Houston Drops Series Finale in Arizona

Houston Cougars Derrick Cherry 3-8-2020
Derrick Cherry bats against Arizona Sunday in Tuscon.

TUCSON – The Houston Cougars entered Sunday’s rubber game with the Arizona Wildcats with a chance to get their first series win of the season.

Tanner Green took the mound in his first career start for the Cougars . . . Green would be the first of eight pitchers for Houston in the game, and Arizona took an early 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning . . . Robert Gasser would relieve Green in the second with two outs, he would end the inning and carry the Cougars into the sixth inning, going 3 1/3 and throwing 58 pitches in a very good outing.

Houston was scoreless going into the fourth when Tyler Bielamowicz hit a one-out triple down the right field line scored Kobe Hyland from second . . . The next batter, Rey Mendoza put a bunt in play on the right side of the infield and Mendoza was too quick to first for the defense which allowed Bielamowicz to cross the plate and tie the game at two.

In the Houston fifth, freshman Rey Mendoza hit a two-out homerun to right for the first homerun of his young career as a Cougar to tie the game at three . . . Mendoza hit a 1-1 pitch deep to right, which bounced off the side wall of a batting facility the Wildcats have just outside the right field fence . . . Brad Burckel countered with a solo homerun with one out in the sixth to give the Cougars a 4-3 advantage, the first lead of the game for the Cougars.

Arizona took the lead in the bottom of the seventh when multiple walks, multiple batters hit-by-pitch, and bad luck added up to an insurmountable situation and the Wildcats scored five runs to take a 9-4 lead . . . Arizona added a run in the eighth to take a 10-5 lead into the ninth.

Cole Ferguson pitched a nice 2/3 of inning getting some work in for the young pitcher in only his third appearance as a Cougar . . . And freshman Randy Garza got a little work in, making his first appearance as a Cougar getting the last out of the eighth.

The Cougars managed some baserunners in the ninth on walks to Dylan Post and Tyler Bielamowicz, a single by Ryan Hernandez would bring home a run to make the score 10-6, but that is where the offense stopped as Arizona took the weekend series two games to one.

The Cougars head to Las Vegas next for a two-game midweek matchup with UNLV . . . First pitch Tuesday night is at 8:05pm Central Time. –

Cougars Win Behind Aguilar, Cherry Pitching

Houston Cougars Clay Aguilar 3-7-2020
Clay Aguilar faces the Arizona Wildcats Saturday in Tucson.

TUSCON – After dropping Friday’s first game in Arizona on Friday night, the Houston Cougars needed many things to change in order to win Saturday’s second game against the Wildcats.

Houston went down in order in the top of the first, and Arizona made Houston starter Clay Aguilar work, but they only managed a single run in the first frame, thanks in part to an alert play at first base by Ryan Hernandez. With runners on first and second, a groundball has hit to Kobe Hyland’s right at shortstop . . . Hyland fielded and threw to first to get the batter, but the runner from second never stopped running, he rounded third and Hernandez was able to get him at the plate and prevent the run from scoring . . . Score it a 6-3-2 double-play.

Both teams remained scoreless into the fourth inning when the Cougars manufactured three runs . . . Brad Burckel put the first run across on a one-out double that scored Hernandez . . . With the game tied, Kobe Hyland singled two batters later to score Steven Rivas and Burckel as the Cougars took a 3-1 lead.

That was the extent of the scoring Saturday night, for either team.

Clay Aguilar threw  into the sixth inning going 5 2/3 with 96 pitches. This was not a typical, crisp Aguilar start as he walked five batters and hit another, but he kept the ball around the plate and kept it in the ballpark as the Wildcats also collected eight hits.

Carter Henry entered and got a strikeout to end the inning, stranding an inherited runner at first. In the seventh, Henry loaded the bases and gave way to Derrick Cherry . . . Two pitches later Cherry got his first batter to pop-up in the infield, and Cherry made the catch to end the bases-loaded threat.

