Cougars Take Finale in Memphis 4-3

Houston Cougars Baseball

For a while, it looked as though the Houston Cougars were doomed in Memphis this weekend . . . The offense was struggling, the defense lost seemingly easy fly balls in the sun which would lead to runs, and having lost both games of a double-header two days before, it was easy to assume the worst.

Nolan Bond got the Sunday start for Houston, only his second start of the season . . . His day ended in the fifth as he exited the game with the Cougars trailing, but still with the game within reach . . . Sean Bretz would be the first of five relief pitchers out of the bullpen in this game . . . Bretz was relieved two outs later by Tristen Bayless who got out of the inning, but the Cougars were down 3-0 and it would remain that way until the seventh.

Rey Fuentes was brought off the bench to lead off the seventh inning . . . Fuentes hit a homerun over the wall in right-center to get the Coogs on the board . . . The offense was not done in the inning though, Brad Burckel and Jonathan Thomas would both walk and Jared Triolo would bring Burckel home on a single, but Triolo was thrown out trying to get to second on the play, so the inning ended there with Memphis still leading 3-2.

Meanwhile, the Cougar bullpen was shutting down the Memphis offense . . . Brayson Hurdsman pitched an important 1 2/3 innings before being relieved by Devon Roedahl for 1 1/3 innings himself.

Houston would manufacture two more runs in the top of the eighth, one of which was Kobe Hyland scoring from first on a Joe Davis double to the wall in right-center to tie the game at 3 . . . Davis would score later on a fielders choice play at the plate that got away from Memphis catcher Jason Santana.

With the Cougars leading 4-3, Devon Roedahl made quick work of the Tigers 4-5-6 spots in the lineup to finish the eighth . . . After a scoreless Cougars half of the inning, Fred Villarreal was called in to slam the door shut on Memphis in the ninth, and he did just that . . . Villarreal retired all three batters he faced to secure the 4-3 road win for the Cougars, earning his fifth save of the year.

The Cougars are now off on Monday and they will be in Beaumont on Tuesday to take on Lamar before returning to Schroeder Park on Wednesday night. –

 

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Friday Twin Bill Goes to Memphis

Houston Cougars Baseball

Possible bad weather on Saturday in Memphis led to the moving of that game to Friday, which meant two games Friday at FedEx Park ahead of the weather . . . The Memphis Tigers grabbed big early leads in both games and that created situations where the Cougars had to come back from big deficits to make the games competitive.

This was made more difficult by facing a very good and effective Friday starter in Hunter Smith in game one . . . Smith would go eight innings and throw 117 pitches while striking out nine Cougars batters and only allowing three earned runs.

Devon Roedahl entered the game in the fifth to relieve starting pitcher Lael Lockhart Jr., and he was quite good, going the final 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball only allowing one hit.

Jared Triolo hit a solo homerun in the sixth, the Cougars first run of the game, as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon in game one . . . Brad Burckel, hitting in the eight spot, went 2-for-3 with a walk . . . Derrick Cherry hit a two-out two-run homerun to left-center in the eighth to make the score 7-3, and that would be the final score.

A grand slam in the first inning of game two once again had the Cougars playing from behind . . . But Joe Davis got the Cougars on the board and back in the game in the third with a three-run blast to center field . . . Kobe Hyland got in on the act in the sixth when he hit his third homerun of the season over the right field wall to tie the game at 4-4.

Ryan Randel settled in after the first inning and turned in a very good 5 2/3 innings pitched leaving in the sixth inning with the game tied . . . When he exited he had put runners on the corners and Nolan Bond inherited that situation . . . Two pitches later Bond had done his job, stranding both runners.

Memphis would get to Fred Villarreal in the bottom of the eighth for two runs and that would be enough to take game two on the day as the Cougars fell 6-4.

The Cougars and the Tigers will have a day off on Saturday and will face off again on Sunday at 1pm. –

 

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Bats Alive as UH Scores 16 Runs in Victory

Houston Cougars offense on the scorecard vs Stephen F. Austin. Photo and scorecard by Cougars Beat.
Houston Cougars offense on the scorecard.
Photo and scorecard by Cougars Beat.

Offense.

Lots of it.

That describes what took place in Nacogdoches, Texas on Wednesday afternoon as the Houston Cougars paid a visit to the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks . . . There was so much offense in fact, that the game was done after just seven innings.

Six pitches into the game, the Cougars already had one run . . . The seventh pitch was to Joe Davis who launched it for a two-run homerun . . . The top of the lineup would set the table again in the second, and Davis would power another homerun, this one of the three-run variety . . . This was the beginning of a four hit, six RBI game for Davis.

