Pounds dominates the diamond
The hits have been there all season for UH senior first baseman Bryan Pounds, now come the accolades.
Pounds was named Conference USA Co-Hitter of the Week on Monday in recognition of his recent stretch of torrid hitting. It was the first career weekly C-USA award for Pounds, who shared the award with Alabama-Birmingham junior outfielder Cody McMurry.
The Cougars had an uneven week, winning their first two games before being swept in a three-game series by San Diego State last weekend, but Pounds was mostly consistent throughout the five-game stretch.
He paced the Cougars’ offense with a .476 batting average with two home runs, a double, a triple, five runs and 10 RBIs. He also led the team in slugging percentage (.952) and on-base percentage (.520).
Pounds’ signature outing came in the Cougars’ 8-5 victory over then-Baseball America No. 12 Rice on Wednesday. In that game, he was 4-for-5 with two home runs, including his first career grand slam, and a career-high seven RBIs.
After 26 games, Pounds leads the Cougars in batting average (.438), hits (42), home runs (6), RBIs (34), slugging percentage (.729) and on-base percentage (.495).
That’s not too shabby for a guy who never hit higher than .279 in any of his three previous seasons.
Fly like an eagle
Southern Miss is on top of the world after making C-USA history last weekend.
The Golden Eagles defeated Rice 8-7 on Sunday in Houston to capture a two-games-to-one series win and became the first C-USA team to beat Rice in a three-game series.
The win also broke Rice’s consecutive home-series win streak at 40 and its streak of 26 consecutive conference-series wins, a record that dates back to before the Owls joined C-USA in 2006.
But Southern Miss didn’t have an easy time achieving history. The Golden Eagles trailed 5-2 after five innings, but rallied for five runs in the top of the sixth to take a 7-5 lead.
Rice scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 7 before Southern Miss junior outfielder Bo Davis scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth.
Golden Eagles junior closer Tyler Conn loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but struck out the next two batters to seal the historic win.
"We had told the team going in that Rice had never lost a three-game series in the league," Southern Miss head coach Corky Palmer told the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American. "We tried to give them some motivation. They played real hard. To come back from being down 5-2, they hung with it. I’m proud of the way we played."
Southern Miss, East Carolina, Rice and Central Florida are the only C-USA schools in the top 50 of the Ratings Percentage Index rankings (www.boydsworld.com). Southern Miss leads the way with an RPI of 14, followed by ECU (16), Rice (28) and UCF (47).
Rice sophomore right-hander Ryan Berry struck out a career-high 13 batters in Friday’s 1-0 loss to Southern Miss.
Alabama-Birmingham senior first baseman Ryan Keedy has an 18-game hitting streak and needs a hit in only five more consecutive games to match the school record of 23.
East Carolina junior infielder Ryan Wood hit two home runs last week to increase his total to eight, which leads C-USA. He shares the lead with Marshall junior outfielder Nate Lape.