Cougars Wallop Texas State 12-3 in San Marcos

Robert Gasser works against Texas State in San Marcos on Friday

San Marcos was the scene of a balanced pitching and offensive explosion from the Houston Cougars on Friday night against the  Texas State Bobcats . . . Texas State was fresh off a run-rule victory over top-rated TCU at Bobcat Ballpark in the midweek, while Houston entered the game after a 13-7 win in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Robert Gasser got his fourth consecutive Friday night start . . . A caveat, Gasser’s first start of the season in game won happened on a Saturday as a result of a weather cancellation . . . After a scoreless first inning, the Bobcats got on the board in the bottom of the second on a one-out single that gave them a 1-0 lead.

The Cougars offense finally got rolling in the third inning . . . Brandon Uhse tied things up with a double to left-center scoring Kyle Lovelace from first . . . Lovelace was on first as the result of a one-out single, one of two hits for Kyle in the game . . . Ryan Hernandez then singled to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead . . . Tyler Bielamowicz, who had reached base after being hit by a pitch, scored the third run of the inning on a wild pitch to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead.

In the top fourth, after singles by both Will Pendergrass and Ian McMillan, Brad Burckel tripled to right-center scoring two . . . A couple of batters later, Brandon Uhse brought Burckel home to score on a groundout to extend the lead to 6-1 . . . Houston batters were making Texas State starter Zach Leigh work, with high pitch counts and one particularly long at-bat by Brad Burckel in the third inning . . . As Leigh’s pitch count went up, so did the Cougars run total.

In the Houston half of the fifth, Ian McMillan hit a three-run blast deep to left-center to put the Cougars in front 9-1 . . . It was the third consecutive inning that the Cougars offense score three runs . . . “I thought overall that may have been the most complete game we played all year,” Head Coach Todd Whitting said after the game. “We just kept putting pressure on them all night.”

Gasser was cruising after the lone run allowed in the second inning, he tossed six complete innings, allowed just the one run and struck out ten, a new season high, which was previously seven strikeouts . . . Layne Looney and Ryne Huggins pitched the seventh inning in relief of Gasser.

Texas State got two back in the bottom of the seventh to pull to within 9-3 . . . The Houston offense then went back to work . . . With two outs in the top of the eighth, Kyle Lovelace singled to right-center . . . Brandon Uhse then hit a grounder that was fielded cleanly at short, but the flip to second was dropped and two were on as a result of the error . . . Tyler Bielamowicz then hit a ground-rule double to left-center to score one run, by rule a sure second run was not allowed, and Uhse was placed on third base  . . . Steven Rivas followed with his only hit of the night, a single to right plating two more runs and giving the Cougars a 12-3 advantage.

Jaycob Deese entered the game to start the eighth inning and threw two scoreless innings to close out the Cougars win . . . Robert Gasser picked up the win as the left-hander improved to 2-1. “He was again, pretty electric tonight,” said Coach Whitting of his Friday night starter. “He was outstanding tonight, I’m really proud of him.”

The Cougars offense scored three runs in four different frames on Friday night . . . Ryan Hernandez had three base hits and was one of the three Cougars with multiple hits in the game, along with Ian McMillan and Kyle Lovelace who each had two hits . . . Houston is now 9-4 in 2021 and has won the first two games of this four game road trip.

The Cougars and the Bobcats return to action on Saturday in San Marcos . . . Ben Sears will take the mound for Houston, first pitch is at 2:30pm. –

(Thank you to Houston Athletics for help with the Coach Whitting quotes.)

Cougars Open Road Trip with 13-7 Win

The Houston Cougars opened a four game road trip in San Antonio against University of the Incarnate Word on Wednesday night with a 13-7 victory . . . After scoring only four runs in the entire weekend series against Texas, the Cougars scored five runs in the first inning, and they would score five runs in two different innings on Wednesday.

Ryan Hernandez hit a one-out home run to center field to give the Cougars a quick 3-0 lead . . . For Hernandez it was his first home run since he hit two on opening day . . . Ian McMillan a few batters later hit an RBI single to increase the Cougar lead 4-0 . . . Catcher Dylan Post followed with a sacrifice fly to left that gave the Cougars a 5-0 lead and the Cougars eventually batted around in the first.