Cherry was not done yet . . . He would double to left-center in the top of the eighth, but he would be left on basepaths . . . Cherry would go the final 2 1/3 innings to earn his second save of the season . . . He was aided by an outstanding catch by right-fielder Tyler Bielamowicz in the ninth inning near the warning track in right-center, he had to go a long way to get the ball and he made it look easy.

Clay Aguilar improved to 2-0 this year with the 3-1 victory . . . Cherry threw 35 pitches, 25 for strikes in earning the save.

The Cougars and the Wildcats meet Sunday at 2pm for a rubber game in Tucson before the Cougars move on to Las Vegas for a two-game midweek set with UNLV to conclude this road trip. –

Cougars Win at Rice, 6-4

Houston Cougars 3-4-2020 via FERGTEXAS409
The Houston Cougars win at Rice on Wednesday night.
(Photo courtesy of @FERGTEXAS409 via Twitter)

The Houston Cougars traveled a few miles to Rice’s Reckling Park on Wednesday night for the first of three games against the Owls in the 2020 Silver Glove Series.

Nick Rupp got the start on the mound for the Cougars and faced early trouble loading the bases with no outs, but he would work out of the situation without allowing a run.

Ian McMillan led off the top of the second with a single, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Rey Mendoza and then a fly out to right by Luke Almendarez, before finally scoring on a passed ball to give Houston a 1-0 lead . . . Rice would take the lead right back in their half of the second on a back-to-back single and double.

In the top of the third, Brad Burckel, in his first game back since suffering an injury in Round Rock, singled home Steven Rivas from second to tie the game at two.

Tanner Green entered in the third and pitched 2 1/3 innings and did not give up any runs while only yielding two hits and walk.

The Cougars took 4-2 lead in the fourth when Tyler Bielamowicz singled to center to plate Luke Almendarez and Kyle Lovelace, both reached base on singles . . . After a scoreless fourth for Cougar pitching, Derrick Cherry doubled off the wall in right-center, and was brought home from second two batters later on an Ian McMillan single to increase the Cougars lead to 5-2.

The Cougars ran into trouble in the sixth as two runners reached base with no outs behind Jared Pettitte . . . Derrick Cherry entered the game and gave up a quick RBI single on a wild hop past third baseman Ian McMillan, then an RBI double by Trei Cruz to put Owl runners on second and third with no one out . . . Cherry then struck out the next three Rice batters swinging, the heart of the Owl lineup could not deliver as Cherry buckled-down and held on to a 5-4 lead.

Cherry followed with a scoreless seventh inning in which Kobe Hyland made two great defensive plays at shortstop, showing range and movement on both, one to his right, and one to his left in which he was well behind second when he threw the ball to first.

Tyler Bielamowicz brought home an insurance run in the eighth when he doubled to left-center to bring home Rey Mendoza from second . . . Mendoza had walked to reach base in a ten-pitch at-bat that included fouling-off five pitches . . . For Bielamowicz, the double capped-off a 3-for-4 night with a walk and a stolen base . . . Ironically, Tyler’s stolen base came when he was on first because of a fielder’s choice, the one time he did not reach base cleanly all night.

Meanwhile, Derrick Cherry was dominating on the mound, going four scoreless innings, hitting 87-89mph in his final inning of work . . . Cherry struck out five, only allowed three hits and picked up a save for his effort . . . Tanner Green got the win by virtue of his being the pitcher of record when the Cougars took the lead once and for all.

The Cougars are off tomorrow before opening a series at Arizona Friday night at 7pm. –

Cougars Fall to Texas Tech in 10

Round Rock Classic Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars and the Texas Tech Red Raiders closed out the inaugural Round Rock Classic with a thrilling ballgame that was not decided until the last of the tenth inning Sunday night at Dell Diamond.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning when Tyler Bielamowicz walked, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout to second by Brad Burckel . . . The lead would not last long though, as Texas Tech’s Dru Baker hit a homerun on the first pitch he saw to leadoff the bottom of the first.

The teams remained tied until the top of the fourth when Kobe Hyland roped a two-out double to right-center to plate Blake Way from first base, Way had reached base because of a two-out walk.

