Late Rally Costs Houston, Split Series with Memphis

With a chance to win their first conference series of the year, the Houston Cougars were without a usual weekend starter as they took on the Memphis Tigers for the fourth time in three days on Sunday at FedEx Park.

Jaycob Deese missed a start this weekend out of an abundance of caution for a tweaked hamstring, so Matt Lazzaro made only his second start of the season for the Cougars, and his first start since the Cougars visited Lamar on March 3rd. 

Scoreless in the second, Steven Rivas led off the inning with a single to center, his seventh hit of the weekend in Memphis, and he subsequently stole second base . . . Skyler Trevino, facing an 0-2 count, picked up his first collegiate RBI on a two-out single to right field that plated Rivas and gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

Brad Burckel led off the third inning with a home run over the right field wall, his fifth home run of the season, and the Cougars led 2-0 . . . One out later, Ryan Hernandez hit his tenth home run of the season over the left field wall to increase the lead to 3-0.

Still 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh, a leadoff single would lead to Lazzaro’s exit . . . The Tigers only threatened Lazzaro in a couple of frames as he scattered five hits over six innings to go with eight strikeouts . . . Maddux Miller took the mound with no outs and a runner on first . . . The Tigers loaded the bases, but Miller struck out a pinch-hitter looking and got a ground out to short to end the inning.

A Trevino RBI single in the eighth pushed the Houston lead to 4-0 . . . Trevino was 3-for-4 with 2 RBI in Sunday’s game.

Things fell apart for Houston in the bottom of the eighth as Memphis scored eight runs and brought thirteen batters to the plate . . . Walks were the story of the inning as the Houston bullpen issued six free passes in the eighth and before the inning was done, Memphis led 8-4.

Bielamowicz doubled with one out in the ninth, but that was the extent of the Houston offense as Memphis closed out the game and evened the weekend series at two wins each.

Houston has a few days off now before they face University of Central Florida in a series which begins on Thursday . . . First pitch from Orlando is at 1pm, expect to see Robert Gasser on the mound for the Cougars for his final start before the American Athletic Conference Championship tournament in Clearwater. –

Houston Wins in Comeback Fashion, 7-5

The Memphis Tigers looked headed to an easy win on Saturday at FedEx Park, before all things started working for the Houston Cougars who eventually took the game 7-5.

Houston starter Carter Henry did not seem long for the game in the first inning as Memphis took a 3-0 lead on three hits and two wild pitches . . .  The Cougars bullpen was active in the first, never a good sign . . . The Tigers added another run in the second when a two-out walk later came around to score.

Skyler Trevino walked to lead off the third . . . That was followed by singles by Brad Burckel and Tyler Bielamowicz to load the bases for Ryan Hernandez . . . Hernandez dropped a single into left field which scored Trevino and Burckel and cut the Memphis lead to 4-2.

Dylan Post and Ian McMillian hit back-to-back singles to lead off the fourth . . . Samuel Tormos delivered a sacrifice fly ball to center field to score Post and get Houston to within a run at 4-3.

Bielamowicz led off the fifth with a walk, and that was followed by Hernandez being hit by a pitch . . . Memphis went to the bullpen and then Steven Rivas delivered a game-tying double to left-center . . . Will Pendergrass was then hit by a pitch to load the bases . . . Post flew out to the left-fielder and Bielamowicz scampered home on the sacrifice as the go-ahead run at 5-4.

Trevino and Tormos both walked to get the Cougars sixth inning started . . . Burckel was ruled out at first on a batters interference call . . . Bielamowicz was batting when the Tigers catcher attempted to pick off Tormos at first, but the throw got past the first baseman and Trevino raced from second to score and increase the Cougars lead to 6-4.

Henry departed in the sixth after getting two outs, Derrick Cherry took the mound to get the final out and end the Tigers threat . . . Henry settled down after those first two innings and left the game with his team leading after blanking Memphis for his final 3 2/3 innings.

The Tigers got a run in the seventh on a leadoff home run to cut the Houston lead to 6-5.

