No. 7 Baseball tops Houston by a score of 3-1
HOUSTON -- A three-run second inning combined with three outstanding catches by Drew Stubbs and a seven-inning, five-strikeout performance from starter Adrian Alaniz to lift No. 7 Texas to a 3-1 victory over Houston in front of 10,193 fans at the 2006 Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park on Friday, Feb. 10.
The UT win was the second in a row for the Horns (2-3) and marked the first loss of the young season for UH (1-1). Of note, the two teams were facing each other for the first time since the 2004 Houston College Classic and were meeting in their first contests of this year's tournament.
After Houston avoided an early threat by UT in the top of the first, the Cougars used a pair of one-out singles, followed by a flyout to center field and a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at third to break on top 1-0 in the bottom of the opening frame. Answering immediately, the Longhorns had a fielder's choice bunt combine with consecutive singles from Preston Clark (Rockwall, Texas) and Chais Fuller (Fairfield, Calif.) to knot the game at 1-1 in the second. Still alive in the inning, Texas had a wild pitch on a walk to load the bases bring in the go-ahead score in front of a RBI-groundout by Jordan Danks (Round Rock, Texas) to grab a 3-1 lead.
Following a scoreless inning and one half, UH challenged the Longhorns' advantage in the bottom of the fourth by placing a runner on with one out when Tom Williams laced a ball toward the left-center field gap. Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas) then reached up on a dead sprint to track down the drive and help quell the threat. The UT offense, meanwhile, was held without a hit until the sixth by Houston starter Matt Farrington, who worked 5.2 frames and struck out a pair before exiting for reliever Ricky Hargrove. On the other side of the ledger, Alaniz (Sinton, Texas) scattered four singles and struck out four over the first six innings during his second start of the season while Stubbs turned in two more outstanding grabs in the fifth and sixth innings to keep Texas in front. While the Cougars again came up with a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh, Alaniz induced his next batter to groundout into an inning-ending double play to move the game to the eighth.
Fellow sophomore Kenn Kasparek (Weimar, Texas) would then relieve Alaniz in the bottom of the eighth and, after walking his first batter, retired the next three batters in a row. After the Horns went quietly in the top of the final frame, Kasparek set down his first two batters of the bottom of the ninth before the Cougars managed a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate. On his very next pitch, Kasparek got Mark McGonigle to groundout to first base to end the game and claim his first career save behind two hitless innings of relief. While Alaniz earned his first win of the season with his 107-pitch effort, Farrington shouldered the tough loss.
Headlining the Texas offense on the night were Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas), who went 2-for-3, and Fuller, who posted one hit and one run scored for the fourth time in five games. The Cougars' attack, meanwhile, was led by McGonigle, who went 2-for-4, and Isa Garcia, who scored UH's lone unearned run of the night and also tallied one of the team's five singles.
Up next, the Horns take on No. 2 Rice in second-day action at the Houston College Classic on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. Central. Of note, the game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.