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 Begin 2020 With 7-3 Win

Lael Lockhart Jr. delivers the first pitch of 2020 on Friday night at Schroeder Park.
Lael Lockhart Jr. delivers the first pitch of 2020 on Friday night at Schroeder Park.

The Houston Cougars under Todd Whitting have a strong record on opening weekends, and Friday night at Schroeder Park was no exception . . . The Cougars played host to the Youngstown State Penguins to get the 2020 campaign underway.

Lael Lockhart Jr. got the Friday night start, a familiar role for him after taking over as the Friday night starter last season . . . Lockhart was perfect through three innings with six strikeouts . . . Lockhart surrendered his first hit and run both in the fourth . . . An inning later, as some tough luck and defensive miscues took place behind him, Lockhart would exit as the Cougars fell behind for the first time in the game.

Junior college transfer Ryan Hernandez introduced himself to the Cougars fans in a big way . . . In his first at-bat, Hernandez drove a pitch deep to left-center to score Brad Burckel all the way from first and give Houston a 1-0 lead . . . Hernandez’s next two plate appearances each resulted in singles, at that point Youngstown State had seen enough, they issued an intentional pass in his next at-bat.

Brayson Hurdsman was outstanding out of the bullpen for the Cougars going the final four innings and striking out six along the way.

In the sixth inning, junior transfer Steven Rivas used his first plate appearance as a Cougar to hit a bases loaded sacrifice fly to right to tie the game . . . Ian McMillan then punched a single into right field to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.

Senior Tyler Bielamowicz got his final Cougars campaign off to a hot start with a 2-for-3 performance that included a walk . . . Bielamowicz drove in three runs on the night, including two in the seventh that placed some distance between the Cougars and the Penguins.

1,074 fans braved the chilly night of baseball and the home team delivered a 7-3 victory . . . The two teams return to the field at Schroeder Park on Saturday night at 6:30.

Cougars Sweep Sam Houston St. Series

Jared Pettitte starts against Sam Houston St. Tuesday in Sugar Land. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Jared Pettitte starts against Sam Houston St. Tuesday in Sugar Land.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars and the Sam Houston State Bearkats took the final game of their three-game series on the road to Sugar Land on Tuesday night for a neutral site game . . . Having already played at Houston and at Huntsville this season, Constellation Field played host to the final game between the two schools this year . . . Having won the first two games of the series, Houston was going for the sweep on Tuesday night.

Jared Pettitte made his fifth appearance on the year for the Cougars, and his first since being hit on the arm by a hard come-backer to the mound on April 3. Pettitte made the start for the Cougars and showed signs of having not pitched in nearly three weeks, but he was also changing speeds well and getting good breaks on some pitches. 

Cougars offense is doing it lately by putting the ball in play, not by hitting the long ball, and that continued on Tuesday night as they scored nine runs on twelve hits . . . Seven of the nine starting Cougars recorded at least one base hit in the game, led by Derrick Cherry who was 3-for-4 and Joe Davis who was 3-for-5, Jared Triolo had yet another multi-hit game going 2-for-4, getting the action started in the first with a single before eventually scoring the Cougars first run, followed by his second single of the game in the second inning . . . Joe Davis and Tyler Bielamowicz each had 3 RBI in the game.

An explosive sixth inning put the Cougars in the lead and also put the game out of reach for the Bearkats . . . After an out to start the sixth, Houston had seven straight batters reach base, and six of them would score on either singles or walks.

Cougars pitching did not allow a run after the 4th inning . . . Sean Bretz took over for Jared Pettitte in the fourth and continued his outstanding recent run of scoreless innings, going three more scoreless innings on Tuesday only allowing a hit and striking out four Bearkats . . . Brayson Hurdsman was also good over two innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two . . . Devon Roedahl made quick work of the Bearkats in the ninth throwing just eight pitches, six for strikes . . . Sean Bretz got the win, his first of the season.

With the 9-3 victory, the Cougars secured the season sweep and improved their record to 25-16 with a win over a quality program.

The Cougars hit the road now to play the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida . . . That series starts Friday at 6pm Houston time. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Take Cincinnati Series in 8-4 Finale

Sean Bretz pitches in the 9th against Cincinnati on Saturday at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Sean Bretz pitches in the 9th against Cincinnati on Saturday.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats played a series-deciding game Saturday afternoon at Schroeder Park and the game could not have been played in a better atmosphere: occasional breezes, sunny sky, no clouds, and plenty of Cougars fans in the seats . . . The series would be decided after two straight low-scoring games setting up the final game.

The Cougars did not score in the first, but they did score first, in the second inning when Jared Triolo hit a two-out bases loaded single to left that put the Cougars up 2-0 . . . For Triolo that hit was part of a 3-for-4 3 RBI afternoon.