Jared Pettitte got the start for the Cougars, the first of his career and only his third appearance all season . . . In what looked to be a good day to give a lot of guys an opportunity to get some work in, especially some guys that have seen much or any extensive action in a while, Pettitte was relieved in the second inning to make way for Carter Henry.

Grayson Padgett was not to be outdone by Davis on the hit count, as he also collected four hits on a perfect 4-for-4 afternoon . . . Every spot in the lineup scored at least once as the Coogs knocked out seventeen hits in just seven innings of work.

When all was said and done, the Cougars offense had put up sixteen runs and the pitching had only allowed one, so the ten-run rule was put into play and the game ended after the seventh inning.

This was the second win in the last 19 hours for the Cougars . . . Jared Pettitte got his first career win in this one . . . The bullpen saw four pitchers get some work in, including Tyler Bielamowicz who went 2 1/3 innings and Spencer Hynes who went 2 innings . . . In all, the pitching only allowed four hits to the Lumberjacks in the shortened game.

The Cougars now have a day off as they head to Memphis where they will take on the Tigers in a three game weekend series starting Friday night. –

 

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Clay Aguilar Leads Cougars Past Bearkats

Clay Aguilar and the Houston Cougars face Sam Houston State Bearkats Tuesday night. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Clay Aguilar and the Cougars face Sam Houston St. Tuesday night.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars and the Sam Houston State Bearkats played a fast game on Tuesday night at Schroeder Park, the result of only three runs and nine hits combined . . . The Bearkats entered the game with a record of 15-6 and a team batting average of .303 . . . Clay Aguilar was not interested in any of that, however . . . The Bearkats were not going to ruin Clay’s birthday.

Jonathan Thomas got the scoring started in the second with an RBI single to bring home Derrick Cherry who had powered his way on base with a leadoff double to right-center.

Clay Aguilar was effective all night, he had the Bearkats batters completely off balance and they were not able to put much together . . . Clay’s pitching game was so complete he even picked-off a runner at first in the fourth.

Jared Triolo drove in the Cougars second and final run of the evening with a hard hit ball past the Bearkats third baseman driving in Brad Burckel for an RBI in fifth to give Aguilar a 2-0 lead . . . Aguilar would yield his one and only run in sixth when the Bearkats took advantage of a leadoff hit-by-pitch, then they moved the runner around until he scored on a single by right-fielder Jordan Cannon.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the eighth inning, and as has been the case more often than not, he shut the door . . . The Bearkats would get one hit in the final two innings as Villarreal was mixing speeds well and his fastball was clocking 91 . . . Fred lowered his ERA to .091 (to match his fastball?) as he earned his fourth save on the season . . . Aguilar picked up his second win of the year and got his own ERA down to 2.86.

The 2-1 win for the Cougars marked the 300th win in the career of head coach Todd Whitting.

The Cougars hit the road tomorrow for a game in Nacogdoches against Stephen F. Austin at 2pm before heading to Memphis for a three game weekend series. –

 

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Cougars Drop Series Finale to UConn

The Houston Cougars and UConn conclude their series Sunday. Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.
The Houston Cougars and UConn conclude their series Sunday.
Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.

Sunday did not go according to plan at Schroeder Park as the Houston Cougars and the Connecticut Huskies played the rubber game of their weekend series.

Starting pitcher Devon Roedahl had a rough go of things in the third, not helped by two errors on the left side of his infield, in addition to two hits and a walk in the inning . . . He would exit the game with the Cougars down 6-1.

Derrick Cherry was one of the bright spots in the Sunday loss . . . Hitting in the clean-up spot Cherry connected on a no-doubt homerun to left field to lead off the second inning, the first of his collegiate career . . . He also hit a single in the eighth . . . This follows his Saturday night performance where he doubled to clear the bases, all good signs.

UConn starting pitcher Jimmy Wang did enough to use the big lead his offense staked him to throw strikes and let his defense work behind him . . . Wang did allow three runs, but that was as close as the Cougars would get as the Huskies bullpen went the final 4 2/3 innings throwing scoreless baseball.

Brad Burckel, batting in the eight spot, led off both the third and fifth innings with a double in a 2-for-3 day at the plate . . . Burckel would score both times he was on base, accounting for two of the Cougars three runs on the afternoon.

Brayson Hurdsman was terrific out of the bullpen, relieving Roedahl in the third and going four strong innings, only allowing a run on three hits while striking-out four.

Cougars catcher Kyle Lovelace had a great day behind the plate, highlighted by two plays at third base, one a caught stealing from second to third, and another a pick-off of a runner taking a generous extra few steps with the pitch, Lovelace snapped a throw to Jared Triolo at third who was able to get a tag down on the would-be runner.

Left-hander Jared Pettitte saw action for the second time this season, and he struck out both batters he faced, entering the game with a runner on first.

