Bears shoot down Cougar Ace

Things didn't go as planned for the #13 ranked Houston Cougars as they put their ace, junior right-hander and preseason All-American, Brad Sullivan on the mound to face the #10 ranked Baylor Bears Friday evening at the Minute Maid Park College Classic. In fact, Sullivan had a consecutive scoreless-inning streak going, but the Bears ended the streak at 31 2/3 innings getting 7 hits, 5 of them for extra bases, scoring 5 earned runs. It was the shortest start in Sullivan's career - 1 2/3 innings.

Several players did well for the Bears, but Josh Ford was the leader as he went 4-for-5 on the evening with 4 RBI's. Three of the 4 RBI's came in the 7th inning with a homer that careened off the railroad tracks above the left field seats. The sophomore catcher had career highs in both the 4 hits and 4 RBI's. Fellow sophomore Michael Griffin also went 4-for-5 getting 2 RBI's, while junior David Murphy was 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs to lead Baylor's 15-hit assault.

The game was some "payback" for the Bears who had lost three games in a row to the Cougars. It was also some retribution, in part, to Minute Maid Park, since last year at this time, the Bears were going 0-3, suffering three, one-run losses at last season's classic.

The game began with a non-eventful first inning. Then, LF Michael Griffin led off the 2nd inning with a solo blast over left-center. Zach Dillon walked, then Trey Webb got into the act with a double, sending Dillon to third. Sullivan threw a wild pitch, and Dillon scored from third as Webb moved to the unoccupied base. Webb scored when 2nd baseman Kyle Reynolds sacrificed to center field, and it was 3-0. Then, just like that, Chris Durbin and David Murphy hit back-to-back doubles (Sullivan was really getting rocked, now) and Ross Bennet followed with a single that scored Murphy and it was 5-0. That finished the Baylor scoring in the inning and it also finished Sullivan.

"He just didn't have a good day," Houston coach Rayner Noble said. "I don't know how to explain it. He just didn't have his stuff, and the mistakes that he made they did a good job of doing some damage with it."

It really didn't seem to matter who was on the mound for the Cougars - it was the Bears' night, as they showed in the third inning by sending 10 batters to the plate and putting 6 more runs up on the scoreboard. By the time Phil Bennett concluded the scoring with a sacrifice fly, it was Baylor 11, and Houston had yet to have a runner cross the plate.

Baylor starting pitcher Jared Theordorakos threw five strong innings to get the win, allowing 6 hits, walking only 1, and striking out 4 batters. One of his six hits was a two-run homer in the fifth inning by Cougar catcher Brett Logan. Sophomore Sean Walker picked up his first save of the season by pitching the final four innings. Walker allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, but he didn't walk a single batter, and he tied a career high with 5 K's.

The final score was Baylor 14, Houston 4. The Bears will face the "other" Houston team, the Rice Owls at 7:00 p.m. tonight. The Owls are coming off a 10-5 whipping they put on the Texas A&M Aggies earlier Friday.

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