Lockhart Jr., Davis Power Cougars in Wichita

Houston Cougars Baseball

Lael Lockhart Jr. did not start the season as the Friday night starter, he initially started out as the Sunday starter and took over on Fridays when an injury sidelined Tyler Bielamowicz . . . Joe Davis has been hitting homeruns all year . . . Lockhart Jr. continues to impress as the Friday night starter, getting quality wins over quality teams, and Joe Davis continues to be integral to the Houston offense.

Friday night in Wichita, Kansas could be summed up by looking at what Lockhart and Davis and drawing your own conclusion . . . The Cougars are taking on the Wichita State Shockers in another weekend of conference play.

The action started early on Friday night. Jared Triolo got the game started with a leadoff double, one out later with Triolo still on second, the Shockers walked Joe Davis . . . Two straight singles, one by Rey Fuentes and another by Tyler Bielamowicz scored Triolo and Davis and by the end of the inning Houston was leading 2-0.

In Davis’ next at-bat, he flew out . . . His next three at-bats consisted of a two-run homerun over a monster scoreboard in left, a three-run homerun to center, and a single to give Davis a 3-for-4 night with 5 RBI.

In between, the Cougars were scoring eight other runs not driven in by Davis, and Lael Lockhart Jr. was limiting the Shockers to one unearned run while striking out nine over six innings of really quality work as it would seem Lockhart has claimed the Friday spot as his own after last weeks shutout performance against ECU and the game against the Shockers Friday night.

The Cougars offense was really complete on Friday night, pounding out sixteen hits . . . Houston scored a run in seven of the nine innings . . . Tyler Bielamowicz was 3-for-4 and one of seven players in the game with at least one RBI . . . Kyle Lovelace and Brad Burckel both hit triples.

Rey Fuentes had a double and a walk in his two at-bats immediately after the Joe Davis homeruns, that’s in addition to a single after Davis was intentionally walked in the first . . . That kind of production behind Davis is going to give someone, either Davis or the batter after him, a chance to hit and drive in runs in the middle of the order.

For Lael Lockhart Jr. the 13-5 victory was his third win of the season and he lowered his ERA to 2.86 on the year . . . Three Cougars pitchers appeared out of the bullpen to get the final nine outs, they allowed just two earned runs and struck out three Shockers batters.

The Cougars and the Shockers return to action Saturday afternoon at 2pm in Wichita as the Cougars look to take the series. –

 

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Cougars Win Slugfest in Huntsville 12-7

 

Houston Cougars Baseball

Two weeks ago to the day, the Houston Cougars and the Sam Houston State Bearkats hooked up in a classic 2-1 ballgame at Schroeder Park . . . It would not have been unreasonable to expect the same type of result when the Cougars traveled to Huntsville on Tuesday night . . . Instead, the two teams combined for nineteen runs between them.

The Cougars scored a run in the top of the first, the Bearkats countered with two runs of their own. The Cougars then pounded out seven runs in the top of the second and were leading 8-2. The Bearkats got three back in the bottom of the third . . . It was that kind of night.

When the Cougars scored eight runs in the first two innings, it easy to assume Joe Davis was in the middle of the mayhem . . . In this case, that would be wrong. The Cougars did their damage despite the fact that Davis was intentionally walked in one at-bat and harmlessly flied out to center field in the other at-bat, though he did see twelve pitches in the at-bat.

Joe Davis would get in on the act later on with one out in the fourth when he hit his fourteenth homerun of the season, part of a 2-for-4 night for the Cougars first baseman . . . Jared Triolo also hit a homerun in going 3-for-6, as did Tyler Bielamowicz in a 3-for-5 night, and Kobe Hyland got the scoring started in the second with a solo homerun to lead off the inning.

Devon Roedahl came in to the game in the fifth to relieve Brayson Hurdsman and provided a very good outing that stopped the Bearkats from scoring, and as importantly, bridged the Cougars from the fifth until it was time for Fred Villarreal to go to work in the eighth . . . Villarreal got the final five outs by throwing seventeen pitches, fourteen of them for strikes . . . The 12-7 lead was too big for a save, otherwise Villarreal would have another one to his credit

The Bearkats did not score after the fifth, and they only got three of their eleven hits in the final four frames . . . The Cougars pitching staff only walked two batters in the game . . . Houston only used four pitchers on the night, compared to the nine that Sam Houston St. used, so there are plenty of fresh arms left for this weekend.