Brandon Uhse led off the eighth with a pinch-hit double, Burckel was then hit by a pitch . . . After the Tigers went to the bullpen, Bielamowicz (2-for-4) singled to left to score Uhse and extend the Cougars lead to 7-5.

Cherry (5) pitched the final 3 1/3 innings to earn the save for the second time in as many days, he struck out the final two batters of the ninth to end the game, the final out being the conference leader in home runs, Hunter Goodman . . . The hard-earned win also improved Henry’s record to 2-4.

After being set down in order in the first two innings, the Cougars got their leadoff batter on base in each of the next four innings, all innings in which they scored at least one run . . . Two of those times it was the eighth spot in the order.

Houston and Memphis close out their weekend series on Sunday with a first pitch scheduled for 11am . . . The Cougars have not yet announced a starter at this time. –

Houston Takes Finale, Splits Weekend Series with USF

Carter Henry throws the first pitch in Sunday’s second game at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars and South Florida Bulls got things started on Sunday at Schroeder Park with a 10am first pitch in the first game of a doubleheader . . . Like Saturday, the teams split the day and eventually the weekend series as the Cougars dropped game one 4-0 but won the second game 5-2.

Game one saw South Florida score a run in both the second and fourth inning as Ben Sears worked his way through the bright-and-early Sunday opener.

While the offense was quiet, Sears was working his way through the game . . . In the fifth, after a runner reached first on a throwing error, the next batter put a ball in play just in front of home plate, catcher Dylan Post fielded and threw to second base where Ian McMillan lept into the air to field the throw, he landed on second and fired the ball to first to complete the unconventional double play and erase the runner who had reached on an error.

Sears took the game into the seventh inning and exited with two outs in favor of Andy Belcik, one out away from a complete game (in seven innings) . . . After the Bulls increased their lead to 4-0, the Cougars went to the bullpen again, this time Matt Lazzaro got the call to get the final out.

The Cougars offense could put nothing together against Bulls starter Collin Sullivan despite three pinch-hitters also having a chance to take some swings . . . Houston had two total hits in the contest, a double by Brad Burckel and a double by Tyler Bielamowicz.

Ben Sears went 6 2/3 and allowed just two earned runs while striking out five but he was on the wrong end of a shutout and took the loss as the Cougars fell 4-0.

Carter Henry took the hill for a sunny afternoon game two and unlike Ben Sears, not only did Henry get run support, he got it early.

In the bottom of the first . . . Brandon Uhse hit a double to the wall in left, and Brad Burckel follow with a single and then stole second . . . Designated hitter Dylan Post hit a ball to the opposite field, dropping it just inside the left field foul line for a double that put the Cougars in front 2-0.

South Florida tied the game in the third scoring their only runs of the game on three singles and groundout.

Both teams were kept quiet offensively until the bottom of the seventh . . . With two outs, Brandon Uhse walked and Brad Burckel followed with an opposite field double that went to the wall in the left field corner scoring Uhse from first base . . . Tyler Bielamowicz walked and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third . . . Ryan Hernandez in his second at-bat of the game having pinch hit in the fifth, powered a single to left-center which scored both runners widening the Houston advantage 5-2 going to the eighth.

Brandon Uhse was 2-for-3 and Brad Burckel was 2-for-4, accounting for four of the Cougars six hits in the second game.

Carter Henry kept the Bulls off the scoreboard through eight innings of terrific pitching . . . It was Henry’s second time in his three starts to go eight or more innings . . . Sean Bretz took the mound for the ninth inning and quickly got the Bulls down in order to close out the 5-2 victory . . . Henry improved to 1-2 with the win and Bretz earned his first save of the season.

The Cougars are off for a few days before heading to New Orleans for a series with Tulane beginning Friday at 2pm with a doubleheader as they conclude American Athletic Conference action. –

Cougars Split Weekend Opener with South Florida

Robert Gasser delivers a first pitch strike on Saturday at Schroeder Park

After Friday’s weather altered the weekend series between the Houston Cougars and the South Florida Bulls, a cloudless sky greeted the two teams on a warm Saturday afternoon that saw the teams split a doubleheader . . . The Cougars took the opening game 9-2, but dropped the second game 8-4 in ten innings.

