Cougars Erase Early Deficit, Win at Wichita State 7-4

Jaycob Deese faces Wichita State in the seventh inning on Friday

Houston opened up their weekend series in Wichita, Kansas on Friday with a 7-4 win over the Wichita State Shockers and finally exacted some revenge on an recent foe.

The Cougars of 2021 and 2022 had been unable to figure out Wichita State starter Jace Kaminska in three games last season and one game earlier this season . . . Over that stretch, Kaminska was 4-0 and had allowed just two runs in 32 1/3 innings, which includes a contest in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Clearwater, Florida last May.

Trailing 3-0 in the top of the third inning, Brandon Burkel led off the frame with a single and then stole second base . . . Alex Lopez hit a two-out double into right-center to plate Burckel and cut the deficit to 3-1.

Houston starter Jaycob Deese faced the minimum in the third inning, getting a pickoff at first on a runner who had singled with two outs . . . Deese then faced just three batters in both the fourth and fifth innings, requiring just nine pitches in the fifth.

Lopez singled to lead off the sixth inning with the Cougars still trailing 3-1 . . . Anthony Tulimero followed with a walk, and Cameron Nickens was hit in the helmet by a pitch to load the bases with no outs . . . Ian McMillian batted a ball to deep short and before the ball could break free and run into left field, the Shockers shortstop stopped the ball on a dive, but he had no play as a run crossed the plate, the bases remained loaded and the Cougars trailed by a run.

Malachi Lott lined a ball down the right field line all the way to the wall to clear the bases and the Cougars took a 5-3 lead on the double by Lott.

Kaminska left the game after six innings pitched, having allowed five runs.

Ahead 5-4 in the top of the eighth inning, Tulimero led off the inning with a fly ball to center that looked like a sure out, but it was dropped by the center-fielder and Tulimero stopped at second base . . . One out later, Ryan Hernandez hit his seventh home run of the year over the wall in deep left-center field to push the Houston lead to 7-4.

Deese gave way to Ben Sears to start the bottom of the eighth inning with the three run lead . . . Deese did not allow a walk in his seven innings, and in uncharacteristic fashion, only struck out one batter.

Sears handled the final two innings, and while he did not look his sharpest (he walked two and hit a batter), it was nice to see the right-hander work through some adversity and record the six records he was tasked with getting . . . Deese improved to 5-2 on the year with the win and Sears picked up his tenth save.

Head coach Todd Whitting commented on his team coming back from a 3-0 deficit to take the road victory on Friday night, but also of the outstanding defense played behind his pitchers throughout the game. 

“Proud of our offensive unit tonight,” Whitting said after the game. “We had a great plan against one of the top pitchers in our league. We did a tremendous job of grinding out at bats and playing great defense.”

The Cougars and the Shockers are back in action on Saturday afternoon in Wichita . . . Kyle LaCalameto will be on the mound for the Cougars . . . The scheduled first pitch is at 2pm.

Houston Takes Silver Glove Series with 8-2 Win

Brandon Burckel bats in the second inning against Rice on Wednesday

Houston captured the Silver Glove Series against Rice with a 6-2 victory over the Owls at Schroeder Park on Tuesday night.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Ryan Hernandez (3-for-4) and Ian McMillan (3-for-3) hit back-to-back singles to reach base . . . Brandon Burckel (2-for-3) delivered a two-out single into left to score Hernandez and tie the game.

Still tied in the bottom of the third, Anthony Tulimero grounded to third base for what should have been the final out of the inning, but the throw was low and the first baseman could not make a clean catch, so Tulimero reached on the error . . . Cameron Nickens with a single to center and Tulimero reached third base to put runners on the corners . . . Hernandez followed with a double into left field that drove in both runners to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead.

Ian McMillan then hit a home run to left field, his seventh of the season, and Houston led 5-1 going to the fourth inning.

Colby Casey replaced Houston starter Logan Clayton in the sixth inning . . . Casey was followed by Cameron Prayer and Maddux Miller over the next two innings.

Houston added a run in the sixth inning after Burckel led off the frame with a double and moved to third base on a wild pitch . . . One out later, Zach Arnold grounded out to shortstop and scored Burckel.

