Houston Sweeps Sunday Twin Bill, Weekend Homestand

Logan Clayton faces UT Rio Grande Valley on Sunday

Sunday proved a tale of two very different ballgames for the Houston Cougars, with the common denominator being two victories to push the current win streak to four games with 16-10 and 3-1 wins over UTRGV.

Sunday’s first game was nearly a four hour event, and when it was over, the Cougars had handed the Vaqueros their first loss of the season, in a 16-10 marathon. The sixteen runs were the most runs scored in a game since the Cougars scored as many against Stephen F. Austin in 2019.

The Vaqueros led early as they took a 4-0 lead in the second inning . . . The Cougars got back in the game in the bottom of the second inning . . . It started with catcher Anthony Tulimero taking a two-out walk which also extended his reached base streak to six games . . . Skyler Trevino delivered the first of his three singles in the game, which was followed by three straight walks and a hit batter and the Cougars only trailed 4-3.

Houston tied the game at four in the third only to give the lead back in the fourth . . . Already leading 7-4, the Vaqueros added two runs in the sixth.

In the bottom frame, Zach Arnold hit a two-out two-run home run over the wall in right field for the Cougars first home run of the season and Houston was within three, 9-6.

Patrick Dunn and Maddux Miller both delivered scoreless relief in the middle frames of game one when the Cougars needed outs.

In the bottom of the seventh, an error in center field left two runners on base for Malachi Lott . . . Lott (2-for-3) tripled to the wall in right-center, the first hit of his collegiate career, and good for two runs batted-in . . . That was followed by a Brandon Uhse double and singles by Zach Arnold and Ryan Hernandez on the way to the first of two consecutive five run innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, Trevino, McMillan, and Lott all led off with singles to set up the top of the order . . . After Hernandez was walked intentionally, freshman Cameron Nickens picked up two RBI on the first base hit of his collegiate career . . . Tormos and Tulimero followed with run-scoring singles and the Cougars led 16-9.

Derrick Cherry handled the eighth and ninth innings on the mound, and though the Vaqueros got one run back in the ninth, it was not enough as Houston took the first game 16-10.

Logan Clayton took the hill for the Cougars in game two and set a different pace from game one.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a groundout by Rey Mendoza . . . The Vaqueros tied the game in the third on a run-scoring double and the score would remain tied until the eighth inning.

Clayton exited after seven complete innings having allowed the single run on only two hits and adding five strike outs to his tally . . . Ben Sears took the mound in the eighth with the game tied at one.

Houston rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth, sparked by an Alex Lopez RBI single which was followed by a Tormos RBI single and the Cougars led 3-1 going to the top of the ninth.

Sears gave up two singles in the ninth, but another nice defensive play by Trevino at second base ended the game and made Sears (2-0) a winner for his two innings of scoreless work in the 3-1 victory.

McMillan was a star on the diamond again on Sunday, making at least three remarkable plays behind his pitchers in both games . . . Tulimero’s single in the second inning of game two extended his reached base streak to seven, all seven games of the season thus far.

Houston is now 4-3 on the year and they have a day off before they play host to Lamar at Schroeder Park on Tuesday night, first pitch is at 6:30pm.

Cougars Open First Homestand with 11-4 Win Over TSU

Skyler Trevino apllies a tag on an attempted steal of second base Friday night

Houston was able to play the long game better than Texas Southern on Friday evening at Schroeder Park as the Cougars scored in each of their final four at-bats, nine runs in total after the fifth inning to take the 11-4 victory on opening night of their home schedule.

Kerry Wright was on the mound Friday afternoon for Houston after a disappointing opening start for him last Sunday in Scottsdale . . . After a scoreless first inning, Texas Southern scored in the second inning on a play that was close enough at the plate that it needed to be reviewed before it was confirmed.

The Cougars added two runs in the bottom of the second when Zach Arnold (2-for-4) singled with the bases loaded to put Houston in front 2-1.

The Tigers tied the game in the third . . . Wright gave way to Colby Casey in the fourth inning having struck out four in his three innings and allowing just the two earned runs . . . Casey went two scoreless innings in which he also did not allow a hit.

Houston catcher Anthony Tulimero, who is swinging a hot bat to start the season, is doing his part behind the plate as well, on Friday he had thrown out two base runners trying to steal, including speedy former Cougar Jonathan Thomas, by the end of the fifth inning.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Samuel Tormos hit a drive deep the left that in normal conditions would have landed on Elgin . . . Instead, the drive off of Tormos’s bat was caught up against the left field wall and the ball was fired in to second base . . . Chaos ensued as the umpires gathered and tried to figure out what had just happened . . . Eventually, a run was counted as it crossed the plate before the runner was apparently called out at second for having left early trying to tag up . . . The inning came to an end on the double-play with the Cougars once again in the lead, 3-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars added a run on a single by Ian McMillan (3-for-4) . . . Brandon Uhse keyed a three-run seventh inning with a two-out double off the right field wall to push the Cougar lead to 7-2 . . . Tulimero (3-for-5) drove in two more in the eighth with a double to right-center . . . An error on a fly to right field allowing another run was followed by a McMillan RBI single to left.