Houston starter Robert Gasser allowed a run in the second inning as the Bulls took an early 1-0 lead . . . The Cougars offense got on the board in the fourth on an Ian McMillan single that plated two and put Houston in front 2-1 . . . McMillan was 3-for-4 in the contest and is joined by Brad Burckel as the only Cougars with multiple hits in game one . . . After the Bulls tied the game in the top of the fifth, the Cougars quickly re-took the lead 3-2 after a Brad Burckel triple was followed by a Ryan Hernandez single.

Still leading 3-2 in the seventh, the offense scored six runs highlighted by a Will Pendergrass grand slam off the scoreboard in right, his sixth home run of the year, which gave Houston a 9-2 lead.

Robert Gasser completed eight innings and exited having thrown 114 pitches allowing six hits and striking out seven . . . Maddux Miller came in and got the final three outs to secure the victory for Gasser, who improved to 5-3 on the year.

Jaycob Deese got the start in game two and after a scoreless opening inning, his offense started building some support behind him.

Brad Burckel walked with one out in the first, he subsequently stole second and third, and then scored on a wild pitch for an early 1-0 lead . . . In the second, three straight singles to start the frame added two runs to the Cougars tally as Ian McMillan drove home a run and Dylan Post plated one on a sacrifice fly to left and the Cougars led 3-0.

Deese struggled in the third, allowing a three-run home run to tie the game, but he settled down and went seven strong innings, striking out six, and retiring the final ten batters he faced before giving way to Derrick Cherry for the eighth . . . Cherry tossed scoreless eighth and ninth innings and the Houston offense had a chance to walk the game off in the ninth when Tyler Bielamowicz and Steven Rivas both singled to start the inning, but two pop-ups and a strikeout left the runners in place.

The game went to extra innings and as has sometimes been the custom this season, both teams were able to start the inning with a runner on second base . . . The Bulls took advantage of two defensive miscues in the inning to score five runs (all unearned) and take a commanding 8-3 lead into the bottom of the tenth . . . The Cougars were able to score their runner from second but nothing more even though they loaded the bases and had the tying run at the plate, they fell 8-4.

The Cougars are now 14-19 overall and 2-8 in American Athletic competition . . . The Cougars had relatively good offensive balance in both games, where seven of the nine spots got base hits and each spot got on base at least once, one way of the other, aside from the nine spot in game one.

The Cougars and the Bulls will return to action early on Saturday with first pitch at Schroeder Park scheduled for 10am . . . Game one on Sunday will only last seven innings, and a second game will be played 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one. –

Cougars Drop Two in Wichita on Friday

Will Pendergrass bats in game two Friday in Wichita

The Wichita State Shockers welcomed the Houston Cougars to Wichita, Kansas on Friday with two sound conference wins in a day-night double-header that the Shockers took by scores of 10-2 and 7-1.

Jaycob Deese got the start in game one on Friday and Deese was scoreless through four but ran into trouble in the fifth . . . The Shockers plated six in an inning where nothing went right for Houston, from bad luck and bad hops to odd plays that never felt right . . . Lefty Cameron Prayer entered the game with one out and the bases loaded he got one groundout that allowed a sixth run to cross the plate, but he got a flyout to end the inning as the Shockers took a 6-0 lead into the sixth.

In the sixth, Dylan Post reached base on a one-out single into right-center . . . Brandon Uhse followed with a walk . . . With two outs, Ryan Hernandez powered a single into left-center that plated Post . . . Tyler Bielamowicz followed with a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 6-2 going to the bottom of the sixth.

The Shockers continued to pad their lead on Cougars pitchers Maddux Miller and Tristen Bayless eventually taking a 10-2 lead and final score in game one.

The Cougars mustered just six hits in game one, two of those were by Brad Burckel, who was the only Cougar with multiple hits in the game as he went 2-for-3 in the loss.

Robert Gasser took the mound in game two and the story of game two was much the same as the story of game one, the Shockers scored plenty while the Cougars offense scuffled.