McMillan doubled to lead off the bottom of the eighth, his third hit of the night . . . The straight walks followed and a single to right by Arnold scored two more runs and the Cougars led 8-2.

Jose Torrealba pitched a scoreless ninth inning, retiring all three batters he faced, to close out the win which gave the Cougars the Silver Glove Series for the first time since 2018 . . . Clayton improved to 3-3 this year with the win. 

Houston (30-15) packs up and hits the road for another weekend road trip . . . The Cougars will resume conference action on Friday at Wichita State against the Shockers . . . First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6pm.

Houston Earns Road Sweep of South Florida with 9-2 Win

Ian McMillan bats in the second inning Sunday in Tampa

Houston opened May by completing a weekend sweep of conference foe South Florida 9-2 in Tampa on Sunday.  

The Cougars opened the game by getting the first three batters on base, but they only scratched across one run on a sacrifice fly to center by Anthony Tulimero that allowed Brandon Uhse to tag from third base for the early Houston lead.

Ian McMillan led off the second inning with a monster home run to left field and the Cougars led 2-0.

After the Bulls tied the game in the second, Houston responded when McMillan (2-for-3) homered again with two runners on base and the Cougars took a 5-2 lead.

Zach Arnold hit his team-leading ninth home run with one out in the sixth inning and that was followed by back-to-back doubles by Alex Lopez and Tulimero (2-for-3) . . . The RBI by Tulimero made it 7-2, it was his second hit of the ballgame, which extended his reached-base streak to fifteen games, which is the second time this season Tulimero has done that.

Nathan Medrano got the Sunday start for the Cougars and the only blemish was the two runs allowed in the second inning, otherwise Medrano kept the Bulls from getting back into the game once the Cougars re-took the lead . . . Jackson Dannelley took the mound in the seventh and pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Medrano.

Houston added two runs in the ninth after back-to-back walks to begin the inning . . . Brandon Burckel hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field for a RBI . . . Arnold then hit a two out single to push the Cougars advantage to 9-2 going to bottom of the ninth.

Ben Sears pitched the ninth and after a lead off double, he retired the next three batters, putting the finishing touch on the 9-2 win and the weekend sweep.

Medrano’s record improved to 6-3 with the victory.

Houston outscored South Florida 28-9 over the weekend, and 22-4 over the final two games.

The Cougars head back to Houston today and will be off for a couple of days before they play host to Rice on Wednesday night at Schroeder Park . . . Houston hits the road for a series at Wichita State next weekend, so Wednesday is one of the few chances to see the Houston nine while they remain hot . . . First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Houston Dominates USF 13-2

Zach Arnold is greeted by teammates after his second inning home run on Saturday

The Cougars utilized a seven run fourth inning to blow out South Florida 13-2 in Tampa on Saturday as Houston won for the second day in a row.

Scoreless in the top of the third inning, Brandon Uhse singled through the left side of the infield to reach base with two outs . . . Zach Arnold (4-for-5) followed with a home run to left field on a full-count pitch and Houston led 2-0 on Arnold’s eighth home run of the season.

A lead off walk to Ryan Hernandez was the beginning of a big fourth inning for the Cougars . . . Ian McMillan followed with a single to right field . . . After McMillan stole second base, Malachi Lott singled through the right side to drive in a run . . . Lott stole second base and was there when Brandon Burckel singled to left field two drive in two more runs and the Cougars led 5-0.

But the fourth inning kept going . . . After the Bulls went to the bullpen, Arnold doubled to left field to drive in his third run of the ballgame . . . Alex Lopez as the seventh batter of the inning, lifted a fly ball to center and drove in a run on the sacrifice fly . . . Cameron Nickens (2-for-3) capped the scoring with a two-run blast to left-center field, his fourth home run of the season, and Houston led 9-0 after the seven run fourth inning.

The Bulls scored a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, but the Cougars got those right back in the sixth inning . . . Arnold and Lopez les off the frame with singles . . . With two outs, Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly to right field and McMillan singled to shallow right and Houston again led by nine runs, 11-2.

