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Houston Athletics | May 13, 2014

Houston earns first sweep of Rice since 1991

SUGAR LAND, Texas -- Houston grabbed the early lead and never looked back as it went on to earn the Silver Glove Series season sweep of No. 17 Rice with its 7-3 win on Tuesday evening at Constellation Field.

With the win, the Cougars reached the 40-win mark for the first time since 42 wins back in 2008. Improving to 40-13 on the season and winning its seventh consecutive game, Houston swept Rice, who fell to 34-17 on the year. The season sweep was the first season sweep of Rice since the 1991 season where the Cougars went 3-0.

The Silver Glove Series began back with a 3-0 win on Feb. 19 at Reckling Park, continued with a 6-2 victory on March 25 at Cougar Field and concluded with the 7-2 win on Tuesday at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.

In the’s win, the Cougars scored early and never trailed the Owls after plating two runs in the first inning. Pitching was key down the stretch as Houston relied heavily on two arms in freshman starter Andrew Lantrip and junior reliever Jared Robinson.

The duo combined to hold Rice to just eight hits and three runs, including four shutout frames to end the game. Lantrip made his third consecutive midweek start, allowing three runs on six hits in 4.1 innings, while striking out three and walking just two. He handed the ball over the Robinson in the fifth with the Cougars up 7-3 with runners at second and third.

Robinson made his 19th appearances out of the bullpen this year and made his first since May 2 vs. UCF. He was impressive, tossing 4.2 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk to his three strikeouts.

Offensively, the Cougars posted seven hits, led by a two-hit, three-RBI night by freshman Connor Hollis. The Arlington, Texas native has now driven in five RBI in the last two Houston games. He finished 2-for-3 with three RBI.

Also driving in a run with a base hit was senior Jacob Lueneburg (1-for-1, RBI), while sophomore Ashford Fulmer (0-for-4, R, RBI) scored a run and drove in one on a groundout.

Adding to the hit column for Houston was sophomore Kyle Survance (1-for-4), junior Michael Pyeatt (1-for-4, 2 R), senior Frankie Ratcliff (1-for-4, R) and senior Casey Grayson (1-for-4, 2 RBI). With Grayson’s hit, the first baseman has now reached base safely in 26 consecutive games.

Houston took advantage of six walks and three Rice errors to score two in the first and five in the fifth for its seven runs.

Houston scratched across two early runs in the first inning on two hits and an error to go ahead of Rice 2-0.

Lantrip allowed just one run in the first two innings on the bump, but a leadoff solo homerun in the third trimmed the Owls’ deficit to one run at 2-1.

A five-run fifth inning lifted Houston ahead of the Owls at 7-1 when back-to-back walks from Pyeatt and Grayson reached. Montemayor then placed a perfect sacrifice bunt down to advance the runners before Ratcliff was intentionally walk to load the bases.

Hollis came through with a clutch two-run single to break open the 2-1 game and put Houston up 4-1 with one out in the fifth. The inning continued with three more runs following a walk by Vidales and back-to-back RBI from Fulmer and pinch hitter Lueneburg, accompanying a score on a wild pitch.

Rice struck for two runs of its own in the latter half of the inning on three hits, including a two-run triple.

Playing through three scoreless frames, Robinson was lights out, helping Houston preserve the early lead and never look back. Rice threatened once late after the first two hitters reached in the eighth, via a leadoff walk and double to put runners at second and third with no outs and Houston ahead 7-3. Robinson didn’t back down as he fanned the next hitter looking and then induced two consecutive groundouts.

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