Houston Opens Final Home Series with 9-6 Win

Ryan Hernandez bats in the second inning Friday night against UCF

The Houston Cougars defeated UCF 9-6 on Friday night at Schroeder Park, and they had to erase an early four run deficit to do it.

Houston faced an uncharacteristic 4-0 first inning deficit before they even came to bat on Friday night, but as often has been the case with the 2022 Cougars, they played nine innings of baseball and found a way to win.

Cameron Nickens led off the bottom of the second inning with a ground-rule double into right field . . . Ryan Hernandez (2-for-2) followed with a home run to center field that split the Texas and United States flags beyond the wall and the deficit was cut in half, 4-2.

Anthony Tulimero led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single and Nickens followed with a single, his second hit of the ballgame . . . Hernandez followed with his second home run of the game, a shot to left-center field, and Houston led 5-4 . . . For Hernandez the two homers were his fourth and fifth in the last five games, and his tenth and eleventh of the season.

One out later Malachi Lott tripled to center field . . . Brandon Uhse lined a two-out single to left field and the Houston lead increased to 6-4 going to the fifth inning.

Logan Clayton took the mound in the fifth inning with two runners on base and no outs . . . One run would score, but a sacrifice fly to center field turned wild on a throw that got past Zach Arnold at third base as the base runner was trying to tag up from first base to third base . . . Clayton was backing up third base and dove on the loose ball in front of the Cougars dugout, as the runner made for home, Clayton got up and fired a dart to Tulimero at home plate to catch the runner and end the frame with Houston leading 6-5.

Maddux Miller entered the game in the seventh inning with two down and got a swinging strike out to end the frame.

Ben Sears took the mound for the eighth inning protecting a one-run lead and retired the Knights in order, striking out two.

Leading by a run in the bottom of the eighth, Hernandez was walked for his second straight plate appearance, with one out . . . Ian McMillan doubled into the left field corner to put runners on second and third with one out . . . Santiago Garcia, pinch-hitting for Lott, swung at the first pitch he saw and unloaded on the baseball deep to left-center field for a three-run home run and a 9-5 Houston lead.

Houston benefited from the insurance runs because a two-out solo home run for UCF in the ninth inning made it 9-6, before Sears finished off the Knights and earned his twelfth save of the season . . . Clayton improved his record to 6-3.

With East Carolina winning on Friday night, the Pirates hold a two game edge over the Cougars, who continue to occupy the second spot in the standings, now two games ahead of UCF.

The Cougars (34-16) and the Knights continue the series on Saturday when they play again at Schroeder Park, first pitch will be at 6:30pm . . . Kyle LaCalameto will be on the mound for Houston.

2022 Schedule

* This is a fluid post, it will be updated as the gaps are filled in, until the Cougars reveal the entire 2022 schedule.

February 18-20, MLB4 Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona
– Feb 18 vs California-Berkeley
– Feb 19 vs San Diego State
– Feb 20 vs TCU

Feb 22 at McNeese State in Lake Charles, LA
Feb 26-27 vs UTRGV
March 8 at Rice
March 11-13 at Louisiana in Lafayette. LA
March 15 at Texas A&M
March 22 at Sam Houston State
April 1-3 vs Wichita State
April 5 vs Sam Houston State
April 14-16 vs Tulane (Thur, Fri, Sat, Easter weekend)
April 19 vs Houston Baptist
April 26 at Lamar
May 4 vs Rice
May 6-8 at Wichita State
May 10 vs Sam Houston State at Constellation Field in Sugar Land
May 17 vs Rice at Constellation Field in Sugar Land
May 19-21 at East Carolina
May 24-29 AAC Tournament in Clearwater, Florida

Timely Hitting, Tough Pitching Lead Aggies Past Cougars

Blake Schultz throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Tuesday

The Houston Cougars had few answers against Texas A&M at Schroeder Park on Tuesday night as the Aggies walked away 9-4 winners.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard in the first inning when a bases loaded groundout by Tyler Bielamowicz scored Brandon Uhse from third base . . . But that would be the only Cougars run until they plated three more in the fifth inning.

The Cougars fell into a deficit in the second inning when the Aggies nine-spot hitter, Kalae Harrison, hit an opposite field grand slam that just cleared the left field fence . . . Ryne Huggins entered the game in the second and ended the bigger threat even while walking one batter as the Aggies held the 4-1 lead.