Maddux Miller relieved Houston starter Kyle LaCalameto in the fifth inning with two outs to end the inning . . . Maddux also pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

Houston added two runs in the seventh, one on another sacrifice fly RBI by Lopez, and another when Anthony Tulimero singled, which also extended his reached-based streak to fourteen games, and the Cougars led 13-2.

Logan Clayton took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and retired all three batters he faced, striking out two, to end the ballgame at the end of the seventh because of the run rule . . . Clayton only threw seventeen pitches to end the game . . . Miller improves to 3-0 this season with the win.

The Cougars collected sixteen base hits in the seven inning game, including each starter, and the Cougars scored multiple runs in four different innings . . . Meanwhile, the trio of Houston arms limited the Bulls to just six hits while striking out nine.

Houston and South Florida have dodged the weather bullet, which rearranged the weekend schedule, thus far . . . If all goes as planned, the two teams will conclude their series on Sunday morning with another 9am central time first pitch . . . Expect Nathan Medrano to make the start for Houston as they go for the sweep.

Houston Takes Opener Against Bulls in Tampa

Houston traveled east to face the South Florida Bulls on Friday in Tampa, Fla

Houston defeated the South Florida Bulls by a final of 6-5 on Friday afternoon in Tampa, Florida to take the opening game of their weekend conference series. The start time for the game was moved up several hours because of threatening weather, so the first pitch actually took place just after 11am Houston time.

Jaycob Deese got the Friday start once again for the Cougars and he was sharp early, kept his pitch count respectable and despite a couple of mistake pitches, gave Houston a great start that positions them well for the rest of the weekend with regard to the bullpen.

Anthony Tulimero led off the second inning by walking to be the Cougars first base runner of the afternoon . . . Cameron Nickens doubled to the gap in right-center to score Tulimero and give the Cougars the early lead . . . Ryan Hernandez then singled into right against the shift to plate Nickens and Houston led 2-0 going to the bottom of the inning . . . Tulimero extended his current reached-base streak to thirteen games, he had a similar streak to begin the season that spanned the first fifteen games before it ended on March 13.

Trailing 3-2 in the top of the sixth, Houston got a one-out double from Alex Lopez to start a rally . . . A hit batter and a fielders choice loaded the bases and the Cougars tied the game on a wild pitch . . . Hernandez then drove a ball into left field allowing Tulimero to tag up from third base on the sacrifice fly and Houston led 4-3.

Samuel Tormos (2-for-3) led off the seventh with a single and Tab Tracy entered the game to pinch run for Tormos . . . Tracy stole second and was driven home on a double by Brandon Uhse off the wall in left field . . . Zach Arnold (2-for-5) followed with a single up the middle that scored Uhse and the Cougars had a 6-3 lead.

Ben Sears replaced Deese with two outs in the seventh inning to record the final seven outs leading by a pair of runs . . . After posting a zero in the eighth, the Bulls got a run off Sears in the ninth inning to narrow the deficit, but Sears got a key ground out and a fly ball to center to secure the 6-5 victory . . . Deese improved to 4-2 on the season with the win, and the save was the ninth for Sears.

The Cougars improved to 27-15 overall and 8-5 in The American . . . The eighth conference win surpasses the seven conference victories in all of 2021 with eleven conference games left to play this season.

Weather has moved the schedule around quite a bit this weekend, the Cougars and the Bulls will play the middle game of their series on Saturday morning, first pitch from Tampa is scheduled for 9am . . . Left-hander Kyle LaCalameto will be on the mound for Houston.

Lamar Quiets Houston Offense, Takes Midweek Game

Houston faced Lamar in Beaumont on Tuesday

Houston traveled down I-10 to Beaumont to face the Lamar Cardinals on Tuesday, and fell by a final score of 4-1 in a game that took just over two hours.

This was the second midweek matchup of the season with Lamar, the last occurring on March 1st at Schroeder Park, a game the Cougars rallied late to win.

Derrick Cherry got the Tuesday start and was good over the first three innings, getting a double play to end both the second and third innings . . . Still scoreless going into the bottom of the fourth, the Cardinals scored three runs to take the lead and Houston went to the bullpen.

