Conference USA Weekend Roundup

Kiko Vazquez

Kiko Vazquez

It was a weekend of big innings and high scoring games around Conference USA. East Carolina and Rice both swept their series, keeping the Pirates one game up in the conference standings as the two teams prepare to meet next weekend in Greenville. Southern Miss took two-of-three from Marshall in a close series where four total runs separated the teams. UCF earned its first series victory of the season by winning the final two games at Memphis and Houston extended its winning streak to six games by sweeping a non-conference series against Texas-Pan American.

East Carolina was faced with a road trip to Birmingham to take on the high-scoring UAB Blazers. But, it was the productive Pirates bats that proved to be the difference as ECU rolled up 25 runs in a doubleheader sweep on Saturday after posting a 6-3 win on Friday night. East Carolina’s lineup now features all seven starters hitting .319 or better.

Rice won all three games against Tulane at Reckling Park, sweeping the Green Wave for the second straight season. After scoring 11 and 12 runs, respectively in the first two wins, Rice used a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to ignite a rally and win 7-4, increasing the team’s current winning streak to six games.

Southern Miss won its series with Marshall in Hattiesburg, two games to one. On Friday night, a strong pitching performance by JR Ballinger led to a 4-2 win. Saturday afternoon, Dan Straily earned the win for Marshall as the Herd earned an 8-7 victory. Then, for the second time in three weeks, Southern Miss won a conference home game on a walk-off single, as Tyler Koelling provided the big hit.

UCF posted its first C-USA series victory on the road since 2006 by taking two-of-three against Memphis at AutoZone Park. The Tigers took game one on Friday, 10-5 and UCF rebounded with a 12-7 victory on Saturday, but it was Sunday’s memorable comeback that the Knights will remember for a long time. Trailing 3-0 with two out in the ninth inning, the Knights put together an unforgettable rally, as senior Kiko Vazquez, junior Chris Duffy and senior Colin Arnold all homered to hand the Black and Gold to a 5-3 win.

Houston increased its win streak to six games with three straight convincing wins over Texas-Pan American. The Cougars piled up 38 runs in the series, scoring 15 runs on Friday and Sunday. Houston has now won 10 of its last 13 games and this weekend’s sweep was the first by UH at Cougar Field since March, 2007.