Cougars Rally But Drop Series at USF

Houston Cougars Baseball

Sunday’s rubber game between the University of South Florida Bulls and the Houston Cougars featured starting pitchers named late in the series and the Cougars coming off of an impressive 7-1 win on Saturday night, after a close loss on Friday night.

Ryan Randel ended up getting the Sunday start for the Cougars and he pitched reasonably well . . . Randel would allow two runs in four innings of work, and he would also strike out six batters . . . Sean Bretz relieved Randel in the fifth with runners on and was lights-out, hitting 95mph to stop the threat . . . And Bretz would go two more innings without allowing a run and keeping his team in the game.

Meanwhile, Alec Wisely was in command on Sunday as he went 6 2/3 innings and did not allow a run while giving up five hits and while allowing Cougars to reach base, he was not allowing them to cross home plate.

The Cougars would score all of their runs in the eighth inning after Tyler Bielamawocz and Joe Davis were hit on back-to-back pitches by USF reliever Nelson Alvarez . . . Derrick Cherry got a run home on an infield single and a throwing error . . . After a walk to Grayson Padgett loaded the bases, Rey Fuentes put a ball in play that the Bulls defense could not handle and the Cougars took a 3-2 lead on the fielders choice.

Devon Roedahl entered the game and pitched a perfect eighth . . . After a scoreless top half of the ninth for the Cougars, Fred Villarreal entered the game to try to shut the door . . . The Bulls would not quit, and after a pinch-hit leadoff single and a popped-up bunt for the only out of the inning, USF would get a walk-off homerun from Alex Bello to win the game 4-3.

Despite scoring three runs, the Cougars offense left runners on base in seven of the nine innings, eight in total . . . Kyle Lovelace was 2-for-3 on the afternoon, joining Brad Burckel as the only other Cougar with two hits . . . Five Cougars collected the seven hits on Sunday.

The Cougars are headed back to Houston now and will be off until Wednesday when they play Rice at Reckling Park . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm Wednesday evening. –

 

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Burckel’s Bat Leads Cougars to Win

Houston Cougars Baseball

The great game of baseball typically gives you a quick chance to put bad things behind and move forward without dwelling on the one that got away . . . The opportunity presented itself to the Houston Cougars in Tampa on Saturday night after losing a could-have-been opening game of their series with the Bulls of the University of South Florida.

For the second straight night the Cougars would score first, and in the second inning . . . In Saturday’s version, Rey Fuentes reached base on a one-out single . . . One out later, Brad Burckel hit a triple to right which scored Fuentes . . . Burckel would score on a wild pitch that did not get too far from the plate, but Burckel committed to going home and made it safely to give the Cougars and starter Clay Aguilar an early 2-0 lead.

Houston would add two runs to their lead in the fifth inning after Burckel led off the inning with his second consecutive extra base hit, this one a double down the third base line . . . After Kyle Lovelace sacrificed Burckel to third, Jared Triolo singled him home to put the Cougars up 3-0 . . . A Tyler Bielamowicz single and a wild pitch put runners on second and third for Joe Davis . . . Davis hit a sacrifice fly to score Triolo and make the score 4-0 . . . For Davis it gave him 50 RBI on the year.

The Bulls would not get a run off of Aguilar until the sixth inning when a leadoff double would eventually score, and despite a single, Aguilar got out of the inning holding on to a 4-1 lead.

Cougars added a run in the seventh when Derrick Cherry singled to center scoring Kyle Lovelace from second . . . When the Cougars are playing well, there is incredible balance in their lineup . . . Unlike Friday’s game where the Cougars lost and only had three batters get hits, on Saturday the lineup saw seven of the nine starters reach base with a hit, and four of the nine starters had at least one RBI.

Brad Burckel was not done yet . . . With Jonathan Thomas on first, Burckel hit a two-out homerun to right to make the score 7-1 . . . This left Burckel just a single shy of the cycle in the game . . . Not bad for your eight hitter.

Clay Aguilar went 6 2/3 innings allowing just one run on four hits and striking out five . . . Fred Villarreal recorded the final seven outs of the game after relieving Aguilar, going scoreless in 2 1/3 innings of relief work and locking down the 7-1 win for Aguilar, who improves to 5-3 on the year.