The Cougars continue their road trip now and head up to Wichita, Kansas where they will take on the Wichita State Shockers in a three game weekend series . . . First pitch from Wichita is at 6pm on Friday. –

 

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Cougars Drop Two to ECU

Houston's Sean Bretz delivers a pitch against ECU Saturday. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Houston’s Sean Bretz delivers a pitch against ECU Saturday.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

After being shutout 2-0 on Friday, ECU with their national ranking and potent offense came out firing on all cylinders in game one on Saturday at Schroeder Park . . . First baseman Spencer Brickhouse hit a two-run homerun in the top of the first, and he would follow that with a grand slam in the sixth . . . Brickhouse left the game after the sixth with 6 RBI . . . The Pirates offense pounded out fourteen hits and benefitted from ten walks on their way to scoring fifteen runs.

Friday night pitching hero Lael Lockhart Jr. hit an opposite-field solo homerun for the Cougars first run of the game in the fourth inning . . . Tyler Bielamowicz hit a two-out RBI double in the fifth to score Thomas . . . Jared Triolo’s seventh inning sacrifice fly RBI was the third and final run for the Cougars.

There was not much else in the way of offense for Houston on the afternoon as ECU starter Tyler Smith was in command in his five innings of work where he struck out five and allowed the only two runs the Cougars would score in the game . . . Jonathan Thomas was 2-for-2 in the early game, the only Cougar with more than one hit.

There was no rest for weary as the Cougars had the pleasure of facing ECU starter Jake Kuchmaner, one of the best pitchers in the nation, who also threw a perfect game less than a month ago . . . After a quick pop-up and a strike out in the bottom of the first, Joe Davis hit a monster homerun to left-center on the first pitch he saw from Kuchmaner . . . The 1-0 score would remain that way until the seventh.

Clay Aguilar got the start in game two for the Cougars, and on short rest after his Tuesday start at Lamar, Aguilar turned in his best performance of the year . . . ECU was held hitless until the fourth and they did not score a run until the seventh when designated hitter Jake Washer hit a homerun to left-center . . . The Pirates tacked on another run two batters later on a single which would also end Aguilar’s outing.

The Pirates pitching was too strong and aside from the Davis homerun in the first, part of a 2-for-3 night for Davis, Houston was completely shut down, only getting five other hits, two of those belonged to Rey Fuentes and Derrick Cherry who were both 2-for-4 in the second game . . . ECU pitchers also struck out fourteen Cougars.

The 3-1 loss saw the Cougars use only two pitchers, Aguilar and Devon Roedahl, who held the Pirates offense to seven hits and one walk while striking out ten . . . Not a bad performance by the pitching staff overall, one that would get a win on many nights.

The Cougars now have a couple of days off before they head up to Huntsville to face Sam Houston State for one game, the first game of a four game road trip. –

 

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Cougars Shutout ECU 2-0

The Houston Cougars face ECU Friday at Schroeder Park. Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.
The Houston Cougars face ECU Friday at Schroeder Park.
Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.

A potent East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates team came to Schroeder Park Friday night to face the Houston Cougars . . . The Pirates were sporting a 22-6 overall record and a 6-0 conference record, along with conference leaders in various catergories, and a pitcher who threw a perfect game earlier this season . . . Oh, and they had won ten games in a row.

Friday’s starting pitcher for the Pirates was Jake Agnos who has many credits to his name, including conference leader in strikeouts . . . Agnos was mixing speeds well, but his command was off and the Cougars batters demonstrated some incredible patience, especially on some mid-seventies breaking balls, many of them well off the plate.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the first inning when a Rey Fuentes ground ball to second resulted in a throwing error by second baseman Brady Lloyd and allowed Jared Triolo to score from third.

Jared Triolo hit a one out homerun to left-center in the third inning to put the Cougars up 2-0.

