No. 5 Houston Baseball Falls in Super Regional Opener
Cougars and Longhorns to meet again at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Austin
AUSTIN, Texas – Two early runs proved to be enough for No. 9 Texas as No. 5 Houston Baseball dropped Game 1 of the best-of-three series in the Austin Super Regional, 4-2, on Friday afternoon at Disch-Falk Field.
With the loss, Houston must win the next two in order to advance to the NCAA College World Series next week. The Cougars are now 48-17 on the year, while the Longhorns improved to 42-19.
Houston saw a few opportunities late, but weren’t able to cash in on them as they hit into three double plays on the afternoon.
Offensively, the Cougars posted eight hits, led by sophomore Josh Vidales with a three-for-three effort and an RBI, while senior Frankie Ratcliff (2x4) tallied the only other multi-hit game for Houston. Adding to the hit column was junior Michael Pyeatt (1x4), sophomore Justin Montemayor (1x3, R) and freshman Connor Hollis (1x3, R).
Houston starter Jake Lemoine (4.2,7,4,4,2,2) went 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts and would suffer the loss, falling to 6-8 on the year.
Pitching in relief out of the bullpen was sophomore Bubba Maxwell (1.2,1,0,0,1,0) and senior Tyler Ford (2.2,3,0,0,0,2) – who combined for 4.1 shutout innings with two strikeouts.
Texas jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run homerun off the bat of Mark Payton. Following that, Lemoine was able to escape the frame without any more damage done.
Despite the leadoff hitter reaching in the second and third innings, the Cougars weren’t able to capitalize on those opportunities. The Longhorns would scratch across their third run of the game on a two-hitinning that saw the Cougars make an error.
Texas padded its lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings on four hits to go ahead 4-0.
Houston finally struck for some offense when it strung together three straight singles off the bats of Montemayor, Hollis and Vidales. Vidales’ single found the first base bag, scoring Montemayor to put the Cougars on the board before Barker hit into a double play, plating Hollis to make it a two-run game.
After a one-out walk and single to put runners at first and second for Texas, Ford, who replaced Maxwell after the walk, fanned the next two to escape without any damage done. The Cougars threatened in their own half inning when two reached on base hits, but both were left stranded to end the inning.
Down by two in the ninth, the Cougars made it interesting when Ratcliff singled into right center for a one-out hit, his second of the day. With the tying run at the plate, Montemayor grounded to first, but beat out the throw as the Longhorns attempted to turn the doubleplay. That led to a Jacob Campbell pinch hit at-bat with two outs, but despite a nice piece, Texas was able to pull Game 1 out behind two strong pitching performances in Nathan Thornhill and John Curtiss.
Thornhill (7.0,7,2,2,1,3) allowed two runs on seven hits in 7.0 innings to earn the win and improve to 8-2, while Curtiss (2.0,1,0,0,0,0) closed the game out to pick up his ninth save of the year.