The Cougars and the Bulls conclude their series with a rubber game on Sunday, first pitch is at noon Houston time . . . Neither starting pitcher has been announced yet. –

 

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Cougars Drop Opener at USF, 5-3

Houston Cougars Baseball

The University of South Florida Bulls welcomed the Houston Cougars to Tampa, Florida on Friday night for the opening game of a weekend conference series.

Lael Lockhart Jr. got the Friday night start again and he looked crisp early, through the first two innings most of his pitches had been around the plate, many for strikes . . . Lockhart was also accumulating strikeouts early, when his night was done he had struck out eight.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard first, in the second inning after a one-out double by Rey Fuentes and a single by Derrick Cherry put two runners on when Kobe Hyland doubled to right field on an 0-2 pitch . . . Hyland’s double would be all the scoring in the inning as the Cougars took a 2-0 lead.

Derrick Cherry added to the score when he hit a one-out homerun to left-center in the fourth to put the Cougars up 3-0 . . . For Cherry it was his third homerun on the season and part of a 2-for-4 night.

The Bulls did not score a run until a one-out double in the fifth by Alex Bello scored a runner from first base . . . Lockhart seemed to be scuffling at the time as runners would end up on first and second with one out. But the inning would come to an end when Lockhart stuck out his eighth batter of the game and Kyle Lovelace would stop a steal attempt cold at third with a perfect throw and tag by Jared Triolo.

Lockhart would leave the game in the sixth with a 3-1 lead, but with two runners on base . . . Those two runners and one more Bull would score in the inning as USF took a 4-3 lead . . . Sean Bretz, in from the bullpen to relieve Lockhart, threw only nine pitches before being relieved himself by Devon Roedahl with a 2-2 count on a batter . . . Devon Roedahl eventually ended the inning after a fielder’s choice plated the fourth run for the Bulls.

Houston missed a prime scoring opportunity in the seventh when they could not get Kobe Hyland home from third after a triple led off the inning . . . After Brad Burckel reached first on a hit-by-pitch, Jared Triolo skied a ball to center, which looked like it would be a sacrifice fly to tie the game at four at the time . . . After the ball was caught, Hyland raced for home . . . Oddly, Burckel broke for second, and was thrown out at second before Hyland crossed the plate, so the double-play happened before the run scored and the inning ended that way.

The Bulls would add a run in the eighth on an Alex Bello two-out single to take a 5-3 lead into the ninth.

The Cougars went down quietly in the eighth and ninth . . . Houston did not score a run after the fourth and they only collected five hits in the game, one by Fuentes, two by both Cherry and Hyland.

The Cougars and the Bulls do battle again on Saturday at 5:30pm Houston time . . . Clay Aguilar is scheduled to make the start for the Cougars as they look to even this series. –

 

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Cougars Sweep Sam Houston St. Series

Jared Pettitte starts against Sam Houston St. Tuesday in Sugar Land. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Jared Pettitte starts against Sam Houston St. Tuesday in Sugar Land.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars and the Sam Houston State Bearkats took the final game of their three-game series on the road to Sugar Land on Tuesday night for a neutral site game . . . Having already played at Houston and at Huntsville this season, Constellation Field played host to the final game between the two schools this year . . . Having won the first two games of the series, Houston was going for the sweep on Tuesday night.

Jared Pettitte made his fifth appearance on the year for the Cougars, and his first since being hit on the arm by a hard come-backer to the mound on April 3. Pettitte made the start for the Cougars and showed signs of having not pitched in nearly three weeks, but he was also changing speeds well and getting good breaks on some pitches. 

Cougars offense is doing it lately by putting the ball in play, not by hitting the long ball, and that continued on Tuesday night as they scored nine runs on twelve hits . . . Seven of the nine starting Cougars recorded at least one base hit in the game, led by Derrick Cherry who was 3-for-4 and Joe Davis who was 3-for-5, Jared Triolo had yet another multi-hit game going 2-for-4, getting the action started in the first with a single before eventually scoring the Cougars first run, followed by his second single of the game in the second inning . . . Joe Davis and Tyler Bielamowicz each had 3 RBI in the game.

An explosive sixth inning put the Cougars in the lead and also put the game out of reach for the Bearkats . . . After an out to start the sixth, Houston had seven straight batters reach base, and six of them would score on either singles or walks.

