Houston Rallies to Win Opener at NCAA College Station Regional

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COLLEGE STATION -- Senior second baseman Ryan Lormand and junior first baseman Jimmy Cesario each went 4-for-5 to lead the University of Houston baseball team to a come-from-behind, 9-5 win over No. 2 seed Dallas Baptist during the first game of the 2008 NCAA College Station Regional at Olsen Field.

After falling behind 3-0 in the first inning, the Cougar offense rallied to take the lead with five runs in the fourth inning. After Patriots knotted the game at 5-5 with two runs in the seventh inning, the Cougars put the game away with four runs in the final two frames, including a three-spot in the eighth inning.

Playing in their first NCAA postseasons, Cesario went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs, while Lormand batted 4-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBIs to pace a Cougar offense that outhit the Patriots 14-10. Freshman shortstop Blake Kelso also went 2-for-4 with a walk.

Dallas Baptist (37-18) appeared to grab the game's momentum in the seventh inning, scoring two runs to tie the game at 5-5. After leading off with a double and moving to third following a sacrifice bunt, Ryan Thompson scored from third on a wild pitch. Ryan Enos then launched a solo home run to right field to tie the game.

However, the Cougars, who are competing this weekend as the No. 3 seed, regained the lead in the eighth inning by sending nine men to the plate. Cesario led off with a double off the wall in left center and scored easily when Lormand slapped a double of his own down the left-field line. After Zak Presley's sacrifice bunt put Lormand at third and a DBU pitching change, Bryan Tully laid down the first pitch he saw from DBU reliever Tyson Bagley to score Lormand on a safety squeeze.

The rally continued when Caleb Ramsey drew a walk, and Chris Wallace lined a single into center field to put runners on the corners. After Blake Kelso drew a walk to load the bases, Jake Stewart was hit by a pitch to force Ramsey home for an 8-5 Cougar lead.

That would be all the offense that Cougar closer Chase Dempsay needed. The Baytown native threw the final 2.2 shutout innings, allowing only one run with a strikeout to improve to 7-3. With that, Dempsay tied Shane Nance's 1997 for the most wins by a Cougar freshman pitcher. Dempsay already owns the Cougar freshman record for saves with 11 this season.

Enos went 3-for-5 with a solo home run, while Austin Knight batted 2-for-5 with a run to lead Dallas Baptist. Nick Santos batted 2-for-4 with a run, and Trevor Head led all players with three RBIs in the losing effort.

With the win, the Cougars won for the 10th time in their last 11 games to improve to 39-22 and will face the winner of the No. 1 seed Texas-No. 4 seed Illinois-Chicago game in a winner's bracket game at 6:30 p.m., Saturday. The Cougars also enjoyed the 11th 40-win season in school history but the first since the 2002 squad tied a UH record with 48 wins.

Fans can hear all Cougar Baseball games live at UHCougars.com by clicking the appropriate links. Jeremy Branham will call the play-by-play action while former letterwinner Pat Cauley provides color analysis.

Fans always can follow live stats by clicking on the Gametracker link.

The Patriots struck for the game's first runs when Head blasted a two-out, three-run homer over the wall in left field.

The score remained that way until the fourth inning when the Cougars grabbed their first lead with five runs off four hits and a pair of errors. Jake Stewart, Bryan Pounds and Cesario rapped out three straight hits to lead off and load the bases before Lormand's single through the left side plated Stewart for the Cougars' first run.

Two batters later, Bryan Tully laced a ground ball that was misplayed at third base, allowing Pounds to score. Caleb Ramsey then laced a sharp ground ball to pitcher Jordan Meaker, but his throw to catcher Brandon Bantz to retire Cesario at the plate sailed high to the backstop, allowing Cesario to score and Lormand to race in from second base. Chris Wallace then grounded out to third base, allowing Tully to score from third for a 5-3 Cougar lead.

For the second straight inning, Cesario led off the ninth with a looping double into shallow center field and moved to third following Lormand's single to right field. Presley followed with a sharp single up the middle to plate Cesario for the final margin of victory.

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