Early Lead Propels Houston to 9-3 Win at Tulane

Houston is in New Orleans this weekend to face Tulane

Houston scored in each of the first four innings to build a nine run lead on their way to another series-opening win Friday night in New Orleans against Tulane.

Brandon Uhse got things going in the opening frame with a leadoff double . . . Zach Arnold then drove the next pitch deep to left-center field for a home run, his team-leading eleventh four-bagger of the season . . . Justin Murray (2-for-4) then singled but advanced to second base on a careless defensive throw to the infield . . . Cameron Nickens (2-for-4) then singled home Murray and the Cougars had a 3-0 first inning lead.

Ian McMillan (2-for-3) singled to reach base with one out in the top of the second inning . . . Drew Bianco followed with a towering double off the wall in right-center field to put runners at second and third base . . . Uhse then drove a fly ball deep enough to right field for McMillan to tag-up from third base and the sacrifice fly gave Houston a 4-0 lead.

Murray led off the top of the third inning by getting hit by a pitch . . . Nickens then singled up the middle . . . Anthony Tulimero then bunted for a single to load the bases with no outs . . . One out later, Brandon Burckel drove a ball deep to left-center field that was caught by the center fielder and scored Murray from third base . . . With runners on second and third base, McMillian delivered a two RBI single to right-center field and Houston increased its lead to 7-0.

Tulane finally went to the bullpen with one out in the top of the fourth inning after a single by Arnold, but the results after the change were much the same . . . Murray greeted the new pitcher with a bomb the opposite way, over the right field wall for a two-run home run and a 9-0 Houston lead.

Walks in the bottom of the fifth inning led to three runs for the Green Wave as Houston pitching had difficulty finding the strike zone . . . The third pitcher of the inning, Maddux Miller, was finally able to end the frame and the Cougars led 9-3 . . . Miller was tremendous in his Friday outing going 1 2/3 innings and allowing Green Wave batters just one base hit.

Right-hander Braedyn Cunningham went the rest of the way in relief of Miller and was also outstanding . . . Cunningham threw three hitless, scoreless innings to close out the Friday night road win.

The Cougars and the Green Wave resume their weekend series Saturday at 6pm . . . Houston has not announced a starting pitcher for Saturday at this time.


Four Run Eighth Inning Gives Houston First Place in The American

Josh Ekness made another strong start against Wichita State on Saturday

Houston used a four-run eighth inning to take a late lead against Wichita State on Friday night at Schroeder Park and the 5-3 win gave the Cougars sole possession of first place in The American.

The Cougars got their first hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when Brandon Uhse doubled to the wall in left field with one out . . . Malachi Lott (2-for-3) followed with a single the opposite way through the hole at shortstop and third base to drive in Uhse and tie the game at one.

Houston starter Josh Ekness took the game into the seventh inning but was relieved by Dan Wright with two outs . . . Wright threw 1 1/3 innings without allowing a run.

Trailing 3-1, Lott led off the bottom of the eighth inning by dropping a single behind third base and shortstop to reach base . . . Ian McMillan followed by hammering a pitch toward shortstop that allowed McMillan to reach first base on the error . . . A ground out to the pitcher by Drew Bianco scored Lott from third base . . . Alex Lopez then singled up the middle to plate McMillan and tie the game.

Justin Murray (2-for-4) singled to right field with two outs and Brandon Burckel, pinch-running for Lopez, scored from second base, beating a throw to the plate, Murray advanced to second on the throw to the plate and the Cougars led by a run . . . After an intentional walk to Thomas Lyssy, a pickoff attempt at first base went a bit wild, rolling behind first base but staying on the infield, the ball rolled far enough away to allow Murray to score all the way from second base to score the fourth run of the inning and give Houston a 5-3 lead.

Murray came on to pitch the top of the ninth inning and despite two singles on the infield, he was able to get a weak chopper to Lyssy at first base who fielded and touched the bag to give Houston the victory . . . Murray earned his seventh save of the season.

Entering Friday’s action, Wichita State was ten spots ahead of Houston in College Baseball Nation’s RPI+ calculations at 79, a number to watch after the weekend unfolds.