Houston was until the top of the sixth inning when Brandon Burckel hit a two-out single into right field, he was only the second baserunner of the game for the Cougars, but Houston failed to capitalize and they still trailed 3-0.

Maddux Miller out of the bullpen was very good, going 2 2/3 innings pitched with three strike outs and helping to carry the game through the middle innings.

Zach Arnold led off the seventh inning by hitting a home run the opposite way, over the wall in right field to plate Houston’s first run of the game . . . Arnold’s seventh home run of the season made it 4-1 Lamar.

Colby Casey pitched a scoreless seventh inning and Jackson Dannelley tossed a scoreless eighth inning out of the Houston bullpen.

The Cougars never got anything going offensively and they went quietly in the ninth as Lamar held on to win 4-1 . . . Houston only collected three hits in the contest, which lasted just six minutes over the two-hour mark . . . The Cougars lost only their second midweek game of the season.

The Cougars (26-15) have a couple of off days, and the team will be traveling to Florida to take on the University of South Florida this weekend in a three game conference series . . . First pitch from Tampa Bay is scheduled for 5:30pm on Friday.

Houston Defeats Memphis, Takes Series

Nathan Medrano throws the first pitch on Sunday against Memphis

Houston held on to a late lead, in a reversal of the previous two games, in a 7-5 victory on Sunday at Schroeder Park to take their second straight conference series. The Cougars had to win the final two games of the weekend to claim the series.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a bases loaded walk to Ryan Hernandez.

The score remained 1-0 until the fourth inning when Memphis tied the game on a bases loaded groundout double-play after having loaded the bases with no one out . . . Houston starter Nathan Medrano worked around further damage by getting a strikeout to end the inning.

Still tied in the bottom of the fifth inning, Alex Lopez (3-for-4) started a two-out rally with a double . . . Two walks loaded the bases for Hernandez who proceeded to hit a grand slam over the wall in left field for a 5-1 Houston lead . . . Hernandez accounted for five of the Houston runs batted in on Sunday.

The Tigers got two runs back in the top of the seventh inning and Medrano exited the game with two outs having allowed three runs, all of them unearned, on 104 pitches.

The Cougars added to their tally in the seventh inning as well . . . Lopez singled on the infield to lead off the inning . . . Anthony Tulimero doubled to the wall in center field to plate Lopez from first base . . . Cameron Nickens followed with a double to the gap in left-center scoring Tulimero and the Cougars had a four run cushion once again, 7-3.

Ben Sears came on in relief of Logan Clayton with two outs in the eighth inning and although Memphis got a run, Sears limited the damage . . . Memphis added another run in the ninth, but Sears limited it to that.

Medrano improved to 5-3 on the season with the 7-5 win and Sears picked up his eighth save in recording the final four outs . . . Lopez was the only Houston hitter with multiple hits in the game.

Houston ended its eight game homestand and will now be on the road for the next four games . . . The road schedule begins with a midweek matchup on Tuesday in Beaumont against Lamar, first pitch is scheduled for 6pm.

Tulimero Home Run Pushes Cougars Past Tigers

Kyle LaCalameto throws the first pitch Saturday night against Memphis

Memphis rallied late for the second night in a row, but on Saturday night Houston responded with a walk off home run to win 5-4 at Schroeder Park.

Brandon Uhse led off the Cougars first with a walk, and one out later Alex Lopez doubled to put runners at second and third . . . Anthony Tulimero singled to the gap in left-center to bring in the first two runs of the game . . . With Houston runners on second and third, Ryan Hernandez singled through the infield and the Cougars led 4-0.

Kyle LaCalameto departed after the seventh inning sporting a 4-1 lead . . . LaCalameto struck out eight and allowed just five hits on 125 pitches in an outstanding outing . . . LaCalameto also lowered his ERA to 2.92.

For the second night in a row, the Tigers rallied late to tie the game, this time it was with a three-run eighth inning against the Cougars bullpen.

