Offense hits stride as Cougars hang 13 hits on Pirates in 10-1 victory
The Cougars took the lead in the AAC with a game one win of the series on Friday night as Houston defeated the ECU Pirates with a 10-1 victory.
Both teams went scoreless through the first inning, but the Cougars wasted no time in the second as freshman leftfielder Corey Julks opened the bottom of the inning with a double on the first pitch.
Freshman short stop Connor Wong reached first on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second while Julks was tagged out at second after trying to make it to third.
After junior catcher Ian Rice was walked, junior center-fielder Ashford Fulmer stepped up to the plate, knocking a two-RBI double after a 1-1 count, scoring Wong and Rice for a 2-0 Houston lead.
For his timely hitting, Fulmer earned high praise from head coach Todd Whitting.
“The big play of the game belonged to Fulmer driving in the first runs early,” said Whitting.
For the next two innings, both teams would remain scoreless until Houston put up runs in the bottom of the fifth.
With two outs on the board, junior second baseman Josh Vidales was walked, with junior first baseman Chris Iriart next at bat. Iriart doubled to score Vidales and gave Houston its third run of the night.
The Cougars went to full throttle as they continued to score runs for the rest of the night with two runs in the sixth, courtesy of a two-RBI homerun by Wong, followed by one run in the seventh and four in the eighth.
Sophomore starting pitcher Andrew Lantrip pitched for eight innings giving up eight hits, two walks, nine strike outs and one run. A home run in the top of the sixth provided ECU’s only run for the night.
“I thought Lantrip was outstanding again tonight,” said Whitting. “He didn’t have his best stuff, but he was competitive. That is the key this time of the year — just go out there and compete.”
Lantrip would not start the ninth inning, as freshman left-hander Aaron Fletcher replaced the starting pitcher. Fletcher recorded one strike out with no hits or runs.
With Friday’s win, the Cougars took the lead in the AAC with a 12-7 record, while moving to 34-16 overall on the season.