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. –

Cougars Beat Podcast is a new series of conversations about Houston Cougars baseball.

Cougars Win in 10, Improve to 6-1

The Houston Cougars offense had to settle for ten fewer runs than they scored on Saturday night in a record-setting performance, but with the help of outstanding pitching, four runs were enough to eek out a one-run victory in ten innings on Sunday at Whataburger Field.

Blake Schultz got the Sunday start for the Cougars and went four scoreless innings while his offense was also being blanked by the other side . . . Schultz received some aid from his catcher as Kyle Lovelace caught two runners attempting to steal second in the second inning, and caught another in the third to end the inning.

Schutlz and the rest of the Cougars pitching staff was being matched by Islanders starter Hayden Thomas who pitched into the ninth inning before being lifted, but not before he struck out twelve Cougars while only walking one and scattering nine hits.

Cameron Prayer picked up an inning of work relieving Schultz in the fifth and ended the inning without allowing a run . . . Sean Bretz took the mound for the sixth and kept the game scoreless . . . With the game still scoreless, Bretz started the seventh but left with the bases loaded and no outs having allowed the Islanders to take a 1-0 on a throwing error, a situation that Layne Looney inherited . . . The Islanders plated another run on a sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 into the eighth.

Brad Burckel finally got the Cougars on the scoreboard in the eighth when he hit a solo homerun with one out, his second home run in as many games and his third of the young season . . . The Islanders got the run right back in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff home run to make the score 3-1 . . . Ryne Huggins then entered the game and ended the Islanders attempt to pad their lead.

Tyler Bielamowicz led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run to draw the Cougars to within a run, part of a 4-for-5 Sunday for the Cougars senior . . . The Cougars loaded the bases with the help of a couple of errors by the Islanders defense, then Dylan Post grounded into a double play that scored the game-tying run . . . Derrick Cherry took the mound for the ninth and kept the Islanders at bay, sending the game into extras.

In the Cougars half of the tenth, with the customary extra-innings runner being placed on second, in this case it was Brad Burckel, Brandon Uhse doubled to score Burckel and give the Cougars a 4-3 lead . . . The Cougars took that lead to the bottom of the inning, Derrick Cherry again took the mound, this time with the aforementioned runner on second . . . Cherry picked up two strikeouts but loaded the bases with a walk and a hit batter . . . However, Cherry got a bases-loaded groundout to end the game in ten . . . Cherry earned the save in the 4-3 victory.

The Cougars have the next two days away from play and will travel to Beaumont on Wednesday to take on Lamar University at 6pm . . . The Cougars will then look to improve on their 6-1 record to begin 2021, before returning home next weekend to host the Texas Longhorns.

Cougars Dominate the Islanders 14-1

Nothing about the Houston Cougars 3-2 loss to the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders on Friday night indicated that twenty-fours hours later would see a monster offensive performance in which the offense set a new school record for home runs in a game . . . A record previously set at seven in May of 1999 . . . But that is what happened at Whataburger Field on Saturday night as the Cougars scored a run in six of the nine innings.

Brad Burckel got the Cougars offense started on Saturday night when he hit the second pitch of the game out of the ballpark for a lead off home run . . . After a single by Brandon Uhse, Steven Rivas hit a two-run home run to center to give the Cougars a quick 3-0 lead.

Freshman Will Pendergrass hit his first collegiate home run in the second to lead off the inning . . . Batting again in the second, with Brandon Uhse on second base after reaching on a double, Steven Rivas delivered another two-run home run to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead.

Freshman Samuel Benjamin also hit his first collegiate home run, this one coming in the third inning . . . Tyler Bielamowicz kept the scoring going in the fourth with a two-run homerun to increase the Cougars lead to 9-0.

Will Pendergrass hit his second home run of the night, this time a two-run shot in the fifth to make the score 11-0 . . .  Later in the inning, Brandon Uhse hit a home run to give the Cougars a 13-0 lead . . . Adam Becker capped the Cougars scoring with a single in the seventh that plated Brandon Uhse and put the Cougars on top 14-0.

The eight home runs for the Cougars set a school record for a single game . . . Five of the home runs were hit with a runner on base . . . Brandon Uhse was 3-for-4 and was on base in each of his first five plate appearances . . . In addition to his two home runs, Will Pendergrass reached base two other times, hit by a pitch one time and walked another time, good production from the eight spot in the lineup . . . Samuel Benjamin was 2-for-4 with a single in addition to the solo home run.