Rey Fuentes made an outstanding defensive play to end the fourth when he went diving head first into foul territory down the left field line on a high fly ball by right fielder Alec Burleson . . . The ball kept drifting away from fair territory and toward the Cougars bullpen . . . Rey went diving, caught the ball, with his hair falling all over the place as he lost his cap, he fired the ball to Jared Triolo who then relayed the ball to second to get the runner who had been on second and was moving toward third on the fly ball . . . It was an amazing play by Fuentes.

Kyle Lovelace also deserves an honorable mention for his defensive work . . . Lovelace got two different runners trying to steal, one ended the third inning and on the other the throw was so early that Brad Burckel had to make sure to hold the glove and wait for the runner, rather than attempting to swipe at the sliding runner.

Lockhart held ECU hitless until the fifth, when second baseman Brady Lloyd reached base on an infield single . . . Lockhart was sharp all night, and ECU batters were hitting right into the Cougars defense, this also allowed Lockhart to be very efficient and maintain a low pitch count.

ECU’s Jake Agnos was quite good on Friday as well, just not quite as good as Lockhart. Agnos went 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs on six hits while also striking out eight . . . Agnos got his pitch count up early and when he exited in the sixth he had thrown 113 pitches.

Alec Burleson came to Houston leading the conference in batting average and went 0-for-4 on the night in the cleanup spot.

With two outs in the eighth, Lael Lockhart gave way to Fred Villarreal for the final out of the inning, which Villarreal got on a ground ball to Kobe Hyland . . . Fred returned to the mound for the ninth when things got interesting . . . A leadoff double was followed by a groundout that moved the runner to third . . . Then a walk put the possible tying run on first and brought the possible go-ahead run at the plate . . . But Villarreal continued to work and throw strikes, he got catcher Jake Washer to strikeout swinging before getting a weak grounder back to the mound for the final out to secure the 2-0 shutout.

The win was Lael Lockhart’s second on the year, and the save by Villarreal was his seventh, and the shutout was the first time this season the Pirates were shutout.

The threat of bad weather on Sunday has changed the Saturday schedule . . . The teams will play a double-header at Schroeder Park with the first game starting at 1pm, and the second game beginning about 45 minutes after the first game ends. –

 

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Cougars Top FIU in the 9th

Jared Pettitte's first pitch of the game against FIU on Wednesday at Schroeder Park.
Jared Pettitte’s first pitch of the game Wednesday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The threat of rain hung over Schroeder Park on Wednesday night as the Florida International University Panthers brought their shiny chrome batting helmets for the midweek matchup . . . The Houston Cougars countered with what has been a semi-regular formula for victory this year: A late rally, and a closer on the mound that is tough to score against.

A couple of wrinkles along the way told the story in this one though.

Jared Pettitte made his second consecutive Wednesday start for the Cougars . . . After a quick first inning where he retired the Panthers in order, striking out two, he gave up a leadoff homerun to the FIU clean-up hitter after he had fallen behind him 3-1. Pettitte brought a fastball and that was what right fielder Adan Fernandez was looking for and he sent the pitch over the wall in left-center . . . Pettitte would get the next batter to pop up to second.

Panthers first baseman Logan Allen then hit a lined shot off of Jared Pettitte’s throwing arm, the ball did not go far, and Allen reached first on a single and Pettitte stayed on the ground for a while as Cougars staff rushed out to check on the sophomore left-hander . . . Pettitte would walk off the field on his own, but he was in visible discomfort on his left side . . . X-rays would later show no break, we will know more in the coming days.

Ron Brown had the difficult task of relieving Pettitte under the circumstances and a rushed warm-up, and after yielding two runs and recording an out, lefty Spencer Hynes entered the game with two outs in the second and pitched an outstanding three innings, keeping the Panthers from increasing their lead and keeping the Cougars within striking distance . . . A bevy of relievers would provide scoreless, quality work out of the bullpen on the night, including Carter Henry, Brayson Hurdsman, and Devon Roedahl.

Brett Esau got a rare start on Wednesday in place of an ailing Kobe Hyland . . . Esau played third base which moved Jared Triolo to Hyland’s usual shortstop position . . . Esau had the FIU pitching figured out as he went 3-for-4 with two doubles down the left field line . . . And for his part, Triolo played short like he had been playing there his entire life.

FIU starter Christian Santana was touched up for four total runs before he left in the fifth . . . Santana was throwing hard all night, reaching 94 at one point, his command and consistency were off though, and that allowed Houston to continaully chip away at that early deficit.