The Cougars were without Ryan Hernandez in the middle of the lineup, for the most part, Hernandez was injured on the last play of Sunday’s win and was held out defensively Tuesday as part of a day-to-day routine . . . Ryan saw one at-bat in the fourth as a pinch-hitter, but the appearance was to no avail.

The Aggies added to the lead on a two-run home run in the fourth by Austin Bost . . . Andy Belcik entered the game with no outs and worked out of a jam to keep the Cougars in the game.

Ryne Huggins pitched two important innings, carrying the game into the fourth for the Cougars after the short outing by starter Blake Schultz.

The Cougars mounted a rally in the fifth when Luke Almendarez (2-for-5) led off the inning with his second hit of the night . . . With one out, Tyler Bielamowicz went with a pitch and drove it into right field for a single, Almendarez moved to third on the play . . . Ian McMillan promptly drove a line drive into left scoring Almendarez . . . Will Pendergrass (2-for-4) then drove in two runs with a single to right cutting the Aggies lead to 6-4 before the fifth ended . . . Pendergrass and Almendarez were the only Cougars hitters with more than one hit in the Tuesday contest.

Andy Belcik left the game in the sixth with two outs, the importance of his outing on Tuesday cannot be overlooked, he ate up some big innings in the middle of the game and kept the Cougars in the game.

The Aggies scored two in the sixth to increase their lead to 8-4.

Ben Sears pitched a scoreless seventh, in a rare midweek appearance for the right-hander, who has been the Saturday starter, but was unable to pitch out of the second inning in his last start against Texas State . . . Sears threw eighteen pitches and struck out two batters, the appearance will likely be considered part of a regular throwing routine for Sears and should not prevent him from starting on Saturday.

The Aggies added a run in the eighth, taking a 9-4 lead that they would hold onto as they sent Houston on the road now with a loss.

In all, eight pitchers saw action for the Cougars on Tuesday night . . . Of the eight pitchers, only three did not yield a run to the Aggies.

The Cougars will now have an off day before leaving for Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma Sooners in a weekend series . . . First pitch from Norman is at 6:30 on Friday evening. –

Cougars Win Road Series, Improve to 10-5

Houston wins their second consecutive road series in San Marcos on Sunday

Pitching was not the name of the game this weekend in San Marcos, with the notable exception of Robert Gasser in his Friday night start, as the Houston Cougars left town with an 8-7 victory and a series win . . . Houston outscored Texas State over the weekend 29 to 25, a weekend which saw the wind blowing out on Saturday and blowing in on Sunday.

To get the game started in the first, Tyler Bielamowicz took a one out walk, then Steven Rivas singled to right on the next pitch moving Bielamowicz to third . . . Ryan Hernandez hit a liner toward shallow left-center and the Bobcats centerfielder made a sliding grab, but Tyler tagged-up and scored from third to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

Texas State tied the game at one in their half of the inning, also on a sacrifice fly to center . . . The Bobcats extended their lead in the third when they scored on a single followed by two a two-run home run by Johnny Gonzalez to give them a 5-1 lead.

The Cougars put together a multiple-run inning of their own in the fourth when they got singles from Ryne Edmondson, Will Pendergrass and Brad Burckel . . .  A bases load walk to Kyle Lovelace scored one . . . Brandon Uhse then worked a 2-0 count and Texas State coaches had seen enough from their starter, they went to the bullpen in the middle of the at-bat . . . After the pitching change, Uhse knocked a double into the left field corner scoring two and getting the Cougars to within a run . . . Tyler Bielamowicz tied the game at five with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Neither starter made it out of the fourth inning as Houston starter Cameron Prayer exited in the fourth and was relieved by Jaycob Deese . . . Deese ended the threat after inheriting a runner on first with no outs.

Four straight Cougar batters reached base to lead off the fifth inning . . . Will Pendergrass was one of those four, hitting a single to right that gave the Cougars a 6-5 lead . . . Kyle Lovelace then grounded into a double play that scored a run to make the score 7-5 . . . Brandon Uhse then drove a double into right-center to push the Houston lead to 8-5.

Meanwhile, Jaycob Deese tossed scoreless fifth and sixth innings, but got into some trouble in the seventh before being lifted for Derrick Cherry after three innings of work . . . A run scored on a bases loaded walk, but Cherry struck out three batters to limit the damage . . . Cherry then worked a scoreless eighth.