The bullpen continued to struggle in the ninth and after the first two Tigers batters reached base, Houston went to the bullpen again, this time Ben Sears took the mound . . . Sears induced a groundout, a pop up on the infield, and a fly ball to center field to end the threat and send the game to the bottom of the ninth.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Anthony Tulimero hit a home run to deep left-center on a hanging breaking ball to make the Cougars walk off winners, 5-4 . . . The home run was Tulimero’s second of the season . . . Ben Sears improved to 6-2 with his inning of work in relief.

Houston and Memphis conclude the weekend series on Sunday with a scheduled first pitch at 1pm . . . At the moment, Houston has not announced a starting pitcher for the game.

Houston Loses After Late Memphis Rally

Alex Lopez bats in the first inning on Friday night against Memphis

Houston lost the opener of its weekend series on Friday night as Memphis rallied for four late runs to win 11-9 at Schroeder Park.

The Cougars struck first after a Brandon Uhse lead off single was followed by a walk to Zach Arnold . . . Alex Lopez then doubled to the left field wall to score Uhse and Arnold and the Cougars led 2-0 before the Tigers had recorded an out.

Houston added a run in the second when Ian McMillan led off the inning with a double and one out later was driven home on a single up the middle by Brandon Burckel (3-for-4) . . . Houston then proceeded to load the bases and a Lopez single scored Burckel from third, which was followed by two more runs in the frame and the Cougars led 6-0 going to the third inning.

The Tigers clawed their way back into the game, scoring four runs over the third and fourth innings and they tied the game at six with a pair of runs in the fifth . . . Deese was relieved with two outs in the fifth inning and Maddux Miller took the mound to get out of the inning.

The game did not stay tied for long when McMillan hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning to once again give the Cougars a two-run lead . . . Houston added a run in the sixth on a wild pitch to lead 9-6.

Jackson Dannelley pitched two efficient innings and faced just eight batters before giving way to Ben Sears for the eighth and ninth innings . . . Memphis scored four runs in the top of the ninth to take an 11-9 lead into the final frame.

The Houston offense got two on in the bottom of the ninth inning but could rally as they fell in the weekend opener.

Houston and Memphis continue the series on Saturday at Schroeder Park with a 6:30pm scheduled first pitch . . . Kyle LaCalameto is slated to be on the mound for the Cougars.

Houston Wins Midweek Matchup, Three-Hits HBU

Nathan Medrano throws the first pitch against Houston Baptist on Tuesday

Houston continued its midweek success, improving to 9-1 this season, with a 4-2 win over Houston Baptist on Tuesday at Schroeder Park.

With the wind blowing up and out to left field for much of the game, scores could have been higher, but Houston got solid pitching from six pitchers to limit the Huskies to just three hits in the game . . . Tuesday starter Nathan Medrano set the tone early by retiring the first six batters he faced before Houston went to the bullpen.

The two teams were scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Cougars finally broke through . . . Alex Lopez (2-for-4) led off with a double and was standing on third when a passed ball allowed him to score the first run . . . Ian McMillan then hit a one-out single into left field to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

Kerry Wright and Maddux Miller followed Medrano on the mound and both tossed scoreless innings . . . Malachi Lott pitched 1 2/3 innings and Taylor Parrett recorded an out before the Cougars went to Jackson Dannelley . . . Combined, the Houston staff only allowed three hits in the contest.

Houston Baptist got its first run in the sixth inning to cut their deficit to a run.

The Cougars added two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning . . . Brandon Burckel singled home a run before Santiago Garcia’s sacrifice fly RBI made it 4-1 going to the ninth inning.

Houston Baptist picked up a two-out run in the ninth on a solo home run, but it was not enough as Dannelley, who was great over three innings, closed the door on the Huskies and preserved the 4-2 win . . . Miller picked up the win and improved to 2-0 this season.

Freshman Tab Tracy made his first collegiate start on Tuesday and responded by going 4-for-4, which included his first hit as a collegian.

The Cougars have two days off before they host the Memphis Tigers for a weekend conference series . . . This is only one of two weekend series at Schroeder Park left on the schedule this season . . . Friday’s first pitch is at 6:30pm, expect to see Jaycob Deese on the mound for Houston.