Things started well for the Cougars as Brad Burckel worked a one-out walk, and after reaching second on a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch moved Brad to third, and another wild pitch allowed him to score and give the Cougars an early 1-0 advantage to end the top half of the first . . . But that would be the Cougars only run of the night.

The Cougars offense could not get anything going against Shockers starter Liam Eddy in game two . . . Aside from two hits, the last coming in the third, Eddy retired sixteen straight batters to close out his eight innings of work before giving way to the Wichita State bullpen for the ninth . . . Steven Rivas added a single in the ninth, but that would be all for the Cougars as they fell 7-1 in the nightcap.

Andy Belcik pitched 1/3 of an inning in relief of Gasser who went 6 2/3 innings . . . Dravin Barber got in two innings of work and allowed just one run as rain fell and the wind howled . . . Tyler Bielamowicz exited game one with an apparent back injury after making a defensive play and he did not play in game two.

The two squads return to action in Wichita on Saturday . . . Carter Henry will make his second consecutive weekend start after a tremendous outing last Friday . . . First pitch takes place at 2pm. –

Gasser Dominates, Cougars Open Conference with 5-3 Win

Robert Gasser opens American Conference play Thursday at Schroeder Park

685 days after their last game within the American Athletic Conference, the Houston Cougars welcomed conference foe Wichita State University to Schroeder Park on Thursday night and walked away with a 5-3 win behind another outstanding mound performance by Robert Gasser.

The Cougars offense got things started in the first when Luke Almendarez reached base on a one-out single . . . That was followed by a Ryan Hernandez single . . . A wild pitch moved both runners up a base before Tyler Bielamowicz plated Almendarez on a grounder to second as the Cougars took a 1-0 lead . . . Worth noting that Brandon Uhse was back in the lineup after leaving Sunday’s game after he was hit by a pitch that caught hi front section as he was squaring to bunt.

In the second, Will Pendergrass led the inning off with a double to left-center . . . Brad Burckel followed with a single that scored Pendergrass . . . Three batters later, Burckel stole second, his tenth stolen base of the season, and Brandon Uhse hit the next pitch into left field scoring Burckel and increasing the Cougar lead to 3-0.

For the second consecutive time through the order, in the fourth inning, Pendergrass and Burckel both led off the inning by getting on base, this time a hit batter and a walk put the two on base . . . Ian McMillan put down a sacrifice bunt that moved the runners up . . . With the runners going on the pitch, Kyle Lovelace executed perfectly on a suicide squeeze as he put a ball in play that stopped moving about ten to twelve feet from home plate and no play was made anywhere as Pendergrass scored to extend the Houston lead 4-0.

Robert Gasser was cruising, he had allowed one hit through four and his second hit in the fifth, and did not allow a hit in his final two full innings of work . . . Houston added a run in the seventh when Tyler Bielamowicz hit a sacrifice fly to left-field to score Brandon Uhse from third and giving the Cougars a 5-0 lead.

Gasser exited after 7 2/3 of scoreless baseball, having only allowed only two hits while striking out twelve . . . Gasser struck out his final batter, and he also struck out the side in his last complete inning, the seventh . . . Derrick Cherry entered the game tasked with getting the final four outs.

The Shockers plated three in the eighth after Gasser’s exit on a hit to center and a throwing error that allowed an extra run to score, followed by a single that squeaked through up the middle and into center field, the Cougars still led 5-3 . . . Cherry pitched a scoreless ninth to end the game and send the Cougars home victorious . . . Gasser picked up the win improving to 4-2 on the year.

The Cougars offense scattered eight hits throughout the game, and Luke Almendarez was the only Cougar with multiple hits as he went 2-for-4.

The Cougars and the Shockers meet again on Friday for a double-header . . . Carter Henry, making his first start since the 2017 season, will start game one . . . Henry is one of only three Houston pitchers who have pitched in American Conference action prior to this weekend . . . Jaycob Deese will start game two, his second start and second consecutive weekend start . . . First pitch is at 2pm at Schroeder Park. –

Houston Walks-Off Series Finale in 10

Luke Almendarez makes a throw to first in Sunday’s series finale with UTA

Fresh off a Saturday double-header, the Houston Cougars and UT-Arlington Mavericks needed one extra inning to settle Sunday’s series finale at Schroeder Park . . . The Cougars prevailed 5-4 in ten innings to split the weekend series as heavy clouds and sporadic rain showers held of just long enough.