The Cardinals went to the bullpen to start the second and they kept the Cougars off the scoreboard until the sixth inning, as their offense clawed them back into the game . . . UIW scored three in the third off Houston starter Blake Schultz, but Houston held on to a 5-3 lead.

Blake Schultz took the game into the fifth inning, but he was relieved by Ryne Huggins after 4 2/3 innings and six strikeouts . . . The Cardinals tied the game at five in the bottom half of the fifth . . . Jaycob Deese relieved Huggins and got a strikeout to end the fifth and stop the bleeding at that point . . . Despite a no-decision, it was a solid outing for Schultz, the first-year Cougar.

In the top half of the sixth, Tyler Bielamowicz hit a two-out single to center, his third hit of the game at that point, Steven Rivas then hit a pop-up toward second that seemed like it was going to end the inning, but the catch was not made and Bielamowicz, who was moving the entire time, scored from first on the error as the Cougars took a 6-5 lead.

After ending the fifth, Deese followed with a scoreless sixth . . . UIW then tied the game again in the seventh inning.

With the game again tied in the top of the eighth, and with one out, the top of the Cougars order went to work . . . Bielamowicz collected his fourth hit in a 4-for-6 effort, Rivas singled and plated a run, Hernandez singled to score another, his fourth RBI on the night as he also went 3-for-4 . . . Will Pendergrass then doubled and picked up a RBI as Rivas scored . . . Ian McMillan singled and increased the lead to 11-6 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

Derrick Cherry took the mound looking to protect the lead, he struck out the three batters he faced in the eighth . . . After the Cougars added two more runs in the top of the ninth to build a 13-6 lead, Cherry returned to the mound for the ninth . . . UIW added a run in the ninth on a turf-bouncer that just got over the reach of Brad Burckel at second, but Cherry closed it out a few pitches later with his fifth strikeout in two innings pitched.

The Cougars moved to 8-4 on the season with the 13-7 win, and Jaycob Deese (1-1-1) picked up his first win of the season and as a Cougar.

The Cougars now move the road trip to San Marcos where they will be hosted by the Texas State Bobcats for a three game series this weekend . . . Robert Gasser will take the ball for Houston making his fourth start of the season . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm on Friday. –

Houston Drops UT Series in Sunday Finale

Tyler Bielamowicz facing Texas in the 6th inning Sunday

For as well as the Houston Cougars played on Friday and Saturday, the final result in Sunday’s 8-2 loss at Schroeder Park was not indicative of the rest of the series, especially the pitching.

Texas got on the scoreboard quickly on Sunday, plating four runs on only one hit in an inning that included four walks and a crucial error with the bases loaded.

Will Pendergrass hit a one-out double in the second, and he was quickly advanced to third on a wild pitch . . . Moments later Ian McMillan brought Pendergrass home on a sacrifice fly to center to get the Cougars on the board as they trailed 4-1.

Kyle Lovelace led off the third inning with a hustle-double to left-center, he never slowed down on what could have been just a single . . . Lovelace then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Brandon Uhse groundout to shortstop . . . The lead was cut in half to 4-2 at the end of the third.

Andrew Belcik and Carter Henry both provided solid efforts when they needed to . . . Belcik went 2 1/3 innings and Henry went 2 2/3 innings, the two were only separated by 1/3 of an inning by Sean Bretz . . . Overall the staff allowed ten walks and only seven hits on Sunday.

Cougars offense was mostly stymied all afternoon striking out twelve times and only garnering four walks and five hits . . . The three and four spots were 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against the Longhorns pitchers that kept them off balance.

Freshman Dravin Barber picked up his first collegiate strikeout in 1 2/3 innings of scoreless pitching out of the bullpen . . . Layne Looney followed Barber and pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to close out the afternoon for the pitching staff . . . A combined six pitchers pitched out of the bullpen on Sunday, a luxury somewhat afforded by the close games of the last two days and starting pitchers going late into innings both days.

A Texas home run in the top of the ninth increased the Texas lead to 8-2, the Cougars only sent three batters to the plate in the ninth, Sykler Trevino reached on a leadoff walk, but was erased shortly after on a double-play started by the Texas shortstop . . . The loss drops the Cougars record to 7-4.

