Conference USA weekend roundup

Houston sits atop the Conference USA baseball standings after sweeping a three-game series from No. 25 UCF at Cougar Field. UH is just ahead of Rice, which swept a three-game series at Memphis. East Carolina won two-of-three at Southern Miss, while Marshall and Tulane each won one game before tying on Sunday.

Houston’s first league sweep since 2006 was aided by second baseman Ryan Lormand, who went 7-for-12 in the series. Saturday’s middle game saw a strong pitching performance by Ty Stuckey. The Cougars are now 5-1 in C-USA play as they get set for Tulane next weekend. Friday and Saturday’s games against the Green Wave will air live on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV).

Ryan Berry was sensational in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, striking out nine and allowing just three hits in a complete game shutout. Chris Kelley followed with 6.1 strong innings, allowing just one run on seven hits with six strikeouts. On Sunday, the Owls scored runs in each of the last four innings, including a three-run ninth to finish off the sweep.

Southern Miss won Saturday’s first game in 13 innings, 6-5. James Ewing hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to force the game into extra innings and added two RBI in the 12th to push the game one more frame before the Golden Eagles eventually won in the 13th inning. Drew Carson had three hits including the game tying RBI and scored the winning run in the 13th inning.

East Carolina answered in the second game as freshman Seth Maness worked a career-long 8.1 innings, allowing two runs and fanning seven batters with no walks in a 4-2 Pirate win. On Sunday, ECU scored five runs in the top of the first and never looked back, posting an 11-3 win for a series victory.

Tulane and Marshall played to the rare win-loss-tie three-game series. Tulane won Friday night’s opener, 6-5, as Scott Powell’s sacrifice fly capped a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. On Saturday, Marshall’s Steve Blevins struck out a career-high 12 in a complete game victory as Marshall won, 7-4. On Sunday, the teams played to a 10-inning, 5-5 tie due to the travel curfew.

UAB swept a Sunday doubleheader, 3-2 and 3-1 over Presbyterian to take two-of-three in the non-conference series. Both Kyle Roberson and James Oliver provided the Blazers with superb pitching performances as each pitched seven-inning complete games.