Jaycob Deese took the mound to start the sixth inning and his stuff was electric, despite the conditions outside . . . Deese struck out a career-high nine batters, of the twelve outs he recorded, in many cases he simply overpowered guys.

Head coach Todd Whitting was ecstatic about the performance from his right-hander out of the bullpen, “Difference in the game was Deese coming in and shutting down TSU.” Whitting added, “In those conditions tonight it took a tough competitor to come off the bench and give his team a great performance like he did.”

“Tuli has been exactly what we thought he would be coming into the season,” said head coach Todd Whitting after the game, “a great receiver and the ability to deliver at home plate in the clutch.” Of the runners Tulimero caught trying to steal Friday night, Whitting added. “His performance to shut down TSU’s running game was huge tonight.”

Casey (1-0) was the pitcher of record, so he picked up the win with Deese earning the save, his first of the season, with his four inning performance to finish the game . . . Ryan Hernandez was 3-for-5 in Friday’s game, and while the power numbers are not there yet, he is going to the gaps and hitting the ball hard.

Houston has won two straight games now and returns to action on Saturday afternoon against UT Rio Grande Valley, first pitch is at 4pm at Schroeder Park, with Nathan Medrano making his second start of the season.

Cougars Claim First Victory of 2022, Win 3-2 at McNeese

Houston faces McNeese in Lake Charles on Tuesday

After a disappointing weekend in Arizona, the Cougars picked up their first victory of the season against McNeese in Lake Charles on Tuesday.

Samuel Tormos got the scoring started for the Cougars in the top of the first when he singled home two runs with two outs and the Cougars took the early lead.

Derrick Cherry started on the mound for the Cougars . . . Coach Whitting said pregame they wanted two to three innings out of Cherry, they got two scoreless as Cherry yielded one hit and struck out three and he left with the Cougars leading 2-0.

McNeese tied the game in the bottom of the third on a two-run home run . . . The game would remain tied until the top of the sixth when a bases loaded grounder off the bat of Ian McMillan scored Santiago Garcia from third base and the Cougars led once again, 3-2.

Ben Sears threw four scoreless innings with seven strike outs while allowing just two hits, and no walks . . . It was a solid outing for the right-hander from Rhode Island as he was efficient with his pitches and got a lot of first pitch strikes.

Jose Torrealba, who left Sunday’s game in Scottsdale after being hit by a batted ball, returned for the Cougars on Tuesday night and retired the only three batters he faced, two of them by strike out . . . Nathan Medrano took the mound for the ninth inning and struck out the first two batters on the way to closing out the 3-2 victory and picking up the save, his first of the season . . . Ben Sears earned the win and is now 1-0.

Coach Todd Whitting was pleased with the outcome and had high praise for his pitching staff. “Great display of Grit and courage by Cherry and Sears tonight, this was a game where their team needed a great performance and they both delivered,” Whitting said. “Overall great performance by the entire staff tonight with Torrealba and Medrano slamming the door.”

The Cougars offense only had two hits in the win, but it was enough to win on this night.

The Cougars head back to town and will open up the home portion of their season on Friday night when they face Texas Southern at Schroeder Oark . . . First pitch on Friday is at 6:30pm.

Houston Offensive Woes Continue, Shutout by TCU

Houston pitcher Jose Torrealba pitches to TCU on Sunday in Scottsdale

The Houston Cougars finished their opening weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona by being shut out 10-0 by TCU on Sunday . . . In a game that began in the morning but was completed in the early afternoon, Houston fell behind in the first frame and never got going offensively.

Five walks in the first inning by Houston starting pitching put the Horned Frogs in front to stay . . . The Cougars had to go to the bullpen in the first inning and newcomer Jose Torrealba was able to stop the bleeding . . . Torrealba took a liner off his lower body in the third inning before he had recorded an out, and Jose left the game as a result.

Jaycob Deese stepped in and provided a solid outing over five innings while saving the bullpen from overuse in the final two games of the MLB4 Tournament.

Leading 8-0 in the eighth, TCU plates two more runs in the bottom frame to end the game on the run-rule, which is usually in place for Sunday games.

Offensively, Houston struggled all weekend . . . On Sunday, Ryan Hernandez was 2-for-4 and Samuel Benjamin was 2-for-3, the two account for half of the teams hits.

