For the second night in a row, the Houston Cougars would need their final at bat to claim victory . . . Houston catcher Kyle Lovelace would be the final inning hero on this night, driving in the game-winning run on a two-out hit up the middle.
Right-hander Ryan Randel took the mound for the Cougars on a muggy Saturday night on campus . . . The first four innings only took an hour as the game sped along, helped by a minimal number of baserunners for both teams, and those that did reach base tended to be caught stealing or to be part of a double play . . . To say the two teams combined for a total of three hits in those first four innings is a slight illusion, as Northwestern State had all three of the hits to that point.
The Demons had a fine scoring opportunity in the fifth after a walked batter and a hit by pitch might have suggested Randel was losing a little control at least or tiring out at worst, but the next batter struck out swinging to bring the inning to an end and keep the game scoreless . . . The Cougars meanwhile were hitless through four, finally getting their first base hit in the fifth when Friday night hero Kobe Hyland finally broke through only to be erased a few pitches later when he was caught stealing.
Randel would exit the game in the sixth after a leadoff hit was followed by a walked batter. Things came unraveled at that point as the Cougars allowed three runs in the inning.
The Cougars would stage a comeback starting in the sixth when Friday night starting pitcher Tyler Bielamowicz would hit a two-run homerun after a two out base hit by Houston catcher Kyle Lovelace . . . The homerun finally chased Demons starting pitcher Jerry Maddox from the game. Maddox had been very sharp to that point.
The home seventh for the Cougars would even the game . . . Jared Triolo singled, followed by a Joe Davis walk. Pinch hitter Landon Etzel moved the runners up on a sacrifice bunt, then Kobe Hyland would hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield and a fielders choice at home was not in time as the Coogs tied the game at three. Brad Burckel would put the hometown nine on top with a single to drive in their fourth run of the game.
The Demons tied the game at four in the eighth and that score would hold until Kyle Lovelace’s single up the middle would send the crowd home happy.
The Cougars and the Demons conclude their opening weekend series Sunday at 1pm as the Cougars go for the sweep, the weather should about perfect, so get to the ballpark, root for our Cougars, and bring your brooms.