CLEARWATER– The University of Houston Cougars got a great start by left-hander John King and all the offense they would need from the Tournaments Most Outstanding Player Jake Schiener with his 4-for-5 day, and shut out the East Carolina University Pirates 6-0 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.
Jared Triolo went 3-for-4 and scored three runs. Joey Pulido worked a scoreless 2.1 innings to nail down his second save of the season.
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).
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.
Houston (40-19), which last won The American title in 2014, earns the conference’s automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Championship. The Cougars will learn Sunday night if they are selected to host one of the 16 regional sites and will learn their pairings for the tournament Monday.
Houston finished tied for first in The American in the regular season and became the first team to claim both the regular-season and tournament titles in the same year. The Cougars have appeared in four straight tournament finals.
Houston starter John King, allowed seven hits through 6.2 shutout innings in which he struck out one with one walk. King allowed only one extra-base hit and forced 12 ground-ball outs as he improved to 7-1.
P Jake Agnos, East Carolina
P Trey Cumbie, Houston
P John King, Houston
C Travis Watkins, East Carolina
IF Anthony Prato, UConn
IF Charlie Yorgen, East Carolina
IF Lael Lockhart, Houston
IF Jake Scheiner, Houston
OF Tyler Bielamowicz, Houston
OF Corey Julks, Houston
OF Chris Carrier, Mempjhis
UTY Colton Neel, Memphis
Most Outstanding Player
Jake Scheiner, 3B, Houston