April 9, 2011
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HOUSTON -- Ryan Woolley allowed only three hits in a complete-game effort Saturday night to lead the UAB baseball team to a 6-1, series-clinching victory over Houston at Cougar Field.
Woolley, who improved to 5-3 on the year, shut out Houston through eight innings before the Cougars finally pushed a run across in the ninth. It was the first complete game of his career and marked the second straight game the UAB pitching staff held Houston to just one run.
UAB improved its record to 18-12 and 6-2 in Conference USA, while Houston dropped to 16-17 and 3-2 in the league. The Blazers matched their second-best start ever through eight games in C-USA play and are currently tied with Rice atop the conference standings.
"That only matters when it's all over," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "We have a long, long way to go, and you try not to get too high or too low. Like I tell our team, the score is 0-0 tomorrow and we're playing a good team again."
UAB secured its third straight series victory to start conference play and its sixth weekend series victory in as many tries this year. The teams will close this weekend's series Sunday at 1 p.m. CT as the Blazers go for the sweep.
Woolley out-dueled Houston starter Jordan Lewis, who was effective despite suffering the loss. Lewis pitched into the seventh inning, struck out five batters and was charged with just two runs (one earned) on four hits. The Blazers then added four insurance runs over the final two innings against the Houston bullpen.
Andrew Manning's solo home run in the fifth inning was the only scoring through the first six frames. The Blazers then tacked on a run in the seventh when Keith DePew drew a bases-loaded walk.
Those proved to be the only runs Woolley needed. The right-hander faced just one batter over the minimum through the first eight innings. He allowed three base runners during that stretch, but catcher Jacob German caught two of them trying to steal. Woolley recorded 17 ground-ball outs, four strikeouts and walked just one on the night.
"Ryan was amazing," Shoop said. "He was as good as I've ever seen him. He maintained his velocity until the very end and was just dominant. He was the story of the game, and it's a good thing because we certainly had trouble figuring their left-hander out."
Only five balls left the infield against Woolley through the first eight innings until Joel Ansley doubled to lead off the ninth. He later scored the Cougars' only run on an RBI groundout by Landon Appling.
UAB's John Frost went 3-for-5 as the only player for either team with more than one hit. German had a game-high two RBI, driving in both of the Blazers' eighth-inning runs with a bases-loaded single. DePew doubled and drew three walks to reach base safely in all four of his plate appearances.
The Blazers continued to play solid defense behind Woolley in the field. While Houston committed three errors on the night, UAB played error-free for the third straight game and the eighth time in the past 11 contests.