UIL State Tennis

Zein, Sriniketh capture singles State Championships

Zein and Sriniketh brought the god back to H-Town Vype

COLLEGE STATION - Heading into the day there was no doubt that Houston would be walking away with gold.

The Class 6A girls and boys singles title matches had Houston-area talent on both sides of the net.

Fort Bend Dulles' Marlee Zein followed in her older sister Miriam's footsteps and won the 6A Girls Singles State Championship in her senior season with a 6-3, 6-2 straight-set victory against Cypress Ranch's Melissa LaMette.

"Personally I just think it's really cool because it's for my school," Zein said. "It represents my school. All of the people were cheering for me back at home. It just makes it that much more important. It's exciting."

The last time Dulles tennis won a girls singles state title was in 2012 when Miriam Zein accomplished the feat.

Marlee, who is signed to go to the University of Florida, leaves Dulles as a two-time state medalist. In her freshman year she took silver in girls singles, then stepped away from high school tennis for her sophomore and junior years before returning this season.

"We're all very proud of her," Fort Bend Dulles coach Patty Priddy said. "She's worked very hard for a very long time. You don't get the ratings she does without doing that."

Marlee is the first girl to win a singles title since Clear Lake's Janice Shin in 2014.

On the boys side it was a rematch of the Region III-6A title match as Katy Tompkins' Anish Sriniketh and Pearland Dawson's Kevin Zhu collided.

The duo took the match to a decisive third set but just like in the regional final, Sriniketh was able to best Zhu taking the match 2-1 (7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-3).

Sriniketh is the first-ever tennis player from Tompkins, boy or girl, to capture a tennis state title.

"It just means a lot," Sriniketh said. "We're a really new school, this is our fifth year, so it's great to be the first one to do anything to be honest. It's just a great feeling."

Sriniketh, who didn't make it out of the District 19-6A tennis tournament last season, used the disappointment from that to fuel his title run this year.

In the regional final against Zhu, Sriniketh didn't take a set from him but that wasn't the story on Friday.

"Today was unbelievable," Sriniketh said. "I believed in myself and wow. I'm speechless actually."

Sriniketh is the first boy from Houston to win a singles title since Stratford's Josh Holloway did it in 2015 capturing the 5A boys singles state title.

This is the first time since 2014 that Houston has captured the UIL's highest classification's girls and boys singles titles. Shin and Katy Taylor's Peter Leung won the 5A girls and boys singles state championship that season, respectively.

 

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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