For as good as the offense was on Saturday night, Ben Sears was that dominant on the other side . . . Staked to a big lead that continued to grow as the game went on, Sears scattered four hits over seven innings and did not walk a batter, only departing in the eighth inning after two singles started the inning for the Islanders . . . Sears gave way to Andrew Belcik, eventually one of the runners allowed on base by Sears would score on a sacrifice fly to left field accounting for the sole Islanders run in the game.

Maddux Miller started the ninth in relief, but he gave way to Derrick Cherry who recorded the final out on a fly ball to left and secured the 14-1 victory for the Cougars . . . The Cougars improved to 5-1 on the season with the win.

These two teams close out the weekend series with a rubber game on Sunday afternoon at 1pm at Whataburger Field . . . .Blake Schultz with his record of 1-0 will take the mound for the Cougars.

Cougars Rally Falls Short 3-2

The Houston Cougars baseball team took their show, and their undefeated record, on the road Friday to begin a weekend series in Corpus Christi at Whataburger Field . . . The Cougars faced-off again with the Islanders of Texas A&M Corpus Christi for the second time this week, but this time the Islanders played host and unlike the previous game, the Islanders took Friday’s contest 3-2.

Robert Gasser got his second start of the season on Friday night, and he went five innings giving up two runs while certainly keeping his team in the game . . . Gasser took the mound for the sixth, but after a hit batter, he was replaced by Jacob Deese . . . Desse promptly struck out the first batter and got the next batter to hit into an inning-ending double play.

The Cougars were scoreless until the sixth inning when Tyler Bielamowicz delivered a one-out single to left to score Steven Rivas from third . . . Bielamowicz was one of the offensive stars of the night going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and Tyler reached base a fourth time when he walked.

The Islanders added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and were about to add a run but for an alert play by Steven Rivas on a grounder just beyond the reach of a diving Brad Burckel. Rivas fielded and immediately fired to Dylan Post at home for a catch-and-tag at the plate.

Ryan Hernandez was 2-for-4 and Steven Rivas drove in the only other Cougars run on a ninth inning error that scored Cole Turney from second in a last inning would-be comeback . . . The Cougars left eleven runners on base Friday night . . . Just as in the season opener last Saturday, the Cougars used only two pitchers in the game, Robert Gasser and Jaycob Deese . . . Gasser took the loss to even his record at 1-1 on the season.

The 3-2 defeat was the first of the season for the Cougars . . . The two teams get back at it Saturday when they face off again at 6pm at Whataburger Field.

Cougars Improve to 4-0 to Start 2021

Cameron Prayer throws the first pitch Tuesday afternoon

The Houston Cougars scored double-digit runs for the third consecutive game on Tuesday while downing the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders 12-8 at Schroeder Park.

Cameron Prayer took the mound for his first start as a Cougar . . . Prayer’s teammates got him some early offense, plating five runs in the bottom of the second inning.

The scoring in the second began when third baseman Adam Becker hit a ball off the wall in left-center and two runs crossed the plate to tie the game . . . After an RBI single by Brad Burckel, Steven Rivas hit is third home run of the young season . . . Before the inning was over, the Cougars had re-taken the lead 5-2.

Steven Rivas was not done . . . After a home run by Brandon Uhse to lead off the fourth, Rivas hit another home run, a towering shot to center that cleared the fence to the left of the black screen in center . . . For Rivas it was part of a 3-for-5, 3 RBI afternoon, he has 8 RBI in the first four games.

Tyler Bielamowicz would hit a home run in the seventh that allowed the Cougars to re-take a five run lead 10-5. For Tyler it was his first of the season and part of a 2-for-3 afternoon . . . Ian McMillan continued to swing a hot bat going 3-for-5.

Brad Burckel homered in the seventh as well to extend the lead to 12-5. Burckel went the opposite way for his first home run of the year in a 2-for-4 effort.

A bevy of other Cougars pitchers saw some innings in Tuesday’s game, including Sean Bretz, Carter Henry, Ryne Huggins, and Dravin Barber . . . The Cougars offense scored a run in five of eight innings and pounded out sixteen hits.

Maddux Miller went 1 2/3 innings, struck out three batters, and earned the win for his work to go 1-0 on the year . . . Derrick Cherry closed the door in the ninth, after inheriting a bases-loaded and no outs situation, Derrick recorded three outs, striking out two batters, to lock down the 12-8 victory for the Cougars.

The Cougars hit the road now for their first road trip of the season, heading southwest to take on these same Islanders in a three-game series at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi over the weekend, first pitch Friday night is at 6pm.