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's offense once again obliterated Baltimore in Wednesday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Owners of a nine-game winning streak, the Astros tried to keep the train rolling to make it double digits and complete the three-game sweep of the Orioles in Baltimore. Not only would they get the win, but they also did it by dominating on both sides of the ball again in a one-sided shutout.

Final Score: Astros 13, Orioles 0

Astros' Record: 46-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (6-3)

Losing Pitcher: Thomas Eshelman (0-1)

Houston keeps mashing

Unlike Tuesday's game which ended 3-1 in a much closer affair, the finale on Wednesday was once again a lopsided affair like Monda's opener, favoring the Astros. Houston once again put up double-digit runs in an offensive explosion. It started right off the bat, with three runs scoring in the top of the first on a two-RBI double by Carlos Correa and an RBI single by Kyle Tucker to grab a 3-0 lead.

Yuli Gurriel extended it to 4-0 with a two-out RBI single in the second, then Jose Altuve made it a six-run game with a two-run blast in the top of the fourth. Michael Brantley joined in with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, then Yordan Alvarez led off a four-run seventh with a solo bomb before a three-run homer by Abraham Toro made it 11-0.

Urquidy cruises through seven scoreless

Jose Urquidy was cruising all the while, allowing just three baserunners over that span, a double to start his night, which he erased, then a one-out walk in the second and leadoff single in the sixth. He returned at the bottom of the seventh with a manageable pitch count, where he'd erase a one-out single to keep Baltimore scoreless. With the insurmountable lead, he'd be given the rest of the night off. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 84 P.

Astros complete the sweep and grab tenth straight win

Chas McCormick, who came off the bench defensively in the bottom of the seventh, made it a twelve-run lead with a one-out solo homer in the top of the eighth, then later Abraham Toro notched his fourth RBI with a run-scoring single to make it 13-0. Brandon Bielak took over for Urquidy in the bottom of the eighth, and after loading the bases with no outs, was able to escape with a strikeout and double play.

Ralph Garza Jr. was Houston's third pitcher, wrapping things up at the bottom of the ninth. He erased a one-out walk and a single with a double play to end the game, giving Houston the three-game sweep and extending their winning streak to ten games as they continue to look like baseball's best team.

Up Next: The next stop on this road trip for Houston is Detroit, where they will kick off a four-game set with the Tigers on Thursday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup for the opener will be Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.82 ERA) for Houston and Jose Urena (2-7, 5.79 ERA) for Detroit.

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