The Bobcats clawed their way toward a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, after plating on run on a single to left . . . Derrick Cherry then got a bouncer to Brad Burckel who started the game-ending double play as the potential tying run crossed the plate . . . Jaycob Deese improves his record to 2-1 with the 8-7 win and Derrick Cherry earned his first save of 2021 with his three innings of relief pitching.

In a reversal of Saturday’s loss, the bottom five spots in the Cougars batting order saw three batters produce two hits each and it accounted for eleven runners on base and scored seven runs . . . Brandon Uhse was 2-for-4 on Sunday with 3 RBI in the lead off spot . . .Will Pendergrass, Ian McMillan and Brad Burckel each contributed two hits to the road win.

The Cougars close out this road trip with a 3-1 record and have won both road series this season and improve to 10-5 on the 2021 campaign.

The Cougars head back to Houston now and have a day off tomorrow . . . Houston returns to action on Tuesday night at 6:30pm when they host Texas A&M at Schroeder Park. –

Rivas Homers Twice, Cougars Fall in San Marcos

Houston Cougars vs. Texas State Bobcats in San Marcos on Saturday

With rain showers to the north and the wind blowing out at great speed  on Saturday afternoon, the Houston Cougars took their undefeated record on the current road trip to Bobcat Ballpark hoping for a third straight road win . . . In a semi-reversal of Friday night, Houston took an early lead on Saturday, but Texas State pummeled the Houston pitching staff on their way to a 15-9 win.

The Cougars took an early lead in the top of the first, after one-out singles by Tyler Bielamowicz and Steven Rivas, Ryan Hernandez kept things going with the third straight single, driving in Bielamowicz from third to give the Cougars an early 1-0 advantage.

The Bobcats went quickly in the first, but they tagged Houston pitchers for four runs in the bottom of the second to take a 4-1 lead . . . Texas State would score a run in every inning after that, with the exception of the seventh.

The top of the third inning saw some bizarre activity . .  .Brandon Uhse hit a grounder that seemed routine, but a wild throw to first landed Uhse at second base on an error . . . A few pitches later, Tyler Bielamowicz swung and fouled a ball off, but his swing was interfered with by the catcher and while it was not initially called, the umpires convened and eventually got the call right, awarding  Bielamowicz first base and putting two runners on. . . Steven Rivas sent the next pitch over the wall in left-center to tie the game at four . . . For Rivas it was his first home run in two weeks and his seventh of the season.

Texas State did not let the tie score last for long, answering immediately with a solo home run to retake a 5-4 lead. Sean Bretz saw some trouble, exacerbated by hitting a batter with a pitch, but he got double play to second to end the inning and keep the game a one-run affair.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Bobcats padded their lead eventually taking a 7-4 lead into the fifth . . . After blanking Houston in the top of the inning, the Bobcats added a run in the fifth on a bases loaded walk . . .Ryan Hernandez made a diving grab into foul territory on a liner to end the inning.

Ryan Hernandez then led off the top of the sixth with a home run to left, to make the score 8-5 as the Cougars attempted to inch back . . . Texas State got the run right back in the bottom of the sixth on a lead off home run, putting them in front 9-5.

Texas State cushioned their lead in the bottom of the eighth adding six runs and putting a lot of distance between the two squads as  the Bobcats took a 15-5 lead into the ninth.

After two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for Houston in the top of the ninth, Steven Rivas cleared the bases with a grand slam to right, his second home run of the day to go with seven RBI . . . The slam would get the Cougars to within six runs at 15-9, but moments later the Bobcats ended the game and the Cougars road win streak.

Rivas (3-for-5) and Hernandez (2-for-5) each had multiple hits, accounting for five of the Cougars seven hits . . . The bottom five spots in the Cougars lineup were hitless as all hits were generated by the top four in the order  . . . By contrast, the Texas State offense had twenty hits and seven home runs and scored at least one run in six of eight frames.

On an average day nine runs would be enough to win a game . . . Saturday was not average.

The Cougars and Bobcats will play a rubber match Sunday at 1pm to conclude the series . . . The Cougars have not announced a starting pitcher yet, but look for left-hander Cameron Prayer to make his second straight Sunday start, Prayer is rested having not pitched since his shortened start last Sunday. –

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. –