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.