Cougars' Dominate No. 6 Rice in 11-6 Win at Reckling Park
May 4, 2012
W: Austin Pruitt (3-3)
NUMBERS OF NOTE
11 With his three-run home run in the second inning, Landon Appling extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He has had a hit in every game since the game against Texas Tech on April 14.
3 With his three-run shot Landon Appling now leads the team in home runs with 3.
6 Landon Appling set a new career high for RBI with six. His previous high of five came against Marshall on April 15, 2011.
16 With the win the Cougars snapped a 16-game losing streak to the Owls. This marks their first win against Rice since May 1, 2009.
1 With the win, the Silver Glove series is now tied at 1 game a piece.
HOUSTON—The University of Houston baseball team powered up 15 hits and played errorless baseball en route to a convincing 11-6 victory over No. 6 Rice on Friday evening in Conference USA play. The win snapped a 16-game win streak the Owls had over the Cougars dating back to May 1, 2009.
Houston and head coach Todd Whitting evened the Silver Glove series for 2012 to 1-1 with the win and improved to 16-26-1 and 4-11 in C-USA play. The win was also the second of the year over a Top 10 nationally ranked team, first one coming against No. 4 Arkansas back on March 4 in a 4-1 win. Rice fell to 31-13 and 11-5 with the loss.
“I’m extremely proud of the way our guys played tonight,” said head coach Todd Whitting. “Looking back and finally snapping the skid is great for our program as we move forward. The most important thing about this win is the fact that we continue to climb the ladder in conference action as we expect to be playing in the postseason in a few weeks.”
The Cougars used an impressive offensive effort from the lower half of the lineup along with leadoff hitter Landon Appling to put the Owls away early. Houston’s 6-9-hole hitters combined for 8-of-Houston’s 15 hits and scored 9 of the 11 runs.
Appling’s career-night at the plate included six RBI, surpassing his previous high of five, which came back on April 15, 2011 at Marshall. He tallied a 3-for-6 effort with one run scored, while belting his team-leading third homerun of the season on a no-doubter to left field. Appling extended his current and career-long hit streak to 11 games.
Freshmen Michael Pyeatt (3x5, 3 R, RBI) and Price Jacobs (3x4, 2 R, RBI) each contributed by tying a season-high three hits, while scoring a combined five runs and driving in two. Juniors Chase Jensen (2x5) and Taylor White (2x5, R, RBI) each added two hits to the effort, while classmate Jacob Lueneburg (1x3, 2 RBI) drove in two.
Houston starter Austin Pruitt (7.1,11,5,5,2,4) showed well in his second start against the Owls this season, going 7.1 innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits and two walks with four strikeouts. The righty earned the win and improved to 3-2 on the year.
Pruitt’s counterpart right-hander Matthew Reckling (2.1,8,8,8,1,4) for Rice picked up his first loss of 2012, surrendering eight earned runs on eight hits and one walk in 2.1 innings of work. Prior to Friday’s start, Reckling had only allowed 11 earned runs in 11 appearances, as Houston went on to plate eight.
The Cougars used a five-run second inning to secure a convincing lead after Houston batted around the order. Six straight reached base for Houston, while the inning was highlighted by a three-run homerun off the bat of Appling on a 1-0 count, the first given up by Reckling all season. Contributing to the big inning was Pyeatt, Gibson, Jacobs, White, Appling and Lueneburg who all reached in a row. Jacobs’ RBI-double nearly cleared the left center wall with one out and two on, but bounced back into play. White followed him with an RBI-single.
Up 5-0, Houston continued to overpower Reckling at the plate, scoring three more runs in the third inning led by an RBI-double by Pyeatt. Rice broke through with its first runs of the game in the latter half of the third, but Pruitt limited the damage with two final groundouts. The Owls narrowed Houston’s lead to four at 8-4 with another run in the fourth after a leadoff double, but great defense behind the right-hander kept the damage in tact.
Rice reliever Zech Lemond (4.0,3,1,1,1) held Houston to just one run on three hits over the next four frames. The Cougars plated two runs in the seventh with a two one-out singles and a walk, followed by a two out, two-run single by Appling to put Houston back up by eight at 11-4.
Rice made some noise in the eighth after Pruitt allowed a solo shot with one out. Senior Codey Morehouse (1.2,2,1,1,2,1) entered for Houston in place of Pruitt in the seventh, allowed one run on two hits, but was able to escape any late-game jams with a solid defensive effort by Appling and Jensen up the middle.
“What I don’t think people really understand about the 16-game skid we had with Rice is that they are a phenomenal ball club. No. 6 in the nation speaks for itself,” said Whitting.