The Mavericks wasted little time getting things going, a two-out single was followed by a two-run home run to right for an early 2-0 lead against Houston starter Ben Sears.

Houston leadoff hitter Brandon Uhse was attempting to bunt and instead got a pitch right in the mid-section of his body . . . He stayed in the game long enough to take his base and was eventually erased on an inning-ending double-play, but he left the game and Jonathan Thomas took his place in the batting order and in center field for the remainder of the game.

Steven Rivas led off the second inning by hitting the first pitch saw over the right field wall . . . The next three straight batters reached base for the Cougars on two singles and a walk . . . Samuel Tormos then hit a chopper to short and the fielders choice allowed Will Pendergrass to score from third . . . With Brad Burckel on third, Tormos took off for second in an attempt to steal second, Mavericks catcher Andrew Miller fired to second and Burckel broke for home, second baseman Tommy Williams was not able to field the throw cleanly, Burckel crossed home plate just moments before Tormos was thrown out at first base allowing the run to count and giving the Cougars a 3-2 lead.

Ben Sears got two outs in the sixth and after a walk he was relieved by Derrick Cherry . . . Cherry got a fly out to center to end the sixth frame for the Mavericks who stranded runners on second and third . . . Sears went 5 2/3 innings and only allowed the two earned runs in the first inning, he exited with the lead and the chance to win the game if the Houston lead held . . . Sunday’s outing was a solid rebound outing for Sears.

Derrick Cherry followed with a scoreless seventh, but the Mavericks tied the game in the eighth as they manufactured the unearned tying run . . . A scoreless ninth for both offenses sent the game to an extra frame.

In extra innings, with the rule in place that a runner starts on second base to begin each inning, the Mavericks immediately bunted their runner to third . . . A shallow fly to right-center was then caught by Steven Rivas and with the runner at third tagging, Rivas fired home, the throw was wide and Houston catcher Kyle Lovelace had to move to his right to field the ball and then dove toward the plate to attempt to get the runner, but the runner was ruled safe at home and UTA took a 4-3 lead.

The Cougars began their half of the tenth with pinch-runner Andrew Papantois on second base . . . Brad Burckel hit a slow roller up the first base line that the pitcher was unable to get a grip on, Papantonis moved to third on the play . . . It was Burckel’s second hit of the afternoon and he was the only Cougar with multiple hits . . . Ian McMillan followed with a single toward second base that the second baseman fielded but his throw to first as he was falling away from first was weak, and it allowed McMillan to reach on the single while Papantonis scored the tying run.

Kyle Lovelace came to the plate with no outs and runners on the corners . . . Lovelace bunted the first pitch between the mound and first base, the first baseman fielded with his glove and tossed the ball home in the same motion but Brad Burckel snuck in around the catchers tag attempt to score the winning run and give the Cougars a 5-4 win.

Ryne Huggins picked up the win, his first of the season, as the result of pitching 1/3 of an inning, ending the tenth . . . All told, Derrick Cherry pitched four innings and did not allow an earned run and added two strikeouts . . . In ten innings, the Cougars offense managed just six hits, but it was enough as five runs scored . . . The Cougars improve to 12-11 with the win Sunday and they spilt the series with the Mavericks; a series which featured thirteen home runs over the four games between the two squads.

The Cougars open conference play Thursday at Schroeder Park when they host Wichita State University for a four game series . . . The Easter weekend schedule will open with Thursday’s game beginning at 6:30pm, a double-header will be played on Friday beginning at 2pm, and the concluding game will begin at 11:30am on Saturday. –

Hernandez Homers Three Times in Opener, Cougars Drop Twin Bill

Jaycob Deese offers up the first pitch in game two of Saturday’s double-header

The Mavericks of UT-Arlington took both games of a Saturday twin bill by a combined score of 20-14 over the Houston Cougars at Schroeder Park.