The Cougars (27-19, 11-5) and the Shockers (27-18, 10-6) will continue their weekend series on Saturday . . . The Cougars have not yet named a starter for the game, but Kyle Ayers could make the start . . . First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm at Schroeder Park.

Cougars Claim Silver Glove Series with 12 Inning Win at Rice

Brandon Uhse led off against Rice Tuesday at Reckling Park

It took twelve innings on Wednesday night at Reckling Park but Houston eventually took the game 8-5 and with it Silver Glove Series from Rice.

Brandon Uhse hit the second pitch of the game for a leadoff single . . . Zach Arnold followed with a single of his own in front of a walk to Alex Lopez to load the bases with no outs . . . A bases loaded walk to Anthony Tulimero gave Houston the early lead . . . A wild pitch brought another run across the plate to give Houston a 2-0 first inning lead.

Rice tied the game almost immediately to reset the game going to the second inning.

Thomas Lyssy led off the top of the fourth inning by reaching base on an error by the Rice second baseman . . . One out later, Drew Bianco hammered a ball to the wall in deep right-center field to score Lyssy from first base . . . Arnold singled home Bianco to give Houston a 4-2 lead.

A leadoff walk to Ian McMillan started the top of the sixth inning . . . Bianco was hit by a pitch to put the first two Cougars batters of the inning on base with no outs . . . Arnold grounded out to second base to move both runners into scoring position . . . McMillan then scored on a wild pitch to give the Cougars a 5-4 lead.

Rice rallied for a run in the ninth to force the game into extra innings.

After two scoreless innings in extras, the Cougars offense delivered a three-run top of the twelfth inning to put the game away . . . Pinch-hitter Cary Arbolida walked with one out to get things started . . . Tulimero then reached base on catcher’s interference . . . Murray then pulled a single into left field as pinch-runner Brandon Burckel was moving with the pitch allowing him to cross the plate easily as the go ahead run . . . Nickens singled to plate Tulimero and the Cougars led by two runs . . . With runners on the corners, a pick-off attempt at first base allowed Murray to steal home for an 8-5 lead.

Owen Woodward came in to handle the bottom of the twelfth inning . . . After allowing a leadoff double, Woodward struck out the next two batters swinging and the final batter looking to strand the runner at second base and give Houston the Silver Glove Series for another year . . . Most of the 2,060 patrons had vacated Reckling Park as the ballgame ran 4 hours and 20 minutes.

The two teams combined to use 21 pitchers in the twelve inning midweek contest, the Cougars themselves used ten arms. In addition to Murray and Woodward, Houston pitched Graysen Drezek, Braedyn Cunningham, Ryan Dollar, Braden Forsyth, Dan Wright, Brendan O’Donnell, Maddux Miller, and Kyle Ayers . . . Only Wright and Ayers pitched more than two innings, with Ayers showing up clutch in the tenth and eleventh innings . . . Ayers got the win and improved to 2-1 this season and Woodward earned his fourth save this year.

Houston will host Wichita State at Schroeder Park this weekend for their second conference matchup of the season . . . The Cougars and the Shockers are tied for first place in the conference right now, so this weekend will create separation one way or the other . . . First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Late Lyssy Homer Lifts Houston Past UCF to Series Win

Thomas Lyssy bats in the eighth inning Sunday in Orlando

As the clock ticked down on Sunday in Orlando with a time rule in effect for travel plans, Houston used their final inning at-bat to reverse a two-run deficit and win 12-9 against UCF to take their fifth conference series of the season.

The Knights jumped out to an early 3-0 in the bottom of the first innings thanks in some measure to the gusty breezes blowing around Orlando.

Trailing by three in the top of the second inning, catcher Anthony Tulimero led off the inning with a single . . . One out later, Malachi Lott doubled to left-center field to get Houston on the board.

Drew Bianco singled to lead off the top of the third inning and then advanced to second base on a wild pitch before moving to third base on a ground out to third by Brandon Uhse . . .  Zach Arnold delivered a one out RBI single to left field to plate Bianco and make it 3-2 . . . Alex Lopez was walked to put runners at first and second base . . . Tulimero then grounded to third base with what looked to be a double play ball, but the throw from second base to first base was wide, allowing Tulimero to reach base while Arnold crossed home plate as the tying run.

