2/22/2013 8:00 P.M. ET
TSU's Gomez fires gem in Urban Invitational opener
By Richard Dean / Special to MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The way Felix Gomez was pitching on Friday, he didn't need much offensive support. Tyler Flanagan's third-inning home run was all Gomez and Texas Southern would get. And it was enough.
Flanagan's shot to right-center was the game's lone run as the Texas Southern Tigers edged Southern University, 1-0, to start the three-day Urban Invitational at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.
Flanagan's second home run of the season spoiled a brilliant pitching performance from the Jaguars' Jesse Holiday (1-1), who did not walk a batter and struck out nine. De'Mario Thibodeaux had two hits for TSU (4-2).
"That's what kids dream of at night," said the left-handed-hitting Flanagan, who batted ninth. "We all talk about it coming in. You don't know if it's going to happen, but when it does and the ball is in the air, you're like, 'Wow, it happened.'
"The scouting report on [Holiday] was going away, away. So I scooted up on the plate and I was able to get my arms extended, and it carried out."
As impressive as Holiday was on the mound, Gomez (1-0) was better, limiting the Jaguars to only four hits in eight-plus innings. Denzel Pipkin struck out all three batters he faced in the top of the ninth to earn the save.
"I was just trying to get ahead of the batters," said the right-handed Gomez. "We knew they were aggressive, so we started out fastball outside, and late in the count throw it in. Most of the time, they swung right over it."
On left-handed batters, Gomez had his back-door slider working, and on right-handed hitters, an inside fastball was effective.
Southern's Caleb Hatcher doubled in the sixth inning but was stranded at third base. Bryan Rowry, Fernando Morales and Jeremy Lopez added hits for the Jaguars (2-3).
TSU coach Michael Robertson knows the Tigers aren't going to win too many games scoring only one run.
"We're going to hit later in the season," said Robertson. "We're fortunate beating Southern, 1-0, because normally Southern hits the ball well. A lot of credit to Gomez, and Tyler put a good swing on that ball and got the big hit."
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.