By Robert H. Kelly
On a very cool evening, in the somewhat comfortable confines of Houston’s Minute Maid Park, the Houston Cougars took to the field to face in number 20 Baylor in the first game for both teams at the 2007 Houston College Classic.
Houston (1-0) coming off a 15-4 thumping of Steven F. Austin on Tuesday, were looking to end a streak that has seen them finish with a 1-2 record at the Classic in each of the last four season.
Cougar Aaron Brown took to the mound to face Baylor’s Randall Linebaugh in the first assignment for each of these junior righthanders. Brown held the Bears to only one hit with five strikeouts over five shutout innings to help lead the Cougars to a 4-2 win.
Brown has an opportunity to show more than the glimpses of potential that sporadically appeared during his previous two seasons.
"On a scale of 10, I'd give it a 9.5," Cougar Coach Rayner Noble was quoted on Brown's performance "His command wasn't real great, but the thing is he made the pitches when he needed to make them.
"It's just a matter of him, from one day to the next, being consistent. Not only with his bullpens being sharp but just in his work ethic. When he understands all of the facts, he's got a chance to be very, very good."
Brown was part of a solid pitching performance by the Cougar staff, which did not allow Baylor's second hit until the seventh inning.
The Cougars struck for the game's first run in the first inning. Ryan Lormand was hit by a pitch to lead off and moved into scoring position following Jake Stewart's sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Kingsbury slapped an RBI-single into center field to hand the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
The score remained unchanged until the fifth inning when the Cougars got three runs off four hits.
Cougar pitchers kept the Baylor offense in check until the eighth inning when the Bears struck for a pair of runs.
The Cougars will face Texas A&M at 3:00pm Saturday for the second game for each team in the tournament.