The Houston Cougars welcomed several recent friendly faces as part of the University of the Incarnate Word baseball team to Schroeder Park on Sunday afternoon . . . Former Cougars assistant and third base coach Ryan Shotzberger is now the head coach at UIW . . . He took with him Kyle Winkler who was a Cougars coach for a few weeks before Shotzberger took over in San Antonio and Winkler followed him.
Three UIW players were on the Cougars roster earlier this year; Ron Brown, Drew Minter, and Landon Etzel . . . All three saw action in Sunday’s exhibition.
An important thing to remember about the exhibition games is that they are quite literally for the development of the players and nothing more . . . The scores are meaningless . . . The teams played 11 innings on Sunday just because they wanted to . . . The Cougars batting lineup, was twelve players deep, and toward the end of the exhibition, players were literally being plucked out of the dugout to bat in situations that were good for them, even if it meant they had just batted in the previous inning and several spots in the order were skipped.
One of the most interesting situations occurred when the Cougars came to bat in an inning, and before anyone even stepped up to the plate, a base runner was placed at first base for situational practice . . . The pitcher got to work from the stretch, the runner attempted a steal, and was thrown out at second . . . Fun for everyone.
So that brings us back to the highlights and lowlights of Sunday’s action.
Blake Way got the Cougars offense on the board in the third with a homerun to left field . . . Kobe Hyland hit a homerun to straightaway center in the eighth, a ball that hit the batters eye on the lower right corner just above the wall, it was an impressive show of power from the Cougars shortstop, the ball landed to the left of one of the 390 feet signs on the wall in center.
Bryson Hill hit a triple to right to score two runs in the seventh . . . Steven Rivas hit a triple to center which was a tremendous blast that continued to carry further and further off the bat . . . The triple brought home two runners.
Ryan Hernandez walked once and was hit-by-pitch twice, and he stole second base after being hit the second time . . . He continues to be a solid presence at the plate in just his second game with the Cougars.
Luke Almendarez made the defensive play of the game at second base . . . A slow-moving ball was hit toward the right side of the second base bag, Almendarez fielded the ball and falling toward left field threw across his body and just got the runner at first . . . It was a gold star play by the freshman.
Seven Coogs shared in pitching the eleven frames on Sunday . . . Carter Henry started the game and went one scoreless inning . . . Nick Rupp, Robert Gasser, and Isaiah Blaylock each followed with two innings . . . Spencer Hynes pitched 1 1/3 innings with Tristen Bayless going 1 2/3 innings . . . Brayson Hurdsman handled the final inning of work.
All in all, the teams each technically plated seven runs in the final exhibition game of the fall for the Houston Cougars . . . The Cougars will play the Red vs. White game this next Friday, November 1 at 6pm at Schroeder Park . . . Admission is free, these games always prove to be interesting affairs.