Feb. 9, 2007
HOUSTON, Texas -- Baylor's eighth-inning rally fell short as the Bears could not overcome a four-run deficit in a 4-2 season-opening loss to Houston in Friday's first-day action at the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Baylor at the event, which they swept in 2005.
Houston got on the board in the bottom of the first, scoring a run on two hits. Linebaugh hit leadoff batter Ryan Lormand on an 0-2 pitch to start the inning. Lormand moved to second on a groundout and later scored on a Dustin Kingsbury two-out single to center.
The Cougars extended their lead with a three-spot in the fifth. After a one-out Lormand walk, Houston put together four consecutive singles to plate the three runs.
Baylor entered the eighth inning with only one hit - Beamer Weems' leadoff double in the fourth. Weems got things going again in the eighth, drawing a two-out walk after falling behind 1-2. Aaron Miller followed with a single to left-center, and both runners advanced one base on a fielding error by the Houston left fielder. Ben Booker followed with a two-run single through the right side.
However, Cougars' reliever Chris Wright forced Dustin Dickerson into an inning-ending fly out and then retired the side in order in the ninth to preserve the victory for Houston.
Baylor starter Randall Linebaugh (0-1) pitched well but was saddled with the loss. He allowed one run on five hits, three of which did not leave the infield, with no walks and two strikeouts in 4.0 innings. Kendal Volz was touched for three runs on six hits and a walk with one strikeout in 1.2 innings of relief work.
Houston starter Aaron Brown (1-0) earned the victory; he held the Bears scoreless on one hit and four walks with five strikeouts in 5.0 innings. Wright was credited with his first save of the season.
The Cougars combined for 13 hits on the night, eight of which came from their 3-4-5 hitters. Dustin Kingsbury led the way, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Jimmy Cesario also had three hits.
The Bears started three true freshmen and played eight freshmen total (five true and three redshirts) in the course of the game.
Baylor returns to action Saturday, facing top-ranked Rice at 7 p.m. CST. The Owls (1-2) dropped a 7-3 decision to ninth-ranked Vanderbilt in Friday's first game.
NOTES: Baylor leads the all-time series 83-60. Houston has won three consecutive meetings. Baylor leads the series 6-3 in neutral-site meetings. The Bears are 17-15 against Houston under head coach Steve Smith. ... Baylor falls to 7-6 all-time at the Houston College Classic. This was the first of the Bears' six losses to not be by one run. ... The Bears started three true freshmen, the most to start on opening day at Baylor since four true freshmen started opening day in 1996 (Jimmy Blair, Jeremy Dodson, Eric Nelson and Jon Topolski).