Houston starter Jared Pettitte pitched into the sixth inning, perhaps his best outing as a Cougar . . . Aside from the leadoff homerun and a triple to center that would eventually score, Pettitte was keeping his pitch count relatively low . . . Pettitte gave way to Carter Henry with one out and runners on the corners. Henry would load the bases, but he would escape the inning unscathed and go another scoreless inning in addition to that.

Neither offense was able to get a run across in innings six thru nine . . . In the top of the tenth, the Cougars were kept off the bases, setting up the bottom of the inning . . . The Red Raiders manufactured a run with a couple of base hits against Brayson Hurdsman who pitched three quality innings, the only run he allowed was the game-winning run in the bottom of the tenth to send the Red Raiders home a winner.

The Cougars hung tough with a top-ranked national team, but they fell just short . . . The solid pitching by the Cougars was not enough to outlast Texas Tech pitching. 

The Cougars head home now to face University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) on Tuesday evening at 6:30 at Schroder Park before welcoming Texas State to town for a weekend series to close out February and begin March. –

Cougars Defeat Stanford in Round Rock

Round Rock Classic Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars opened up the inaugural Round Rock Classic with a win over the Stanford Cardinal on Friday night in Round Rock at Dell Diamond.

Stanford got on the board in the first with an early 1-0 lead off of Cougars starter Lael Lockhart Jr. . . .  The Cougars got the run back in their half of the second on a Blake Way sacrifice fly to left and the game was tied at one going into the fourth . . . For Way, it was the first of three RBI in the game.

The Cougars bottom of the fourth was an adventure for everyone at Dell Diamond . . . Houston sent eleven batters to the plate and eight of them reached base with seven of them scoring . . . The Cougars took advantage of three errors in the frame, including two on one play by Stanford’s first baseman . . . The inning also saw two stolen bases, one by Blake Way, the other by Brad Burckel . . . After the big inning, Houston took an 8-1 lead into the fifth.

Lockhart Jr. settled in after the allowing the run in the first inning and was crisp with his pitches and command into the fifth when he started to scuffle a bit . . . With two outs and the bases loaded, the Cougars went to Isaiah Blaylock who quickly shut down the threat with a strikeout and without allowing any runs to score.

Stanford once again loaded the bases in the sixth, this time with no one out, and Brayson Hurdsman was brought in from the bullpen and he escaped the inning with no damage done . . . The Cardinal would get three runs in their half of the seventh to make the score 8-4.

With the game still 8-4 in the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Hernandez hammered a no-doubt three-run homerun to put the Cougars back on top by eight heading into the ninth . . . Hernandez has homered in three of his first four games as a Cougar.

Tristen Bayless entered the game in the eighth and pitched the final two innings striking out three and securing for Lael Lockhart Jr. his first win on the season and a 1-0 record while the team evened its record at 2-2 . . . Leadoff batters reached base in six of the eight innings for the Houston offense, four of those were hits, one was a walk, and the other was a hit-by-pitch.

The Cougars return to action Saturday at 2pm at Dell Diamond against the Tennessee Volunteers. –

 

Cougars Conference Bid Ends

Houston Cougars Baseball

Clearwater, Florida was supposed to play host for several days for the Houston Cougars . . . Instead, after a one-run loss on the last batter of the game on Tuesday, and a blowout at the hands of nationally ranked ECU on Wednesday, the rest of the American Championship will be played without the Cougars.

Wednesday, the Cougars had to face American Conference pitcher of the year, lefty Jake Agnos . . . As if that would not be difficult enough under normal circumstances, Houston was facing a team ranked nationally in the top ten, and a team also facing elimination.

Houston pitching was tagged for thirteen runs on fifteen hits against a very good East Carolina offense that was not ready to be sent home . . . It was a tough afternoon for the entire staff.

The Cougars scored their first run of the game in the second inning, without getting a hit . . . Brad Burckel walked to get on base, and after moving around, he would score from third on a wild pitch for the Cougars first and only run against Agnos.

Jared Triolo was 2-for-3 on the afternoon and after getting on base with a double, he would score from third on a Tyler Bielamowicz groundball out to make the score 10-2 . . . The game got further out of hand before finally ending at 13-2, eliminating the Cougars.

