Houston, Tex – The University of Houston (14-7) rode a five run fourth inning on Tuesday night to beat arch-rival Rice (15-7) 8-3. Cougar first baseman Chris Iriart led off the inning with a double down the left field line which was followed by a Justin Montemayor single. Then with one out and runners on the corners, Connor Wong hit the second Cougar double of the inning, this time down the right field line, to score Iriart and Montemayor for the first runs of the ball game. Ian Rice followed that with a single of his own to score Wong. Corey Julks then singled to center field and Zac Taylor walked to load the bases for the top of the order. Kyle Survance reached on a fielder’s choice to second base and another run scored due to an error on Owls shortstop Leon Byrd that scored two more runs.
Rice was able to strike for two in the sixth when Ford Steinback drew a two-out walk from UH starter Seth Romero. Byrd, John Clay Reeves, and Kirby Taylor followed that up with singles, the last of those three scoring Steinback and Byrd to cut the lead to 5-2.
UH added two more in the seventh inning and each team added one more in the eighth as the final score was 8-3. Houston’s starter, freshman Seth Romero (2-1), flashed a low 90’s fastball with a great breaking ball in his first ever start for the Cougars. UH Head Coach Todd Whitting said after the game, “(Romero) was really really good. He set the tone for us.” Romero pitched 6.1 in his first start, only giving up two runs on six hits with nine strikeouts. Aaron Garza picked up the save, his first, in his 1.1 innings to close out the game.
Jordan Stephens (1-1) got the loss on the mound for the Owls in 3 innings pitched, allowing one run on three hits. He flashed a low 90’s fastball with a tight slider in the low 80’s. John Williamson came on in relief of Stephens in the fourth but recorded only one out while giving up three runs on three hits with a strikeout.
Both teams are back on the diamond on Friday with UH playing their first true road games of the season at New Mexico and Rice heads to Old Dominion in C-USA play.