Lewis, Ray propel Cougars
A series victory over Central Florida helped the Cougars keep pace with Conference USA leader Southern Miss, moving them into a tie for second with Rice.
UH (22-23, 9-6 C-USA) dropped the series opener 6-4 to the Knights (27-17, 7-11), but closed with two wins thanks to solid starting pitching efforts by Jordan Lewis and Jared Ray.
Lewis, last week’s C-USA Pitcher of the Week, tied the rubber for the Cougars’ 5-0 victory on Saturday. Lewis pitched all nine innings, striking out seven and walking only one batter. The win ended a three game losing streak for UH. In his last three starts, Lewis has thrown 22 innings and struck out 20 while pitching to a 0.82 ERA.
The entire lineup pitched in for the Cougars. Every starter recorded a hit, except for third baseman Codey Morehouse. Ryan Still led off and singlehandedly gave UH a 1-0 lead in the first. Still singled, stole second and third and then scored on a wild pitch.
The Cougars again got on the board first in the series’ rubber match when Matt Creel drove in Caleb Ramsey.
The Knights responded in the bottom half of the inning.
UH pulled ahead 2-1 on a groundout by John Cannon that allowed Chase Jensen to score.
The Cougars tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth with back-to-back doubles by Morehouse and Jensen. Then Jensen scored when Joel Ansley reached on an error.
The Knights responded with two runs of their own to keep the score close at 4-3.
However, in the top of the ninth, the Cougars added another run and Jordan Mannisto induced a double play for the final outs to record his fourth save and give UH the 5-3 victory.
The battle for second place begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday when the Cougars start a three-game homestand against Rice.