The Cougars now wait . . . They have been eliminated from the American Championship, so their fate lies with others . . . There will be a selection process taking place on Monday, and at that point the Cougars will know if they have been chosen to go to a regional, or not. –

Cougars Shutout UCF 2-0, Even Series

Houston Cougars Baseball

After a lopsided shutout on Thursday night, Friday night’s game between the Houston Cougars and the UCF Knights proved to be more of a taste of a series between two teams with nearly identical records.

Clay Aguilar took the hill for the Cougars and though he was laboring through long innings early, he was putting up zeroes and keeping the Knights off the board . . . He parted the game with a runner on but no outs in the fifth in favor of Sean Bretz, who subsequently ended the inning and pitched two scoreless innings on the night.

The game slugged along with base runners, but stranded base-runners . . . Neither team scored until the top of the seventh, and neither team scored after that frame.

Joe Davis would provide all the offense the Cougars needed on Friday night when he hit a two-run homerun to center in the seventh, his seventeenth of the season, and his first since April 12th at Wichita State . . . For Davis the homer was part of a 2-for-3 night, only Brad Burckel joined Davis with multiple hits in the game.

Fred Villarreal pitched a scoreless final three frames to earn his tenth save of the year . . . For UCF, this was their first nine-inning shutout of the season . . . Sean Bretz picked up the win, his second of the year . . . Clay Aguilar lowered his ERA to 2.65, which is an extraordinary number for someone who did not start the season as the “Saturday starter” but has moved into the role nicely.

The Cougars can claim the road series on Saturday when they conclude the series with UCF at 5pm Houston time in Orlando. –

Cougars Edged by Rice 2-1

Houston vs. Rice Owls 5-14-2019
Jared Pettitte prepares for the first pitch Tuesday in Sugar Land.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

After a soggy week in the Houston area, Constellation Field in Sugar Land provided a perfect atmosphere for baseball on Tuesday night as the Houston Cougars and Rice Owls played their third game of the season against each other, this one was the rubber game to see who would take home the Silver Glove.

Jared Pettitte made his fourth start of the season and he was getting good movement in his three innings of work . . . Leadoff walks in the third and fourth would score in both innings, the only two runs of the night for Rice . . . In both instances, the leadoff walks were followed by more free baserunners, a walk in the third and a hit batter in the fourth.

The Cougars got on the board in the fifth when Tyler Bielamowicz hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Jared Triolo who had reached base by getting hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.

Aside from Cherry, Houston’s offense was mostly silenced by Rice pitching . . . The Cougars were limited to the one run and only six hits . . . The six hits were collected by only three Cougars, Cherry had three, Burckel had two, and Jared Triolo had a two-out single in the six . . . Nine walks kept runners on the bases all evening for the Cougars, that make the fourteen runners left on base a difficult stat to accept in a one-run loss.

Cougars pitching did not allow a run after the fourth inning as Nolan Bond, Brayson Hurdsman, and Devon Roedahl went the final six innings worth and only allowed two hits.

Derrick Cherry reached base all five times he batted on Tuesday with three singles and two walks . . . A disciplined ninth inning at-bat ended with a one-out single to center that moved Brad Burckel from first to second ahead of potential late-inning heroics, but it was not to be as the next two Cougars batters both grounded out to give Rice the 2-1 victory and the Silver Glove to hold onto for a year.

The Cougars will travel to Orlando, Florida to begin a three-game weekend series with the University of Central Florida to close out the regular season schedule . . . The series in Orlando begins Thursday at 5:00pm local time. –

Cougars Shut-Out UNLV 2-0

Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UNLV at Schroeder Park on Saturday night. Photos by Cougars Beat.
Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UNLV at Schroeder Park on Saturday night.
Photos by Cougars Beat.

Potential inclement weather canceled Friday night’s game between the UNLV Rebels and the Houston Cougars . . . Having decided the game would not be made up meant the two teams could stretch their lineups as needed with this brief two-game series.

