Houston Closes Out Season With 7-3 Win over Memphis In C-USA Baseball Championship
May 25, 2012
Three Houston players posted multiple-hit contests and southpaw Matt Hernandez posted a career-high six strikeouts in a 6.1-inning start as the eight-seeded Cougars defeated No. 5 seed Memphis, 7-3, in day three of the 2012 Conference USA Baseball Championship on Friday at Trustmark Park.
Centerfielder Landon Appling, first baseman Jacob Lueneburg and third baseman Codey Morehouse each had a pair of hits on the night, and Morehouse led all players with three RBI. Hernandez (1-2), meanwhile, earned his first career win as a Division I pitcher while Chase Wellbrock picked up the save out of the bullpen after scattering a single and three walks to go with a trio of strikeouts over 2.2 scoreless stanzas.
With the win, Houston closes out an injury-riddled 2012 season with a record of 18-35-1. Memphis fell to 31-27 on the year, but the Tigers have at least one more game to play as they clinched a spot in Sunday's C-USA Championship title game following the action yesterday. Memphis, which will enjoy a day off on Saturday as it has already completed pod play, will square off against UAB with the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line. First pitch for that contest is slated for 1 p.m. and the game will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Following a scoreless first, the Cougars got on the board in the second when right fielder Price Jacobs drew a two-out walk, stole second base and scored on a Morehouse RBI-single to center. Houston left a runner on third an inning later, but hung three runs on the Tigers in both of the next two frames.
With one away in the fourth, Lueneburg got things going with a single up the middle and Jacobs reached on a fielding error. Morehouse followed with a two-run single to right and scored two hitters later when Appling laced an RBI-single to center. Second baseman Chase Jensen and designated hitter Jonathan Davis opened the fifth with back-to-back singles to chase Memphis starter Michael Wills from the game. Tigers' reliever Dylan Toscano walked the first batter he faced to load the bases before giving up a two RBI-single to Lueneburg and a run-scoring groundout off the bat of Jacobs to give Houston a commanding 7-0 lead.
Memphis avoided the shutout with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth when shortstop Ethan Gross scored on a wild pitch and right fielder Derrick Thomas drove in third baseman Jacob Wilson with an RBI-fielders' choice grounder to short, and got another run in the seventh when Gross drew a bases loaded walk. That, however, was as close as the Tigers would get.
Tigers centerfielder Ford Wilson led all players with three hits in as many at-bats to pace a seven-hit Memphis attack. Wills was charged with the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits and a walk while striking out three.