In the top of the fourth inning, a Thomas Lyssy infield single put him at first base with one out . . . Ian McMillan then drove a ball the opposite way over the right field wall for a two-run home run and a 5-3 Houston lead.

Houston starter Cade Citelli did not benefit from the wild winds in Orlando on Sunday, but he gutted out a tough start and took the game into the fourth inning before being relieved by Dan Wright . . . Wright completed two important innings and allowed just one run, three of his six recorded outs were by strikeout.

With the game tied at five in the top of the fifth inning, Murray reached first base on a one-out walk . . . Lyssy singled into right field to move Murray over to third base . . . A failed pick-off attempt of Lyssy at first base saw Lyssy get into a rundown between first and second base, but he delayed being tagged long enough to allow Murray to steal home with the go-ahead run, and Lyssy reached second base safely after the ball was dropped by the Knights first baseman after he had seemingly applied the tag . . . Houston took the 6-5 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning.

Murray worked a walk to lead off the top of the seventh inning and then advanced to second base on a wild pitch . . . Cameron Nickens pinch-hit for Malachi Lott and dropped a single into right-center field to drive Murray home and cut the UCF lead by a run to 9-7. 

Still trailing by two runs in the top of the eighth inning, the Cougars offense went back to work . . . Arnold led off with a single and Lopez followed that with a walk . . . Murray was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out . . . Nickens singled to left field to drive in two runs to tie the game at nine, his second hit in as many innings to with three runs drive in.

Lyssy followed with a monster blast to right field, a three-run shot and the Cougars took a 12-9 lead . . . The home run was Lyssy’s third hit of the game in a 3-for-5 day, it was also the freshman’s first in a Houston uniform.

The four-hour game ended after the bottom of the eight inning due to time constraints after Murray struck out what would have been the tying run at the plate with two Knights runners on base . . . Murray pitched the final three innings for Houston and earned the win to improve to 3-0 this season.

Head Coach Todd Whitting was quick with praise for Lyssy after the game on Sunday.

“It is great to see Lyssy doing the most with his opportunity,” Whitting said. “He has been a huge bat for us in the last few weeks.”

“Proud of the boys grinding out a tough weekend against a very good UCF team,” Whitting added.

The comeback win gave Houston its fifth conference series win of the eight they will play this season . . . This was the third conference road series win and the second straight weekend with a conference series win on the road . . . The Cougars finish April with a record of 12-6.

The Cougars (25-19, 10-5) return to action on Wednesday when they will play Rice at Reckling Park in game two of the Silver Glove Series . . . Houston leads the Silver Glove Series 1-0 and can take home the trophy for another year with a win on Wednesday or the following week against Rice, also at Reckling Park, on May 10 . . . Rice was swept at home this weekend by Dallas Baptist . . . First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm on Wednesday.

Houston Wins Orlando Opener in 10 Innings

Malachi Lott led off for Houston against UCF on Friday night

Houston took the opener of their weekend conference series in Orlando with a 13-7 win over UCF on Friday in ten innings.

Houston only scored runs in three innings on Friday night, but they did it in bunches.

A two-out walk to Alex Lopez in the top of the first inning put a runner on base for catcher Anthony Tulimero . . . . Tulimero homered deep to left-center field and the Cougars took an early two-run lead.

Brandon Uhse (2-for-4) led off the top of the second inning with a home run to straight away center field . . . The flood gates opened after that.

Thomas Lyssy (3-for-5) immediately followed with a single, and then Ian McMillan doubled in front of a Drew Bianco single . . . A misplayed fielder’s choice on a grounder by Malachi Lott led to a run crossing the plate . . .  One out later Alex Lopez knocked a single to the opposite field to drive in Bianco and Lott and the Cougars led 7-0, chasing the Knights starting pitcher in just his second frame.

The Cougars did not score another run until the tenth inning.

Meanwhile, the Knights got four runs of their own in the bottom half of the second inning to keep the game close, trailing just 7-4 going to the third inning.

While Josh Ekness did not have his best night, he gave his teammates 5 2/3 innings on the mound and left just before a Knights two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning tied the game at seven . . . Ekness threw 121 pitches in the game.

