers were able to do the same to the Baylor offense for the win.
Baylor starter Sterling Wynn (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs on five hits with one walk in his 2.0 innings.