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. –