Before the Cougars came to bat in the first, they were already attempting to erase a 3-0 deficit . . . With one out, Luke Almendarez hit his first collegiate home run to trim the UTA lead to 3-1 . . . The Mavericks then added a grand slam in the third to increase their early lead to 7-1 . . . Carter Henry relieved starter Blake Schultz in the third.

In the Cougars half of the third, Ryan Hernandez hit a two-out three-run home run to draw the game closer at 7-4 . . . After the Mavericks added two runs in the top half of the fifth, Hernandez hit his second home run in as many at-bats, sending one 424 feet to cut into the UTA lead 9-5.

Hernandez hit his third home run of the game in the seventh, a two-run shot with Luke Almendarez on second after a one-out double to left-center . . . Almendarez (3-for-5) and Hernandez (3-for-4) were the only Cougars with multiple hits in game one, they each had three hits . . . Hernandez is the first Houston Cougar to homer three times in a single game since Connor Wong did it against Tulane in April 2017.

Carter Henry threw 5 2/3 innings in his appearance, allowing three hits and three strikeouts . . . Henry’s outing was a tremendous boost for the bullpen as he ate up a lot of innings after a short start from Blake Schultz . . . Tyler Bielamowicz recorded the first out in the top of the ninth when he went high on the left field wall to bring back what was sure to be a two-run home run, instead it was recorded as a long out.

Mavericks shortstop Josh Minjarez hit his second home run of the game with two outs in the ninth to give his team a 12-7 lead that the Mavericks would hold on to after a scoreless final two innings from the Cougars offense.

Jaycob Deese took the mound for the Cougars in game two, making his first start for Houston but his ninth appearance.

In the bottom of the first, Steven Rivas doubled to plate one run in giving Houston an early 1-0 lead. . . Will Pendergrass followed with a two-run home run to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead . . .For Pendergrass, it was his second home run in as many days and his fourth of the season as he went 2-for-3 and walked once in the second game.

UTA took a 4-3 lead in the fourth when a sacrifice fly to center scored a runner from third who had reached base on a double and then moved over to third on a groundout . . . Brad Burckel put the Cougars back in front when he hit a two-run home run off the scoreboard in right field to give the Cougars a 5-4 advantage in the fourth.

UTA tied the game at five in the seventh on a solo home run to center field as Deese’s night came to an end . . . Prayer relieved Deese after the home run and go three fast outs to end the frame . . . Prayer went 2 2/3 innings being replaced with two outs in the eighth by Layne Looney . . . Looney would add another inning of work, holding the Mavericks and keeping the Cougars within three at 8-5 . . . The Cougars mounted a two-run rally in the ninth but they fell a run short in the 8-7 Saturday finale.

The Cougars and the Mavericks close out the four-game weekend series on Sunday at Schroeder Park . . . Houston has not yet announced a starting pitcher, though with recent history it would be safe to assume right-hander Ben Sears will take the ball for Todd Whitting’s team . . . First pitch is at 1pm. –

Cougars Win Behind Gasser, 4-1

Robert Gasser tosses the opening pitch Friday night at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars welcomed the UT-Arlington Mavericks to Schroeder Park Friday night for a four-game weekend set with a 4-1 victory behind another outstanding performance by Cougars starter Robert Gasser.

The two teams were scoreless going into the fourth when the Mavericks plated their sole run of the evening on a single to center by first baseman Dylan Paul.

With two outs in the fifth, Will Pendergrass reached on a bouncer to deep short that he legged-out at first for a single . . . An errant attempted pick-off throw that got past the first baseman moved Pendergrass to second . . . Brad Burckel than drove a ball to the wall in right-center under the scoreboard for a game-tying triple . . . Kyle Lovelace followed with a single into center field that scored Burckel giving the Cougars a 2-1 lead.

Gasser picked-off two runners in the game, both broke for second base as Will Pendergrass fielded throws from Gasser that he relayed perfectly to Ian McMillan at second for both outs.

Will Pendergrass hit a one-out solo home run in the home half of the seventh to extend the Cougars lead to 3-1 . . . As soon as Pendergrass connected on the pitch that was low and inside, he knew it was gone . . . One out later, the Mavericks went to the bullpen for the first time of the evening . . . Pendergrass was 2-for-3 in the Friday contest, as was teammate Kyle Lovelace, the only two Houston players with multiple hits.