Kyle Lovelace also threw out the only attempted base-stealer of the afternoon, continuing to remove runners from the bases . . . After the game, Lovelace was asked about his work, and he was quick to credit others, “I pride myself on defense, that’s what got me here.” “I wouldn’t be able to do the things that I do without the guys that we have on this team,” Lovelace said as he heaped praise on the pitching staff’s ability to hold runners by being quick to the plate, and the middle infielders being quick with tags.

“I thought for two games we competed like crazy. Like I told the team after the game, if we lose we lose as long as we play hard, but I don’t think we competed well today,” Head Coach Todd Whitting said after the loss. “We’ve just got to turn the page on this week.”

The Cougars have a couple of days away from game action as the new week starts, they head to San Antonio on Wednesday to take on University of the Incarnate Word . . . First pitch in San Antonio is at 6:30pm. –

Cougars Walk-Off Winners in 11 Over UT

Ben Sears throws the first pitch of Saturday’s game at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars took the field on Saturday afternoon having not scored a run since last Sunday in Corpus Christi . . . While runs were hard to come by on Saturday, the Cougars got one more than the Texas Longhorns did in an eleven inning thriller at Schroeder Park.

Kyle Lovelace drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the second when he hit a two-out single to center to score Samuel Benjamin to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead . . . Lovelace was 1-for-5 on the afternoon but was again a vacuum behind the plate and caught the only Longhorn that attempted to steal a base.

Ben Sears worked 5 1/3 innings as he got the start for the third time this season . . . Sears only allowed two runs and struck out six and left the game as a would-be losing pitcher if things remained as they were . . . It worked out differently.

Ryne Huggins entered the game, after Layne Looney faced a batter, to get the final out of the sixth, but the Longhorns had taken a 2-0 lead at that point.

Samuel Benjamin had two hits in this game, a single in the second, and a two-out double to left-center in the sixth which led to Texas going to their bullpen for the first time of the weekend . . . Will Pendergrass welcomed the new pitcher by lining a triple to the wall in right-center scoring Benjamin and tying the game . . . Head Coach Todd Whitting mentioned earlier in the week that Benjamin and Pendergrass were the future of the program, comparing them to Rivas and Hernandez, the duo looked the part on Saturday afternoon.

Steven Rivas returned to the line-up after only appearing once in a one at-bat pinch-hitting role in Friday nights 1-0 defeat . . . Rivas was 1-for-5 with a single to right field in the seventh that looked to be part of a potential rally, but was foiled soon after . . . The Cougars again threatened when they loaded the bases in the eighth but that rally ended with a strikeout.

Jaycob Deese pitched three scoreless innings in relief to move the game along and he was dominating . . . Deese was consistently throwing 92 plus and ended his first inning of work on a 97mph fastball . . . Overall Deese struck out five and allowed both a hit and a walk and saw his ERA drop to 2.03 . . . Blake Schultz took the mound in the tenth and eleventh and blanked Texas in both . . . Discussing the bullpen’s effort on Saturday, Head Coach Todd Whitting said, “For those guys to come in and throw strikes like they did, it was huge for us to give us a chance to win that game.”

With one out in the eleventh, Tyler Bielamowicz hit an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence off of Texas pitcher Aaron Nixon to send the Cougars home with a 3-2 victory . . . Bielamowicz was 1-for-4 with two walks on Saturday, but the one was a big one . . . After the celebration at home plate, Tyler was quick to heap praise on his teammates for the win, “Ben Sears pitched a hell of a game today. The guys coming out of the pen pitched a hell of a game.” “Benjamin and Pendergrass had some good late hits to get the rally going.”

Blake Schultz picked up the win to improve to 2-0 with his two innings of late relief work . . . Schultz has been the Sunday starter to begin the season, but having pitched on Saturday now, there is a change afoot for Sunday’s game, no decision on who will start Sunday has been announced yet.

Coach Whitting said after the game about the series with Texas, “That’s a resume builder is what that is. And tomorrow we have to get right back to it and keep building that resume.” “This is resume-building time of year and that’s why they’re on the schedule.”

The Longhorns and Cougars return to action on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 for the rubber match at Schroeder Park, both teams have scored just three runs each in the first two games . . . Asked how his team can win on Sunday, Tyler Bielamowicz said, “Energy. Sunday is all about energy.” –

Cougars Drop UT Opener 1-0

The Houston Cougars began a weekend series with the Texas Longhorns on Friday night at Schroeder Park, and the first game of the series saw the lowest possible score a game can have and still have a winner as the Longhorns took the game 1-0.