The early deficit was too much to make up though and the Cougars fell 9-3 as UConn took the first series in conference play this season.

Houston will now have a day off before hosting Sam Houston State at Schroeder Park on Tuesday evening at 6:30pm. –

 

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Cougars End Skid, Top UConn 5-4

Ryan Randel warms up to face UConn Saturday at Schroeder Park. Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.
Ryan Randel warms up to face UConn Saturday at Schroeder Park.
Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.

The Houston Cougars righted the ship on Saturday night at Schroeder Park behind good pitching and one offensive inning against the Connecticut Huskies . . . Having dropped game one on Friday night, the Cougars not only needed some offense, but they needed a win.

Right-hander Ryan Randel was on the mound Saturday night . . . Randel had a difficult first inning in which the Huskies plated three runs, but he rebounded nicely and faced only three batters per inning over the next three innings.

Houston missed a grand opportunity in the second when they loaded the bases with three straight singles, but it was to no avail as UConn starter Jeff Kersten would strike out two and get a ground ball out to escape the inning.

But Kersten’s night would come to an end in the fourth inning when the Cougars offense exploded . . . The big blow was off the bat of Derrick Cherry when he hit a laser to left field to clear the bases, there was a play at home on Grayson Padgett, but the ball slipped past the catcher and Cherry was standing on second with a double, his first collegiate hit and RBI . . . The Coogs would send eleven batters to the plate in the inning as they took a 5-3 lead.

The Huskies would get a run back in the fifth and in the process would chase Randel from the game . . . Nolan Bond would relieve Randel with runners on the corners. Bond walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, but the Cougars would get out of the inning with a ground ball to shortstop . . . After a difficult first inning, Randel settled in and left the game with his team leading 5-4.

Bond got a 1-2-3 sixth with the help of a couple of consecutive defensive gems by third sacker Jared Triolo, then he faced just three batters in the seventh with another defensive gem behind him when Brad Burckel made a leaping snag of a line drive and was able to recover quickly enough to double-up the runner who was on first.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the eighth and retired all six batters he faced to help the Cougars secure the 5-4 victory . . . Villarreal was incredibly efficient throwing eighteen pitches to get his six outs and earn his third save of the season while lowering his ERA to .98 . . . Nolan Bond earned the win for his solid effort, his first win on the year . . . Together, Bond and Villarreal pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball.

The Cougars and the Huskies conclude their series with a rubber game on Sunday at Schroeder Park . . . Please note an earlier than usual start time for a Sunday (or any day) of 11:30am.

 

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Cougars Come Up Short Against UConn

Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UConn Friday night at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UConn Friday night at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars opened conference play on Friday night when they played host to the Connecticut Huskies . . . Offense was difficult to come by for both teams in the conference opener thanks to both starting pitchers and all of three relievers between the two teams.

Lael Lockhart Jr. got the Friday night start again, a role he has settled into nicely it would appear . . . The fourth inning proved the decisive one after Lockhart got the batters down in order in the very quick second and third innings . . . Two errors would lead to two unearned runs, the only two runs UConn scored on the night.

UConn starter Mason Feole was difficult to figure out on Friday night . . . At one point he threw a fastball at 91, the next pitch changed speed and was clocked at 73 . . . Feole’s mix of speed and control had him sailing in his seven innings of work.

The Cougars offense put their lone run on the board in the seventh when Kobe Hyland led off the inning with a double and would score on some small-ball and some miscues by the UConn defense.

When Lockhart left in the eighth, reliever Fred Villarreal came in to record the final 1 2/3 innings, he retired all five batters he faced in another stellar relief appearance this season.

UConn went to their bullpen twice, but it was their third pitcher, Jacob Wallace, who really closed the door . . . Wallace clocked in at 97 in striking out Joe Davis to end the eighth and would get the Coogs out in order in the ninth . . . The Cougars matched UConn with four hits in the game, but UConn scored that one extra run and held on for a 2-1 win.

The Cougars and the Huskies return to action at 6:30 on Saturday night at Schroeder Park.

 

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Cougars Shutout in 1-0 Road Finale

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The Houston Cougars and McNeese State Cowboys locked up in a a classic ballgame Tuesday in Lake Charles, Louisiana . . . If you stopped watching the game after the first inning, you would not believe the final score.

Clay Aguilar got the Tuesday start and he was shaky out of the box . . . The first batter walked, the next one singled, the next was hit by a pitch to load the bases before an out was recorded . . . The damage would be limited though, to just one run . . . It would be the only run of the entire game for either team.

Aguilar was very good after that shaky first and did not deserve the loss for that performance, turning in four solid innings of work . . . Right-hander Sean Bretz came into the game in the fifth and pitched four scoreless innings, a great performance in his own right . . . Bretz did not give up a hit and walked two batters, but his outing was a welcome sight.