Cougars pitching did not allow a run after the 4th inning . . . Sean Bretz took over for Jared Pettitte in the fourth and continued his outstanding recent run of scoreless innings, going three more scoreless innings on Tuesday only allowing a hit and striking out four Bearkats . . . Brayson Hurdsman was also good over two innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two . . . Devon Roedahl made quick work of the Bearkats in the ninth throwing just eight pitches, six for strikes . . . Sean Bretz got the win, his first of the season.

With the 9-3 victory, the Cougars secured the season sweep and improved their record to 25-16 with a win over a quality program.

The Cougars hit the road now to play the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida . . . That series starts Friday at 6pm Houston time. –

 

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Cougars Take Cincinnati Series in 8-4 Finale

Sean Bretz pitches in the 9th against Cincinnati on Saturday at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Sean Bretz pitches in the 9th against Cincinnati on Saturday.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats played a series-deciding game Saturday afternoon at Schroeder Park and the game could not have been played in a better atmosphere: occasional breezes, sunny sky, no clouds, and plenty of Cougars fans in the seats . . . The series would be decided after two straight low-scoring games setting up the final game.

The Cougars did not score in the first, but they did score first, in the second inning when Jared Triolo hit a two-out bases loaded single to left that put the Cougars up 2-0 . . . For Triolo that hit was part of a 3-for-4 3 RBI afternoon.

Houston chased Cincinnati starter Garrett Schoenle in the third inning after a Rey Fuentes walk and a single by Grayson Padgett, followed by a RBI single to left field by Tyler Bielamowicz . . . Brad Burckel would follow with a sharp grounder to short that could not be fielded cleanly, it was ruled a hit and it drove in the Cougars second run of the inning while the Cougars took a 4-1 lead.

Brayson Hurdsman started on the mound for the Cougars and went 2 2/3 innings . . . Hurdsman only allowed one run on five hits and struck out four . . . Carter Henry and Nolan Bond would be called on first out of the bullpen to keep the game moving . . . Devon Roedahl relieved Bond in the fifth to protect the 4-2 lead and worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

Houston padded its lead in the sixth when they scored three runs . . . It began with walks to Triolo, and Joe Davis. A fielder’s choice would erase Davis and put Jonathan Thomas at first. Thomas attempted to steal second, but as the throw went to second, Triolo broke for home from third . . . Cincinnati shortstop Joey Bellini cut the throw off short and tried to get Triolo at home, but Triolo scored and Thomas was safe at second . . . Then Padgett walked.

Tyler Bielamowicz appeared to end the sixth with a long fly out to center, but a balk had been called, so Tyler was not out and got to bat again, and Thomas scored from third on the balk . . . Bielamowicz then dropped a single in to center field for a run-scoring single to give the Cougars a 7-2 lead. 

The Cougars offense was  oddly limited in a game where they ultimately scored eight runs on eight hits . . . Bearcats pitching walked nine Cougars batters, and they struck out nine . . . Only four Cougar batters got the eight hits: Triolo had three, Padgett and Bielamowicz each had two, and Burckel had a single.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the seventh inning with a 7-2 lead . . . A single, a walk, and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Bearcats, but Villarreal made his pitches and got out of the inning unscathed, and he followed that with a scoreless eighth . . . Sean Bretz entered the game in the ninth to get the final two outs and hold on to the 8-4 lead . . . Bretz got two fly-outs to end the game and earn his first save, he retired both batters he faced . . . Devon Roedahl earned the win with his outing, he improves to 6-2 on the year.

For Houston, the series win helped improve their conference record to 8-7 and their overall record to 24-16.

The Cougars will be off Sunday and Monday and will return to action Tuesday night at 7pm in Sugar Land at Constellation Field. –

 

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Cougars Bounce Back, Win 3-1 Over Cincinnati

Kobe Hyland bats against Cincinnati on Friday at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Kobe Hyland bats against Cincinnati on Friday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

A very windy afternoon with a cloudless sky greeted the Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats for game two of their series Friday at Schroeder Park.

The ballgame got off to an ominous start as Clay Aguilar walked the leadoff batter. Then, he promptly picked-off the runner at first base for the first out of the game.

Part of the winning formula for Houston in recent weeks has included scoring runs early in the game . . . The Cougars returned to that formula on Friday when they jumped on Cincinnati starter Evan Shawver early . . . Jared Triolo worked a leadoff walk on seven pitches . . . Two outs later, Rey Fuentes lined a double all the way to the wall in right-center to score Triolo from first . . . Derrick Cherry hit the next pitch on the ground between the shortstop and the third baseman into left field, Fuentes was racing home from second and was going to beat any type of throw home, but the throw from left fielder Joey Wiemer was off and eventually ruled an error, which allowed Cherry to end up at second base.