Robert Gasser got the Friday night mound assignment and he was phenomenal . . . Gasser pitched a complete seven innings, he did not allow a base hit until the fourth while he scattered four hits and struck out five and took a no-decision as the game was decided the inning after he left.

Gasser was matched scoreless-frame for scoreless-frame by Longhorns pitcher Ty Madden, a hard-throwing right-hander who only allowed the Cougars two hits, a single by Brandon Uhse to lead off the game, and a single by Tyler Bielamowicz in the fourth . . . Madden struck out fourteen Cougars in the complete game effort.

“I pitched well and I went deep into the game and helped my team out,” Gasser said after the game. “I needed to throw the off-speed for strikes, when it got to a tight situation I tried to take a step back and get myself back in the moment and not let the game speed up and just execute the pitch that I wanted to throw.”

Kyle Lovelace was once again outstanding behind the plate, he had an especially crucial caught-stealing to end the seventh, and in another instance he made a play on a weak tapper a few feet from the mound where he fielded, spun, and threw a laser to Ryan Hernandez for the out . . . After the game head coach Todd Whitting commented on Lovelace’s effort on Friday, “I would like to see a better catch-and-throw catcher in division one baseball.” “He made some unreal plays behind the plate, just keeping the ball in front of him,” Whitting said.

In the Longhorns half of the eighth, walks led to a run, giving Texas a 1-0 lead . . . A deep drive to gap in left-center looked to be headed for a clearing of the loaded bases to widen the Longhorns lead, but Brandon Uhse was on the move the entire play and he eventually caught up to the ball as it was behind him and he went tumbling to the ground for the inning ending third out.

The one run was enough for Texas on this night as the Cougars fell 1-0 against one of the toughest pitchers in the country . . . Both starting pitchers reached 100 pitches in the Friday night matchup, a rare feat in college baseball . . . Gasser reached the mark in the seventh, while Madden reached it in the eighth.

The two squads return to Schroeder Park on Saturday afternoon, first pitch is at 2pm . . . Ben Sears will get the ball for Todd Whitting’s team. –

Houston Shut Out by Lamar

The Houston Cougars traveled to Beaumont on Wednesday to take on the Lamar Cardinals . . . Houston entered the game with a 6-1 record on the season, while Lamar was playing its first game of the season, the result of the first part of their schedule being cancelled due to several Covid-19 positives within its program . . . As such, Lamar put their number one starter on the mound to begin their season.

Matt Lazzaro took the hill for the Cougars in what was his first start as a Cougar . . . Matt went through the Cardinals lineup once and exited after two scoreless innings, having yielded one hit, it would be the only Lamar hit until the bottom of the eighth inning.

Sean Bretz took the ball for the third inning and tossed a scoreless frame . . . Cameron Prayer then started the fourth inning and would not relinquish the ball until the eighth inning when he exited the game with two outs, likely a matter of his pitch count at this stage in the season in his longest outing thus far . . . Prayer was outstanding and went 4 2/3 hitless innings with seven strikeouts, two of those strikeouts coming in the eighth just before his exit.

The Cougars collected a total of five base hits in the Wednesday evening affair, one of those came off the bat of Steven Rivas in the form of an infield single . . . Rivas was injured on the close play at first . . . After a brief pause in the game to attend to Rivas, he stayed in the game to run, but he exited an inning later, replaced by freshman Samuel Benjamin . . . Rivas was 2-for-2 before exiting.

Ryan Hernandez hit two singles in the game, and Brandon Uhse got a base hit in the ninth to extend his hitting streak to seven games . . . Those were the only five hits for the Cougars in the game as Cardinals starter Trevin Michael went the first five innings, and he the gave way to three Lamar relief pitchers who carried the load for the final four frames.

The Cardinals finally got to the Cougars bullpen in the bottom of the eighth, plating two runs with two outs and taking a 2-0 lead, a score which would hold up in the ninth and gave Houston just its second loss of 2021 as they went to 6-2.

The Cougars return home this Friday to host a weekend series with the Texas Longhorns, the first such series since 1996 when both teams were still in the old Southwest Conference . . . First pitch from Schroeder Park is at 6:30. –

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