The Cowboys offense is no slouch either. Just last month when McNeese visited Schroeder Park they put up 13 runs, granted it took fourteen innings, but offense is offense, and they were limited to a single run on Tuesday night.

A somewhat scary and bizarre incident took place in the fourth inning when Cowboys first baseman Jacob Stracner singled to right field . . . Cowboys right fielder Jake Dickerson tried to score from second on the hit, but Lael Lockhart Jr. got a throw to Coogs catcher Kyle Lovelace in plenty of time . . . Dickerson rolled into Lovelace violently and awkwardly enough that home plate umpire Ron Teague wasted no time tossing Dickerson from the game . . . Lovelace remained down for a moment, but he was able to get off the field and he caught the rest of the game.

The Cougars offense could not muster much of anything in the game, Grayson Padgett accounted for the teams two hits on the night, a double in the first to leadoff the game and a single in the fifth . . . The Coogs would threaten, loading the bases themselves in the first, but they came away with nothing . . . The Cougars would also leave six runners on base for the game, a glaring stat when a team loses 1-0.

So, the Cougars head back home now and await the Connecticut Huskies who will be in town for the first conference series of the season . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm Friday night at Schroeder Park.

 

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DBU Takes Series Finale as Coogs Fall 8-4

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The Houston Cougars went for the sweep Sunday afternoon in the final game of their three game series with the Patriots of Dallas Baptist University . . . They were well position going in, facing a pitcher in Zach Heaton getting his first career college start.

Meanwhile, Ryan Randel missed his Saturday start yesterday due to an apparent illness, so he got pushed back a day to Sunday, and he was outstanding.

The only scoring for the Cougars on Sunday came in the sixth inning . . . Lael Lockhart Jr. got on base first when he was hit by a pitch . . . Jared Triolo then doubled to put runners at second and third . . . Joe Davis then lined the first pitch he saw from DBU reliever Jarod Bayless over the fence in left-center for a three run homerun . . . Two batters later Kobe Hyland would hit a solo homerun to right and the Coogs had a 4-2 lead.

Randel went six innings allowing just two runs, one run was scored on a triple that easily could have been an out, but Blake Way lost the ball on the warning track looking up into the sun . . . Randel did walk four batters and just over half of his 91 pitches were for strikes, the illness or the extra day off may have contributed to the loss of command, but he left the game with his team leading 4-2 and you cannot expect more than that.

Houston’s bullpen was not able to hold off DBU in the two innings after Randel exited, as they gave up six runs . . . In fact six of the thirteen batters the bullpen faced would score in the final two frames to give DBU a 8-4 lead.

The Cougars offense struggled in the final three innings, with the only base hit coming when Lael Lockhart Jr. hit a double to lead off the eighth, but he would be stranded at third when the inning ended.

The Cougars continue their road trip and will play McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Tuesday afternoon at 6pm before returning home for a conference series with Connecticut next weekend.

 

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Cougars Shutout Dallas Baptist 2-0, Win Series

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Two days, two different paths, but the same outcome could define the first two games of the weekend series in Dallas as the Houston Cougars continue their visit with the Patriots of Dallas Baptist University . . . Friday night the two teams combined for fourteen runs over four and a half hours, a game the Cougars ultimately won by doing all their scoring in the final three innings . . . Saturday afternoon the two teams combined for two runs in a game that did not last three hours, and both runs were scored in the final two innings.

Nolan Bond got his first start of the season Saturday afternoon . . . Bond shut down a strong Patriots team over 5 2/3 innings allowing just two hits and no runs . . . Bond did walk four, which helped contribute to a high pitch count, but he was not hurt by the walks and turned in an overall tremendous outing, one worthy of a win.

The game was mostly quiet thru seven innings, delayed twice by official reviews.

Scoreless going into the eighth . . . The Cougars would break through in their half of the inning when Craig Yoho scored from third on a perfect bunt single toward third base by Grayson Padgett . . . Padgett’s speed caused the Partiots third baseman to rush his throw to first, the errant throw allowed Padgett to move to second, where he would still be when the inning ended with the Cougars up 1-0.

Jared Triolo would add his second homerun of the season in the top of the ninth to lead off the inning on the first pitch he saw from new DBU reliever Kragen Kechely.

Fred Villarreal did not relieve Bond, but he did record the final 3 1/3 innings and he was awarded the win for his effort . . . Villarreal had appeared in the Friday night game and did not look comfortable, he looked much more in command on Saturday and recorded quick outs to nail down the 2-0 shutout for the Cougars.

The win was the Cougars sixth in a row and secured yet another series win in the process.

The final game of this weekend series in Dallas with the Patriots concludes Sunday afternoon at 1pm as the Cougars go for the sweep.

 

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