Houston Swept in Seven Inning Finale

The Houston Cougars continued to have few answers to the Wichita State offense on Sunday as the Shockers took the final of eight straight conference games in a run-rule shortened 13-2 victory.

The Shockers scored four in the first inning and added one more in the second to take a 5-0 lead while the Houston offense was scuffling.

Houston starter Ben Sears got the game into the third inning before giving way to Derrick Cherry with one out . . . Cherry stranded a runner at second to end the frame.

Adam Becker hit his first home run as a Cougar, a two-run shot in the fourth on an 0-2 pitch to cut the Wichita State lead to 5-2 . . . Cherry added a scoreless fourth, but Wichita State took advantage of some defensive miscues in the fifth and scored four runs, two of those unearned . . . Cameron Prayer replaced Cherry and ended the inning with the Shockers leading 9-2.

A Grand slam by Shockers third baseman Derek Shaver in the sixth made the score 13-2 . . . With runners on base and Prayer unable to end the inning, Colby Casey made his season debut and got a double play to end the sixth.

The Cougars were put down in order in the seventh and the run-rule ended the weekend road trip with a 13-2 loss . . . The Cougars only had five hits in the seven inning contest, Ryan Hernandez had two of those as he went 2-for-3 . . . The bottom four of the Houston order only had one batter reach base at all on Sunday, Ian McMillan, who singled in the third . . . Steven Rivas did not play on Sunday, he was out of the starting lineup against the lefty Spencer Hynes who got the start for Wichita State and went five complete innings . . . The run-rule shortened game is the second of the season for the Cougars, the rule also ended the final game in Norman against the Sooners three weeks ago.

The Cougars head back to Houston now to host East Carolina for a four-game weekend series starting with a double-header on Friday . . . First pitch in game one at Schroeder Park will be at 2pm. –

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 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.

Future Cougar: Adam Becker

Houston Cougars signee Adam Becker bats for Grayson Junior College in 2020.
Adam Becker at-bat for Grayson Junior College

Adam Becker recalls his favorite baseball memory. It was when his parents made sure the Yankees were going to be in Arlington to face the Rangers, young Adam got a chance to go see his favorite player at the time: Derek Jeter. Adam does point out that he was not a Yankees fan, just a Jeter fan.

Houston Cougars signee Adam Becker was born in Odessa. Adam started playing the game at four years of age, as he pointed out, “that’s pretty much the earliest you can play.”

Adam and his family moved to Midland when he was in the second grade. Becker would eventually attend Midland Lee High School. As a sophomore in 2016, Becker played for a great Lee team, which had seven guys go to “upper level” D1 baseball programs, and that team was also one win away from a chance to play for a state championship in Round Rock.

“That was the best team I’ve ever played on,” Adam says. “We were an old team, a lot of older guys who all led.” People in the Midland area still talk about that team, that was the only baseball team from the area to ever make it that far.

“Adam was gangly pup that resembled more of a baby giraffe than a baseball player when he was a freshman in high school,” says Adam’s head coach at Lee, Brian Roper. “It was in the summer of 2015 when I noticed that he was the one that spent the most time in the cage up at our facility. The kid had great work habits! He made himself into a better defensive player as well. Those work habits payed off as Adam was a huge part of leading our school to the regional finals as a sophomore 3rd basemen. In the playoffs…he arrived!”

In subsequent seasons at Lee, Becker hit .429 and .394 and the college offers began appearing. Adam chose Oklahoma State and in his freshman year he was on a team that was stacked and he saw action in only a few games. That Cowboys team made it to a Super Regional against Texas Tech in Lubbock, and they pushed the Red Raiders to a deciding third game before their season ended a win away from going to Omaha. Becker then decided to attend a junior college (Juco) and he began looking for the right fit.

Adam sought help and advice from a friend and former Odessa College baseball coach. His friend advised him to consider Grayson Junior College in Denison. Becker says of the advice, “When I made it public I wanted to go to a Juco, he said that (Grayson) would be the best opportunity for me, the best place for me.”

Becker did choose Grayson Junior College. He got playing time immediately and in nineteen games he saw seventy at-bats and collected twenty base hits. Adam admits that the first couple of weeks of the season were somewhat about knocking the rust off after having not seen too much playing time for Oklahoma State. But he compares baseball to learning to ride a bike, the more you practice the more comfortable you get. “The more I played, the more I left like I got back into it,” Becker said. “I did feel like it hurt me not having a ton of playing time my freshman year. But, the more playing time I had against college players this past year the more I fell back into it, into the swing of things.”

Becker recalls mid-March this season when baseball got put on hold across the country. On the Friday of that final week, “we had team lift in the morning and at that point the domino effect kind of already started, there were D1s shutting down. So we had an idea of what might happen.” But Adam and his Vikings teammates continued to put in work until their coach brought them together for a team meeting where he said, “there’s no word yet, but we won’t practice this weekend, we can’t, so if you want to go home, go ahead.” Becker says, “I decided I was going to come home for the weekend so I packed up some stuff and came home.”

A week passed.

“On that Saturday night he (his head coach) texted us again and said, ‘stay home another week because we can’t practice for a week’ and the timeline just kept getting longer and longer and eventually we got a text that the season was going to be over.”

Houston Cougars signee Adam Becker takes batting practice for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Adam Becker takes BP at Oklahoma State

So, already at home, Adam continued to lift weights at home with the local gyms closed, and working out with his younger brother who will be a senior in high school next year, “so it’s been good, I’ve been using him as a workout partner,” Becker said.

Now, Adam Becker, a 6-5 infielder, will be headed to Houston next month to continue his baseball and academic journey. Brian Roper, head coach at Midland Lee, believes in big things for Adam, “Today Adam is so projectable for pro ball. Great size and great power.”

On what to expect when he arrives in Houston, Becker says, “I know this is a big class.” But, he is ready to work, and ready to compete.

“I know what I have to do and I know that regardless of what I’ve been told I have to come in and compete and actually fight for that spot that I want and that’s the beauty of it all is that competition makes the best out of people. So I’m looking forward to the competition.” –