Junior Kevin Brandt
April 22, 2011
HOUSTON, Texas - Jordan Lewis struck out a career-best 10 batters and Caleb Ramsey collected two hits as Houston (20-20, 7-4) evened the Conference USA series with a 4-2 win over East Carolina (26-13, 7-7) Friday night at Cougar Field.
Lewis (4-1) retired six of the first seven Pirates he faced recording three punch outs in the first two frames. In all he struck out multiple hitters in four of seven innings worked including the side in the fourth frame. The left-hander went allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and issued three walks in seven innings. Jordan Mannisto notched his third save of the season tossing a perfect two innings of relief.
Kevin Brandt suffered his first loss of the season allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Joseph Hughes made his 11th appearance of the season working the final two-third's of the eighth with one strikeout.
ECU took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning when Jack Reinheimer reached on a fielder's choice bunt scoring Philip Clark from third. Clark extended his current hitting streak to seven games with a leadoff single up the middle and took second on Tim Younger's sac bunt. Ben Fultz followed with a single to right center moving Clark to third before Reinheimer laid down a bunt back to Lewis, who bobbled the ball trying to throw Clark out at home.
Houston tied the game at one in the bottom half of the third stanza with two outs. Landon Appling singled to center then came around to score when Ramsey reached on a bloop single to right center. On the play, Clark, Younger and Trent Whitehead converged to the ball in shallow right center where the ball landed in between all three fielders. Clark tried to pick up the ball and throw it in, but dropped the ball allowing Appling to score on the error and landing Ramsey on second.
An inning later the Cougars took a 2-1 lead and never looked back. M.P. Cokinos singled up the middle to start the fourth then took second on John Cannon's walk and moved over to third on Matt Creel's bunt in front of Zach Wright at the dish. Codey Morehouse dropped down another bunt on a safety squeeze scoring Cokinos.
Houston extended its lead to three, 4-1, after plating runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Cannon's sac bunt in the sixth scored Chase Jensen, who tripled off the left field wall with one out. Still's sac fly in the seventh scored Morehouse, who doubled to lead off the frame.
The Pirates pulled within two, 4-2, on Chase McDonald's RBI fielder's choice in the eighth. Corey Thompson singled to center and Wright followed with a walk to get things going. After Mannisto relieved Lewis, who threw 117 pitches on the night, Whitehead moved the runners up 90 feet on a ground out to first before McDonald scored Thompson on a shot to short, where Jensen threw over to Morehouse at third retiring Wright for the second outs.
Less than 24 hours after recording 14 hits in the series opener, Lewis and Mannisto held ECU to just four singles and a double.
The two teams will play the rubber match Saturday, April 23 at 2 p.m. (EST).