Tigers post comeback- take Houston series

Right fielder Quinn Stewart's two-run, game-winning single capped a dramatic four-run, two-out rally in the eighth for No. 8 LSU as the Tigers stunned Houston with a 5-3 victory in the rubber game Sunday at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (13-2) won their 10th straight series, dating back to April 2005. The Cougars, who outhit LSU in two of the three games, dropped to 8-8.

LSU hosts in-state rival Tulane at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The game will be televised by Cox Sports (cable ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).

Live audio and video are also available to members of the Geaux Zone powered by USAgencies on www.LSUsports.net.

Stewart went 2-for-3 with three RBI Sunday and finished the weekend 6-for-11 (.545) with six RBI. Stewart, a native of Rowlett, Texas, upped his average from .318 to .364 in the three-game set.

UH reliever Ricky Hargrave (1-1) took the loss, allowing all four runs in the eighth on four straight singles after an effective start by right-hander Luis Flores.

"We showed a bit of character," said head coach Smoke Laval. "How many come-from-behind wins do you have when you score four without a homer hit, at any time with a pretty good arm? You saw Hargrave's numbers before he came in, and that showed character out there today."

LSU sophomore Michael Bonura (1-0) earned the win with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief on four hits. Bonura, who struck out two, captured his first victory since a mid-week decision versus Southeastern Louisiana on May 19, 2004.

Bonura relieved starter Daniel Forrer, who was touched for three runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work.

Forrer labored through the first three innings but was able to keep the Cougars off the board. In the second, Forrer issued a one-out double to second baseman Isa Garcia followed by a walk to third baseman Bryan Pounds. The southpaw avoided any further trouble, getting the next two batters on fly outs to right field.

Stewart brought in the game's first run with a sacrifice fly in LSU's half of the second.

UH finally took advantage of a Forrer walk in the fifth. Catcher Brett Logan earned a one-out free pass, and two batters later he trotted home on a Brian Tully RBI single through the middle to tie the game at 1-1.

Forrer had dodged several threats all day but the Cougars posted two runs in the sixth to take a 3-1 lead. He left after allowing back-to-back one-out singles to first baseman Brad Lincoln and Garcia. Reliever Darryl Shaffer entered and surrendered three straight hits, including RBI singles by Pounds and right fielder Chris Joseph.

After both runs were charged to Forrer, Shaffer gave up his third straight single on a hit by Logan to load the bases with one out.

Laval elected to go to Bonura to salvage the inning and the right-hander did just that. Bonura induced a pop out behind the plate to leadoff hitter Jake Stewart. With two outs, Tully rolled a ground ball inside the first base bag that was stabbed on a diving play by Jordan Mayer. Mayer flipped to Bonura covering to retire the side.

Flores scatted six hits before he gave way to Hargrave to start the seventh. Hargarve entered with a sparkling 1.27 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched. The right-hander was at the top of his game with a perfect seventh inning on a pair of strikeouts.

LSU was four outs away from losing its first non-conference series at home since 2003 when the Tiger offense finally erupted with two outs in the eighth. Shortstop Michael Hollander surprised everyone with a two-out bunt placed perfectly down the third base line, putting runners at the corners.

Designated hitter J.T. Wise then collected his second hit of the day with an opposite field single to right, scoring second baseman Jason Ogata. Left fielder Steven Waguespack's clutch single through the middle brought in Hollander to knot the game at 3-3.

Stewart fell behind 1-2 in the count, and then delivered the game-winning hit with a single to center.

"He had me fooled on the first two, but Smoke told me to keep on swinging and good things will happen," said Stewart. "He came back with a fastball and he left it up too much. Fortunately, I got a good swing on it and it got up the middle."

Bonura, staked to a 5-3 advantage, worked a perfect ninth to secure the comeback.

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