The only inning where FIU actually did some damage on offense was in the 2nd, most of it after the injury to Jared Pettitte . . . Catcher Kyle Lovelace picked-off Logan Allen at second when Allen strayed too far toward third after reaching base on a double to lead off the sixth, this heads up defensive gem was a key out for the Cougars, it only goes down as a 2-6 on the scorecard, but it was a big play at the time.

Neither team would score in innings five thru eight . . . With the score tied at four, Fred Villarreal came in to the game to make sure FIU did not score in the ninth . . . Fred accomplished this mission on eight pitches.

In the bottom of the ninth, with one out Kobe Hyland pinch hit for Kyle Lovelace and was hit by a pitch, and one out later he would steal second . . . The Cougars were down to their final out when Tyler Bielamowicz singled home Kobe Hyland from second as Hyland had been moving on the pitch . . . Bielamowicw was 3-for-4 on the night with a walk . . . FIU pitcher Christian Dearman, in his second inning of work, had fallen behind Bielamowicz, and with Joe Davis standing on-deck, Dearman had to get Bielamowicz . . . The Cougars won 5-4, Fred Villarreal earned the win to go to 3-1 on the season.

The Cougars have tomorrow off and then they welcome East Carolina University (ECU) for a weekend conference series . . . First pitch on Friday night at Schroeder Park is at 6:30. –

 

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Cougars Win at Lamar; Davis Homers Again

The Houston Cougars celebrate victory at Lamar University in Beaumont on Tuesday.
The Houston Cougars celebrate victory at Lamar on Tuesday.

Stop me if you have heard this before . . . The Cougars rally late, on a Joe Davis homerun, to win, and Fred Villarreal earns a save.

That is what took place in Beaumont on Tuesday evening as the Houston Cougars visited the Lamar Cardinals, with some other drama along the way.

Clay Aguilar was on the mound for the Cougars and he looked sharp early and his breaking pitches really had nice movement . . . But Aguilar started to lose command of his pitches in the second and the pitch count rose as well . . . Aguilar would leave the game in the third, charged with four runs, but two were unearned as some bizarre baseball took place behind him in the second and third, including the Cougars committing the first two of what ended up being four errors on the night.

Some small ball would help get the Cougars get on the scoreboard in the third as a single by Brad Burckel and a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Lovelace put a runner in scoring position for a double by Jared Triolo, Triolo’s only hit of the night . . . Burckel singled in his first two at-bats, and scored both times.

Rey Fuentes, 3-for-5 in the game, hit an opposite field homerun to lead off the fourth inning . . . The fourth inning also included a single, a wild pitch, a batter bit by a pitch, a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt, another single, another wild pitch, and a partridge in a pear tree . . . When the dust settled the Cougars had scored four in the frame and were leading 5-4.

Lamar scored three in their half of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead . . . This lead held until the top of the eighth when Tyler Bielamowicz, who was on second after a leadoff double to left, was singled home by Lael Lockhart Jr., part of a 2-for-2 night for Lael as he hit the ball hard both times . . . Catcher Blake Way who had entered the game in the sixth replaceing Kyle Lovelace hit a double to center to score Lockhart from second, tying the game at eight.

Devon Roedahl had entered the game in the seventh, relieving Brayson Hurdsman, and he was outstanding . . . Roedahl ended the seventh completely freezing Lamar’s Cole Girouard on a called third strike to end the inning . . . Devon returned to the mound in the eighth and sent Lamar batters down in order to set up the ninth inning.

Joe Davis led off the ninth inning . . . Davis was sitting 1-0 when he unloaded on the second pitch he saw from Lamar’s Ryan Erickson . . . The homerun shot was a no-doubter, the left-fielder barely moved as he watched the ball sail over his head and over the left field wall . . . The Cougars would be retired in order after the Davis homerun.

Fred Villarreal came in to close the door with a 8-7 lead, and he did so on nine pitches as he retired all three batters he faced . . . For Villarreal it was his sixth save on the year.

The Cougars have little time to rest, they return to action tomorrow night back home at Schroeder Park where they will host Florida International University (FIU) . . . First pitch against FIU is at 6:30pm. –

 

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