CLEARWATER, Fla. – Tournament Most Outstanding Player Jake Scheiner went 4-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored helping No. 2 seed Houston to a 6-0 win over No. 8 seed in the 2017 American Athletic Conference Championship Game at Spectrum Field. With the win the Cougars improve to 40-19 and earn the leagues automatic bid to NCAA Tournament play, while the Pirates finish the season at 32-28.
John King (7-1) tossed 6.2 scoreless frames allowing seven hits with one walk and one strikeout in the win, while Joey Pulido notched his second save of the year with 2.1 scoreless frames in relief.
Evan Kruczynski (4-3) took the loss allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts in four innings of work. ECU used six pitchers in relief getting outings from West Covington (1.0 IP, 1 R, 1 K), Chris Holba (0.0 IP, 2 Hs, 1 R), Sam Lanier (1.1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 K), Matt Bridges (1.2 IP, 1 R, 2 BB), Ryan Ross (0.0 IP, 1 H) and Davis Kirkpatrick (1.0 IP).
Houston pounded out 14 hits getting four from Scheiner and three from Jared Triolo, who also scored a game-high three runs. Lael Lockhart drove in two runs, while Connor Hollis, Corey Julks and Scheiner each had one.
Eric Tyler led the Pirates with two hits, while Dusty Baker, Luke Bolka, Spencer Brickhouse, Turner Brown, Wes Phillips and Dwanya Williams-Sutton each added one.
The trio of Jake Agnos, Charlie Yorgen and Travis Watkins were named to the All-Tournament Team for their performances on the week.
How It Happened
Houston scored single runs in the third through eighth innings to claim its second AAC Championship crown in four tries since joining the league in 2014. The Cougars took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning thanks to Corey Julks’ RBI double down the left field line. With one out, Connor Hollis singled up the middle and took third on Scheiner’s bloop base hit to left field. Julks followed with a soft liner down the line easily plating Hollis.
Lockhart’s RBI ground out in the fourth extended the Cougars lead to 2-0. Triolo tripled to right field to start the frame and came home on Lockhart’s grounder to short.
Scheiner’s 17th home run of the year, a solo shot to right field, gave Houston a three-run lead, 3-0, in the fifth inning.
Lockhart’s second RBI of the afternoon pushed the Cougars lead to four, 4-0, in the sixth stanza. Triolo doubled off the left-center field wall and came around to scores on Lockhart’s base knock up the middle.
Houston added runs in the seventh and eighth to cap the scoring at 6-0.