Gasser was still strong the later the game went, hitting 93mph on his hundredth pitch in the eighth . . . Gasser, in picking up the win, would go 7 2/3 innings allowing just one run and striking out nine on 111 pitches . . . The outing was Gasser’s longest of the season, surpassing his seven inning start against Texas . . . Derrick Cherry took the mound with two on and two out and got a strikeout to end the UTA threat.

The Cougars added an insurance run in the eighth on a fielders choice off the bat of Tyler Bielamowicz that brought home Luke Almendarez from third . . . Derrick Cherry retired the side quickly in the ninth, striking out two, including the final out . . . Cherry picked up his second save on the year with his 1 1/3 innings on the mound . . . Gasser earned the win, his third of the season.

Ryan Hernandez returned to the lineup on Friday, though in a somewhat limited role . . . Hernandez served as the designated hitter and batted in the three spot, a spot usually occupied by Steven Rivas who was moved to the five spot for the game . . . Hernandez lined a single to left-center in the eighth for his only hit of the game, and his first hit in nearly two calendar weeks.

Houston and UTA square-up again on Saturday in a double-header with the first pitch slated for 2pm . . . Right-hander Blake Schultz with start for the Cougars in game one, and no starter has been named yet for the Cougars in game two. –

Run-Rule Ends Cougars Road Trip

Steven Rivas faces Oklahoma on Sunday in Norman, OK

A disappointing road trip to Norman, Oklahoma came to a close on Sunday as the Sooners swept their three game home series with a 12-2 defeat of the Houston Cougars in a seven-inning run-rule shortened game.

Ryan Hernandez was not in the lineup at all in the weekend series with Oklahoma . . . Ryan has not appeared in a game since last Tuesday when he had a single pinch-hit appearance against Texas A&M.

After being held scoreless through two innings, the Sooners opened up the scoring with four runs in the third inning, capped by a two-run home run to left by Conor McKenna . . . Ben Sears rebounded nicely with a quick fourth inning facing only three batters, striking out one.

The Cougars put together a two-run fifth inning started on a one-out single by Brad Burckel, who moments later stole second . . . Brandon Uhse hit an infield single to third which scored Burckel from third . . . After a single by Will Pendergrass, Steven Rivas doubled deep into the left field corner, Uhse scored easily, but Will Pendergrass was thrown out at home on a nice relay from the third baseman . . . The scoring had cut the Sooner lead down to 4-2.

But the Sooners had a rebound of their own when they exploded for five runs in the fifth keyed by a Brandon Zaragoza two-run home run giving the Sooners a 9-2 lead . . . Ryne Huggins relieved Sears with two outs and ended the inning without further damage.

The Sooners added a run in the sixth on a solo home run, and one-out later Huggins would be relieved by Layne Looney . . . Looney issued two walks and was quickly relieved by Sean Bretz, who also walked two on his way out of the game . . . Maddux Miller entered the game and walked one, the fifth straight Sooner, before getting an inning-ending fly out to center, but Oklahoma had taken a 12-2 lead.

The Cougars had a chance to extend to the game in the seventh with the run-rule in effect for a Sunday game, but after putting runners on first and second courtesy of two lead off walks, a double-play and a strikeout ended the frame and the game as Oklahoma took the game 12-2 and swept the three game series.

Brad Burckel was 2-for-2 in the Sunday contest while Steven Rivas was 2-for-3, the only two Cougars with multiple hits, accounting for four of the team’s seven total hits in the defeat . . . The bottom three spots in the batting order totaled three hits and two walks in the seven inning game, this is always a good sign for the Cougars when the bottom of the order is getting on base, but the top and middle of the order is hampered with the absence of Ryan Hernandez.

The Cougars will now work their way back to Houston where they will host a double-header against Prairie View A&M on Wednesday . . . Look for right-hander Blake Schultz to get one of the starts on Wednesday . . . First pitch is at 2pm from Schroeder Park. –