Houston now heads to Lake Charles, Louisiana where they will face the McNeese State Cowboys on Tuesday at 6:00pm . . . The Cougars will open up their home schedule at Schroeder Park on Friday at 6:30pm against Texas Southern before squaring off with UT Rio Grande Valley on Saturday and Sunday.

Aztecs Outlast Cougars 4-3

Photo tweeted by @MLB4_AZ

The Houston Cougars only yielded four runs on Saturday night in Scottsdale, matching their Friday output . . . But, as with Friday afternoon, the four runs on Saturday were not enough as the Cougars fell 4-3 to the San Diego State Aztecs.

Logan Clayton took the hill for the Cougars in his first start since transferring to Houston . . . Clayton would take the loss, but his performance was solid as he was consistently in the mid 90s with his fastball and struck out six while only giving up four hits in 4 1/3 innings.

With the game scoreless in the fifth, Samuel Benjamin (2-for-4) tripled with one out to score Ian McMillan (2-for-4) and put the Cougars in front 1-0.

Having reached 81 pitches in a game this early in the season, Clayton was on a pitch limit of about 80 and was thus replaced on the mound with one out in the bottom of the fifth . . . San Diego State scored three times in the inning to take the lead . . . The Aztecs

With two outs in the ninth, Brandon Uhse, in his first plate appearance of the season doubled to left-center to score McMillan and Benjamin and that got the Cougars to within a run at 4-3 . . . But the Cougars would strand the tying run at second in falling to the Aztecs.

The Cougars used five pitchers in the game on Saturday, compared to just the two pitchers they used on Friday . . . Kyle LaCalameto and Cameron Prayer both got some work in after Clayton’s departure . . . Jackson Dannelley made his first appearance as a Cougar but left with an apparent injury after retiring the only batter he faced to open the eighth . . . Ben Sears picked up the final two outs of the eighth on just three pitches after having time to warm up as a result of the Dannelley injury.

The Cougars will complete their action in the MLB4 Tournament on Sunday when they face TCU at 11am Central Time.

Medrano Dominates in Debut, Cougars Drop 2022 Opener

A new look Houston Cougars squad took the field for the first time in 2022 against the Cal Golden Bears in Scottsdale, Arizona on Friday afternoon to open the MLB4 Tournament . . . Friday’s starting lineup featured six players new to the Cougars program, including one true freshman, two second year players with minimal playing experience in 2021, along with Ryan Hernandez and Ian McMillan as the only guys with extensive experience.

Right-hander Nathan Medrano, a junior college transfer, got the starting nod for Houston and he did not disappoint in his debut.

The Cougars offense had to deal with a tough starting pitcher for Cal in Josh White, one of the nations highest touted right-handers.

Both teams were scoreless through the sixth inning, Cal had gone to the bullpen with one out in the sixth as White’s pitch count climbed close to eighty pitches . . . Medrano remained in the game and surrendered his only run of the game in the seventh inning before finishing the inning just shy of eighty pitches.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cougars took advantage of a walk to Anthony Tulimero followed by an error on a ball put in play by Samuel Benjamin . . . With runners at first and second and two outs, pinch-hitter Cameron Nickens hit a grounder to the right side of the pitcher’s mound, which was fielded cleanly by Cal’s Chris Stamos, but Stamos threw wide of first base and eventually both base runners scored and Nickens stopped at third base and the Cougars led 2-1.

A solo home run in the ninth off of closer Derrick Cherry tied the game at two and after a scoreless bottom of the ninth, the two teams moved into the tenth inning . . . The Golden Bears plated two in the tenth which the Cougars were unable to match as they suffered the extra inning defeat to open the season.

For Medrano, his seven inning performance was the most innings by a Houston starter on Opening Day since Valentine’s Day 2014 when Aaron Garza went seven against Nicholls State . . . Medrano only allowed three hits and walked one while striking out six.

Head coach Todd Whitting was obviously pleased with what he saw from Medrano. “Thought Medrano gave us a great opportunity to win,” said Whitting, adding that Medrano had “excellent execution of all of his pitches and competed every pitch.” Whitting added, “He is going to be a great Friday night guy for us the rest of the way.”

Samuel Tormos started Friday in center field and made the play of the day when he tracked down a long fly ball to end the sixth inning behind Medrano . . . Tormos, going to his right and toward the wall in deep left-center, had to leave his feet and catch the ball back-handed as his face and body crashed into the wall before he went to the ground.

The Cougars will take the field again on Saturday at 6pm Central Time against San Diego State, that game could start a little later if the game prior runs long . . . Logan Clayton will make the start for Todd Whitting’s squad, making his first appearance in a Cougars uniform . . . No word yet on who will pitch Sunday’s finale with TCU, but the Cougars only used two pitchers in ten innings on Friday, so they have a lot of options going into the final two games in Scottsdale.