The early 2-0 lead was just what the doctor ordered . . . Aguilar was able to pitch with a lead, he was changing speeds well, and he was getting his fastball high and low and got some ugly swings from Bearcat batters.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Evan Shawver was on his game, after the run-scoring first inning, Shawver struck out eight Cougar batters and had 1-2-3 innings fives times in the game in his seven innings of work.

Houston only had five hits in the game, two of them by Kyle Lovelace in a 2-for-3 performance that raised his batting average again, he now sits at .232 on the year, a marked improvement over where he was just two weeks ago, and he is batting .313 in conference play this season.

Clay Aguilar went 6 1/3 innings allowing just one run on six hits while striking out five . . . Sean Bretz entered the game to relieve Aguilar and serve as a bridge to getting the ball to Fred Villarreal . . . Bretz was clocking 94mph as he worked a scoreless 2/3 of an inning to get the Cougars out of the seventh . . . Villarreal started the eighth as he was once again called upon to get six outs on his way to a save.

The two runs in the first would be all the Cougars would get until they tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth in what could have been an explosive inning after Jared Triolo was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs . . . The Cougars settled for one run on a ground-out to short by Grayson Padgett which plated Lovelace from third to give Houston a 3-1 lead.

Over his two innings of work, Fred Villarreal struck out two and only allowed one hit in earning his ninth save on the season . . . Clay Aguilar picked up his fourth win of the year with his performance . . . The Cougars evened their conference record at 7-7 with the 3-1 victory.

The Cougars and the Bearcats conclude their weekend series with a rubber game Saturday at 1pm at Schroeder Park. An Easter egg hunt for the kids follows the game, so get to the ballpark on Saturday and bring the kids. –

 

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Cougars Drop Close Game to Cincy, 3-2

Houston Cougars vs Cincinnati Bearcats 4-18-2019
The Cougars bat against Cincinnati on Thursday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Cincinnati Bearcats arrived in Houston playing better than their current record of 17-19 would indicate . . . Thursday’s conference match-up at Schroeder Park featured Lael Lockhart Jr. with his 3.20 ERA, which placed him fifth best in the conference, on the mound for Houston.

Bearcats starter David Orndorff was perfect thru three innings. Jared Triolo got the Cougars first base hit of the game to lead off the fourth, but Orndorff was in control and would not only get out of the inning, but would then follow with a perfect fifth . . . For Triolo it was his second of three hits in the game.

In their half of the fifth, the Bearcats capitalized on a tiring Lockhart elevating his pitch count and putting runners on base . . . The Cougar went to the bullpen in favor of Devon Roedahl with two runners on and two outs . . . Bearcats cleanup hitter Joey Wiemer hit the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a three-run homerun . . . It was all the offense Cincinnati would get, and it was all they needed.

Roedahl was really effective after that homerun, going 4 1/3 allowing only one other hit and striking out three . . . Roedahl did throw 59 pitches in his Thursday outing, so his availability for the rest of the series could be limited . . . The other side of that coin is that the entire rest of the bullpen is rested since Roedahl was the only pitched used on Thursday.

The sixth inning offered promise for the Cougars offense after Brad Burckel led off the inning with a base hit to center, and Kyle Lovelace hit the next pitch to center for a base hit . . . Jared Triolo skied a fly ball to left that continued to carry all the way to warning track, the left-fielder was unable to make the play and Brad Burckel was able to score from second . . . Two batters later, Joe Davis would receive one of his two intentional walks in the game and that would be all the Cougars would score in the inning.

Orndorff went eight innings only allowing that run in the sixth . . . Bearcats reliever Korren Thompson entered the game in the ninth to attempt to get the final three outs . . . The Cougars mounted a rally, getting four singles in the inning, including Joe Davis’ only hit of the game to lead off the inning after two intentional walks in the fourth and sixth . . . Derrick Cherry’s only hit of the game would drive in the Cougars only run in ninth as Thompson closed it out and saved the 3-2 victory for Orndorff.

The Cougars and the Bearcats return tomorrow for game two of their three game series. First pitch at Schroeder Park is at 6:30pm. –

 

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