The Houston Cougars shook off a Saturday night loss that ended their six game winning streak and returned to Schroeder Park on Sunday to defeat the Incarnate Word Cardinals 10-4.
Houston fell behind early as Incarnate Word scratched out two runs in the opening sequence . . . Anthony Tulimero reached base on an error by the Cardinal shortstop with one out in the bottom of the second, which extended his reached base streak to all eleven games this season, but the Cougars still trailed heading to the third inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the third and runners on first and second, Ryan Hernandez hit a dying grounder up the third base line that drifted foul about 25 feet from the plate, keeping the at-bat alive . . . The Cardinals might have preferred to give Hernandez the infield base hit because on the very next pitch he gave the Cougars a 3-2 lead with a massive home run to left field . . . For Hernandez it was his first home run of the season.
UIW took the lead back in the top of the fourth when they scored two and led 4-3.
Tulimero singled to lead off the fourth for Houston, but he was erased on a double play . . . With two outs, Samuel Benjamin legged out an infield single which was confirmed on review . . . A stolen base and a wild pitch moved Benjamin to third . . . Malachi Lott tripled off the wall in right field to give the Cougars a 5-4 lead . . . Two walks later the bases were loaded for Hernandez who drove a ball into left field scoring two and Houston led 7-4.
The bottom of the fifth started with a single by Tulimero (3-for-4), who then went to second on a balk . . . After back-to-back strike outs, Cameron Nickens homered to left field to extend the Houston lead to 9-4, it was the second home run in as many days for Nickens.
Nickens (3-for-4) was not done yet, he hit another home run in his next at-bat in the eighth inning and the Cougars took a 10-4 lead into the ninth.
Ben Sears started the eighth for Houston in relief of Medrano and handled the ninth as well, he kept the Cardinals off the board and preserved the win for Medrano (1-0) . . . Medrano went seven complete and allowed six hits while striking out four . . . Sears has not allowed any runs in his 9 2/3 innings pitched this season out of the bullpen.
Head coach Todd Whitting was impressed with Medrano’s finish after his early struggles. “When Medrano pitches like he did the last three innings, with intent every pitch, he is very good,” Whitting said. “Proud of him for competing till he found his rhythm.”
Asked about his freshman [Nickens] and his three home-run last 24 hours Whitting said, “We knew when we signed Nickens he has a chance to be an elite college hitter. He is a gritty, hard-nosed kid and I’m excited for him that he had a big weekend.”
The Cougars (7-4) play two midweek games this next week, a game at Rice at 6:30pm on Tuesday and the host Southern at Schroeder Park on Wednesday at 6:30pm.