In order to extend their current winning streak to five games, the Houston Cougars would need to take down the #7 Texas A&M Aggies at Schroeder Park on Tuesday night . . . A tall order indeed.
Houston got off to another early start Tuesday night, something they have been doing often recently. It began with Jared Triolo hitting the first pitch of the game from Aggies starter Chandler Jozwiak into center field for a base hit . . . Blake Way then followed that with a double that went to the wall in right-center and plated Triolo all the way from first . . . Four batters later, Derrick Cherry hit a two-out single to score Way from second and give the Cougars an early 2-0 lead . . . Cherry would go 3-for-4 in the game, adding a single in the sixth and a double in the eighth.
The Cougars would add another run in the second to take a 3-0 lead.
Texas A&M went to their bullpen to start the third inning . . . A bevy of Aggies pitchers would keep the Cougars scoreless until the seventh when catcher Kyle Lovelace scored from third on a wild pitch after reaching base on a leadoff single, his second hit of the game, part of a 2-for-4 night that also continued to help Lovelace raise his average to .211 on the year.
Ryan Randel was cruising from the start . . . The Aggies got their first baserunner in the third on a defensive error, one pitch later Randel got a 4-6-3 double-play and the inning was over . . . Ryan faced the minimum in each of the first five innings and did not surrender his first hit until the sixth inning . . . Randel started to fade in the seventh after a walk and a single and the Cougars went to the bullpen with the two runners on base and one out . . . Randel’s 6 1/3 innings with one run allowed on two hits was a welcome sight after his last couple of short outings.
Sean Bretz entered the game and on the second pitch induced a bouncer to third, Jared Triolo made an incredible grab and threw home quickly to get the runner from third trying to score . . . Two pitches later, Bretz got another grounder, this one to first baseman Joe Davis who ranged to his right to field it, and then raced the runner to first for the third out of the inning . . . Four pitches, two outs, inning done, momentum stopped.
Sean Bretz took the mound again in the eighth with the Cougars leading 4-1 and got the side down in order with two strikeouts and an outstanding defensive play by Jared Triolo at third when he played a bounce perfectly on a ground ball by A&M’s Brett Brown for the second out . . . Bretz went 1 2/3 scoreless without allowing run and only allowing two hits.
Fred Villarreal entered the game in the ninth to slam the door on the Aggies . . . Villarreal hit the leadoff batter, but he got the next three batters in order as he was hitting 91-92mph and struck out Aggie clean-up hitter Mikey Hoehner for the final out before a crowd just shy of 3,000 . . . For Villarreal the 4-1 victory was his eighth save of the season, for Randel it was his third win on the season.
The light bullpen usage of only two pitchers on Tuesday night should mean a rested and ready bullpen for their upcoming series which begins Thursday this week instead of Friday.
The Cougars will welcome the Cincinnati Bearcats for the weekend series, but the schedule is slightly different than usual because of the Easter holiday . . . There is no game on Sunday and instead the series begins on Thursday . . . Thursday and Friday, first pitch is at 6:30, and Saturday the game starts at 1pm. –