The Cougars offense was in business in the bottom of the first after a Brad Burckel walk and a stolen base, then an intentional pass to Joe Davis . . . Derrick Cherry put a ball in play toward short that was too slow for the UNLV defense to turn a double play, when Cherry was safe at first, Burckel was the first run to score for the Cougars when he crossed home . . . After a Tyler Bielamowicz single, Rey Fuentes followed with a clean single up the middle into center field which scored Derrick Cherry from third to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

Lael Lockhart Jr. got his eleventh start of the season against UNLV, and he was cruising for the most part . . . The few times Lockhart faced adversity, he was quick to get out of it without any damage, in one instance Kyle Lovelace caught a popped bunt in front of homeplate and doubled-up the runner on first with a quick, accurate throw . . . In another instance Brad Burckel fielded a bouncing ball right on top of second base with a running bearing down on him, his throw to first completed another double-play behind Lockhart.

The innings pitched quickly stacked up as Lockhart faced only three batters in five of his innings pitched . . . Lockhart eventually took the mound in the eighth inning still maintaining his 2-0 lead.

Bryson Stott entered Friday’s action hitting .365 for UNLV, the highest batting average on the team and the team leader in homeruns with ten . . . Stott was 0-for-4, striking out twice against Lockhart who went 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball against a good hitting team that only got five hits off of him and struck out five times.

Devon Roedahl came into the game with two outs in the eighth to get the final out with two runners put on base by Lockhart . . . Roedahl induced a ground ball to short that Kobe Hyland handled easily to get the runner at first and end the inning . . . Roedahl returned to the mound for the ninth after the Cougars went down in order in the bottom of the eighth.

An error at third was followed by a deep grounder to short, Kobe Hyland was able to field the ball but unable to make a clean throw to Burckel at second as Kobe was falling away from the throw . . . Roedahl struck out the next two batters, then loaded the bases with a walk, he then recorded his third strikeout of the inning to end the game and secure the 2-0 win for Houston . . . Roedahl did not allow a hit in his 1 1/3 innings that earned him his fourth save on the year . . . Lockhart for his outstanding effort was rewarded with his fourth win as he loaded his ERA to 3.03 with his scoreless effort.

The shortened weekend series with UNLV concludes Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park, first pitch is at 1pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Rally But Drop Series at USF

Houston Cougars Baseball

Sunday’s rubber game between the University of South Florida Bulls and the Houston Cougars featured starting pitchers named late in the series and the Cougars coming off of an impressive 7-1 win on Saturday night, after a close loss on Friday night.

Ryan Randel ended up getting the Sunday start for the Cougars and he pitched reasonably well . . . Randel would allow two runs in four innings of work, and he would also strike out six batters . . . Sean Bretz relieved Randel in the fifth with runners on and was lights-out, hitting 95mph to stop the threat . . . And Bretz would go two more innings without allowing a run and keeping his team in the game.

Meanwhile, Alec Wisely was in command on Sunday as he went 6 2/3 innings and did not allow a run while giving up five hits and while allowing Cougars to reach base, he was not allowing them to cross home plate.

The Cougars would score all of their runs in the eighth inning after Tyler Bielamawocz and Joe Davis were hit on back-to-back pitches by USF reliever Nelson Alvarez . . . Derrick Cherry got a run home on an infield single and a throwing error . . . After a walk to Grayson Padgett loaded the bases, Rey Fuentes put a ball in play that the Bulls defense could not handle and the Cougars took a 3-2 lead on the fielders choice.

Devon Roedahl entered the game and pitched a perfect eighth . . . After a scoreless top half of the ninth for the Cougars, Fred Villarreal entered the game to try to shut the door . . . The Bulls would not quit, and after a pinch-hit leadoff single and a popped-up bunt for the only out of the inning, USF would get a walk-off homerun from Alex Bello to win the game 4-3.

Despite scoring three runs, the Cougars offense left runners on base in seven of the nine innings, eight in total . . . Kyle Lovelace was 2-for-3 on the afternoon, joining Brad Burckel as the only other Cougar with two hits . . . Five Cougars collected the seven hits on Sunday.

The Cougars are headed back to Houston now and will be off until Wednesday when they play Rice at Reckling Park . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm Wednesday evening. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap