Cougar baseball rallies to victory in round against Pirates

UH starting pitching has struggled in its Saturday and Sunday games this season. That all changed Sunday as the Cougars held Baseball America No. 23 East Carolina to just four hits in their 8-5 win. Houston (14-7, 2-1 Conference USA) took two-of-three games against the Pirates (15-6, 1-2 C-USA) over the weekend to begin Conference USA play.

Making his second start of the season, sophomore Donnie Joseph pitched four strong innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth. After striking out the first batter he faced, Joseph gave up two hits and two walks to the next four hitters, allowing four runs. The Pirates added a run in the inning off of freshman Jared Ray to tie the game at five.

ECU would only muster one more hit (a double in the sixth) in the game.

Senior Bryan Tully pitched four innings of one-hit baseball, striking out four to earn his first win of the season. Tully (1-2) handed the ball over to freshman Chase Dempsay (2-1) in the ninth to close the game.

Senior first baseman Bryan Pounds went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs after ending his career-long 19 game hit streak Saturday. Other top performers were senior leftfielder Jake Stewart, who went 1-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, and sophomore catcher Austin Goolsby going 1-for-4 with homerun.

On Saturday, ECU scored five runs on three home runs in the first inning. Houston lost 4-15 to the Pirates.

Tully went 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored and Stewart hit his third home run of the season, but it wasn’t enough to overcome ECU’s three five-run innings.

The Cougars’ bats were on fire in Friday’s matchup, as they beat the Pirates 14-2. Houston scored in seven of the game’s nine innings, led by Stewart and junior third baseman Jimmy Cesario. Both Stewart and Cesario had three hits and two RBI’s in the game.

Sophomore pitcher Wes Musick won his fifth game in as many starts, pitching 6 1/3 innings giving up six hits and two runs while striking out six.

The Cougars will head to Lake Charles, La. on Tuesday to face McNeese State before returning home to face Rice at 6:30 p.m. at Cougar Field.

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