Maddux Miller followed Ekness and tossed two innings allowing just one run . . . Brendan O’Donnell then followed Miller and tossed 1 1/3 innings with some tense moments, but he did not allow a run and stymied one potential game-winning threat.

In the top of the tenth innings, the Cougars started rolling once again . . . Tulimero led off the frame and was hit by a pitch . . . Justin Murray (3-for-5) followed with a single before both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch . . . Cameron Nickens was walked to load the bases in his first plate appearance of the game after replacing Uhse . . . Lyssy picked up his third hit of the night by punching a grounder through the drawn-in infield on the right side to drive in a run . . . Lott singled to left field to drive in two more Houston runs.

Zach Arnold then launched a 2-2 pitch out of the ballpark, over the Houston bullpen beyond the left field wall for a three-run home run and a 13-7 Cougars lead.

Murray took the mound for the ninth inning and he retired all three batters he faced on just thirteen pitches to close out the road victory and earn his sixth save of the season . . . O’Donnell was the winner and improved to 3-0 this season.

Houston had fifteen hits in the game and two batters walked and only left five runners on base . . . The Cougars pitching staff stranded nine Knights runners on base.

With Wichita State also winning on Friday night, the Cougars and the Shockers remain tied for the top spot in the conference standings, a full game ahead of East Carolina . . . Tulane and East Carolina had their game stopped due to the weather in the seventh inning with Tulane leading 9-6 . . . The Pirates and the Green Wave will attempt to finish the game on Saturday, before the two teams are scheduled to compete in a doubleheader . . . There is the potential for 21 innings of baseball in Greenville on Saturday.

Saturdays game between the Cougars and the Knights has been moved up to 11am CT because of the potential for bad weather in Orlando on Saturday night . . . While no pitcher has been announced yet, look for the Cougars to stick with what has worked since Paul Schmitz was sidelined and start Lott on the mound Saturday.

Lamar Edges Houston 4-2 in Final Home Midweek of 2023

Kyle Ayers started for Houston against Lamar on Tuesday night

Houston fell to Lamar 4-2 on Tuesday night at Schroeder Park in the last midweek game of the season on the Cougars home field.

After a single by Justin Murray to lead off the bottom of the second inning, the Cougars offense was hitless until Ian McMillan led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single of his own . . . One-out singles by Zach Arnold and Alex Lopez loaded the bases for Anthony Tulimero . . . Arnold and Lopez were both 1-for-2 with two walks against the Cardinals . . . Tulimero hit a sacrifice fly ball to left field to score McMillan and the Cougars deficit was cut in half 2-1.

Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Brandon Uhse was walked and moved to second base on catchers indifference . . . One out later, Thomas Lyssy (2-for-4) recorded his second hit of the ballgame, a double into the right field corner that brought Uhse across the plate as the Cougars second run in the game . . . Lyssy, who started the game at second base, was responsible for two of Houston’s six hits in the contest, and was the only Cougars hitter with multiple hits in the 4-2 loss.

Lamar threw a different pitch let at Houston in every inning of the ballgame, and used two pitchers in the dicey ninth inning, a total of ten arms that kept the Cougars lineup from getting comfortable with any one pitcher and never allowing a Houston batter to see the same Cardinals pitcher twice.

The Cougars got a nice start by Kyle Ayers, who took the game into the fourth inning and allowed just one run . . . Owen Woodward relieved Ayers in the fourth inning and threw 2 1/3 innings allowing a single run . . . Justin Murray took the mound with one out in the eighth inning and recorded the final five outs, retiring five of the six batters he faced.

Houston’s offense left eight runners on base, while the Cougars pitching staff stranded nine Cardinals runners on base.

Houston (23-18, 8-4) will now travel to Orlando to take on UCF in a weekend conference series . . . The Cougars are entering the second half of conference play having won all four of their previous conference series . . . First pitch on Friday night in Orlando will take place at 5pm.

Cougars Roll 11-1 Over Memphis, Take Series

Cade Citelli was on the mound Sunday in Memphis to close out the series

Houston took an early lead Sunday in Memphis and never let the Tigers into the game as the Cougars rolled to an 11-1 victory and road series win.

