Baseball Wins First Game Of Houston Double Dip

March 3, 2001

HOUSTON, Tex. - Josh Persell hit a go-ahead two-run homer and Mark Prior struck out 10 as the USC Trojans defeated the host Houston Cougars, 6-3, in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.

Persell hit a shot to dead center in the seventh for the Trojans (10-4), who are ranked No. 4 in the nation according to ESPN/USA Today Baseball Weekly and No. 5 in Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

Prior had another strong performance, going eight innings and striking out 10 batters while not allowing a walk. He now has a 4-0 record with a 1.83 ERA on the season. In 34 1/3 innings, Prior has allowed 23 hits, struck out 53 and walked five. Opponents are batting .183 against him.

Houston (6-10) started the scoring in the second when Chris Snyder hit a solo shot off Prior. The Trojans answered in the top of the third when Seth Davidson scored on a wild pitch by Cougars' starter Brad Sullivan.

Sean Allen led off the Cougars' fifth with a solo shot to right field for a 2-1 lead. Two costly errors, however, hurt Houston's cause.

In the sixth, Persell hit a ground ball that went through the legs of Houston third baseman Nathan Mitchell. Bill Peavey struck out and Michael Moon reached on a fielder's choice as Persell was retired at second. Moon advanced to third on a single by Alberto Concepcion and scored on a single to right by Seth Davidson.

Another error by Houston kept USC alive in the seventh as Persell's home run came with two outs. The Cougars had the bases loaded in the eighth, but Prior struck out Nathan Mitchell to end the threat. Brian Bannister relieved Prior in the ninth and registered his first save of the season. With runners at second and third with two outs, Bannister got Gabe Lucas to ground out to third to end the game.

The second game of today's doubleheader will be played with the series finale tomorrow at 1 p.m. (CST). Sunday's game will be broadcast on the Internet by Texas Sports Radio Network at www.tsrn.com.

USC	001-001-220 --- 6-11-0Houston	010-010-100 --- 3-11-2

WP - Prior (4-0) LP - Sullivan (0-3) S - Bannister (1)Prior, Bannister (9) and Concepcion, Bonovich (8).Sullivan, Grein (8) and Snyder.T - 3:02 ATT - 422

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