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Justin Murray (5-for-5) singled in the infield to drive in a run . . . With Murray then attempting to steal second base, the throw from the catcher sailed into center field allowing another run to score for a 2-0 lead before Memphis even got to the plate.

Murray led off the ninth inning with a home run deep to left-center field, his fifth hit of the game and his fifth home run of the season and the Houston lead was back up to ten runs, 11-1.

Owen Woodward handled the final three innings of work after taking over for Citelli . . . Woodward allowed just one hit, a solo home run, but was otherwise flawless as he struck out four Tigers batters . . . Citelli improved to 3-4 with the win and Woodward earned his third save of the season.

Head Coach Todd Whitting spoke of his teams resilience after the series win.

“I am proud of our guys for bouncing back and winning the series,” Whitting said. “Citelli set the tone on the mound and the offense once again showed up in a big way.”

Whitting added, “We have had as much adversity in regards to injuries as any team I have had but they continue to play gritty baseball with a next man up mentality.”

The Cougars return home for a Tuesday night midweek game against Lamar at Schroeder Park . . . Houston then heads to Orlando to play a second straight weekend road series, this time against UCF . . . First pitch Tuesday will be at 6:30pm.

Cougars Blank Tigers; Ekness, Miller Combine for Shutout

Houston blanked Memphis 8-0 on Friday night to open up the conference road series behind a strong start by Josh Ekness and the relief effort of Maddux Miller.

The Houston offense went right to work in the opening frame of Fridays game . . . Zach Arnold doubled to reach base with one out and Alex Lopez immediately followed with a two-run home run to right field to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

Drew Bianco (3-for-4) doubled home Brandon Burckel top of the second to make it 3-0 Houston.

Ekness left after six innings leading 8-0 having allowed just one hit to the Tigers.

Miller pitched the final three innings for Houston and did not allow the Tigers back into the game, giving up zero hits and zero run.

Houston and Memphis resume their series on Saturday with a first pitch scheduled for 4pm.

Cougars Fall Behind Early, Defeat Huskies 13-7

Houston hosted Houston Christian on Tuesday before a weekend road trip

Houston fell behind early to Houston Christian on Tuesday night at Schroeder Park but eventually took a 13-7 victory before hitting the road for a weekend of conference play.

Kyle Ayers took the mound in the first inning with the bases loaded and no outs and the Cougars already trailing 1-0 . . . A single scored two more runs, but a double-play and a fly out ended the inning with the Huskies staked to a 3-0 lead.

Houston wasted no time getting right back in the game . . . Malachi Lott was walked to lead off the bottom of the first inning and then stole second base . . . Zach Arnold (2-for-2) singled to drive in Lott . . . One out later, Anthony Tulimero (2-for-5) doubled into the left-field corner to drive in Lott and the Cougars were within a run going to the second inning, 3-2.

Ian McMillan led off the bottom of the second inning with a home run to left field to tie the game at three.

In the bottom of the third inning, two quick outs were followed by three consecutive walks and a hit-by-pitch which walked in a run . . . Brandon Uhse then hit a grand slam over the wall in left-center field to give Houston a 8-4 lead.

Ayers was replaced after four innings of really solid relief work in which he only allowed a run and struck out four Huskies batters.

Drew Bianco (2-for-3) led off the bottom of the fifth inning by hitting the first offering over the wall in left-center field, his fourth home run of the season, and Houston led 9-4.

Braedyn Cunningham followed Ayers on the mound and tossed three quality innings allowing just one run to get the game into the eighth inning . . . Braden Forsyth delivered another solid outing as well, throwing two scoreless frames allowing just a single base hit but facing the minimum by inducing a double-play ball.

Justin Murray extended his reached-base streak to 33 games with a RBI single in the seventh inning, and the single also pushed his hitting streak to 15 games.

Houston (21-16, 6-3) hits the road now for a conference series at Memphis this weekend . . . The Cougars do not play at Schroeder Park again until next Tuesday when they will host Lamar for a midweek before another weekend road series . . . First pitch this Friday in Memphis is scheduled for 6:00pm.