Houston chased Cincinnati starter Garrett Schoenle in the third inning after a Rey Fuentes walk and a single by Grayson Padgett, followed by a RBI single to left field by Tyler Bielamowicz . . . Brad Burckel would follow with a sharp grounder to short that could not be fielded cleanly, it was ruled a hit and it drove in the Cougars second run of the inning while the Cougars took a 4-1 lead.

Brayson Hurdsman started on the mound for the Cougars and went 2 2/3 innings . . . Hurdsman only allowed one run on five hits and struck out four . . . Carter Henry and Nolan Bond would be called on first out of the bullpen to keep the game moving . . . Devon Roedahl relieved Bond in the fifth to protect the 4-2 lead and worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

Houston padded its lead in the sixth when they scored three runs . . . It began with walks to Triolo, and Joe Davis. A fielder’s choice would erase Davis and put Jonathan Thomas at first. Thomas attempted to steal second, but as the throw went to second, Triolo broke for home from third . . . Cincinnati shortstop Joey Bellini cut the throw off short and tried to get Triolo at home, but Triolo scored and Thomas was safe at second . . . Then Padgett walked.

Tyler Bielamowicz appeared to end the sixth with a long fly out to center, but a balk had been called, so Tyler was not out and got to bat again, and Thomas scored from third on the balk . . . Bielamowicz then dropped a single in to center field for a run-scoring single to give the Cougars a 7-2 lead. 

The Cougars offense was  oddly limited in a game where they ultimately scored eight runs on eight hits . . . Bearcats pitching walked nine Cougars batters, and they struck out nine . . . Only four Cougar batters got the eight hits: Triolo had three, Padgett and Bielamowicz each had two, and Burckel had a single.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the seventh inning with a 7-2 lead . . . A single, a walk, and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Bearcats, but Villarreal made his pitches and got out of the inning unscathed, and he followed that with a scoreless eighth . . . Sean Bretz entered the game in the ninth to get the final two outs and hold on to the 8-4 lead . . . Bretz got two fly-outs to end the game and earn his first save, he retired both batters he faced . . . Devon Roedahl earned the win with his outing, he improves to 6-2 on the year.

For Houston, the series win helped improve their conference record to 8-7 and their overall record to 24-16.

The Cougars will be off Sunday and Monday and will return to action Tuesday night at 7pm in Sugar Land at Constellation Field. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Sweep Series at Wichita State

Houston Cougars Baseball

In what turned out to be a very balanced weekend in many ways in Wichita, the Houston Cougars got their first conference sweep of the season when they took care of business against the Wichita State Shockers 7-4 Sunday afternoon.

Brayson Hurdsman got the start on the mound Sunday . . . Hurdsman would go 4 2/3 innings allowing his one and only run in his fifth and final inning of work . . . Brayson gave up four hits and struck out four . . . Sean Bretz came in to finish the fifth and also pitch the sixth, both scoreless and hitless . . . To get those four outs, Bretz threw only fourteen pitches, nine for strikes.

The Cougars offense was slower to get on the board than in the first two games, but Joe Davis got the Cougars on the board in the third with a one-out single to left that scored Jared Triolo, who was going on the pitch, from second . . . Kyle Lovelace drove in the Cougars second run in the fourth when he roped a double that bounced and hit the wall in left, one of two hits on the day for Lovelace who has seen his average jump to .198 now.

Rey Fuentes had a nice day going 2-for-3, and getting on base in the first when he was hit by a pitch . . . Fuentes is batting .361 after Sunday.

The Shockers would tie the game at 4-4 in the seventh, taking advantage of walks, hit batters, and defensive miscues . . . Again, talking about balance over the weekend, the Cougars scored seven runs in six different innings . . . Every Cougar in the starting lineup had at least one hit, and five different Cougars had an RBI . . . The downside in the mix is that Houston left fourteen runners on base on Sunday.

The Cougars took the lead back in the eighth after Tyler Bielamowicz got a two-out single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on another wild pitch . . . Derrick Cherry, who reached base via a walk when he pinch-hit for Lael Lockhart Jr., also moved around the bases and would score on an error at second on a Kobe Hyland ground ball to make it 6-4.

In the ninth Grayson Padgett added a little insurance when a hit to left-center scored Brad Burckel from second to increase the lead to 7-4.

Devon Roedahl entered the game in the eighth and got the final four outs of the afternoon, on nine pitches, seven of which were strikes . . . For his effort, Roedahl earned his third save of the year and Fred Villarreal got the win to improve to 4-1.

The Cougars now head back to Houston after the sweep and get ready to face Texas A&M at Schroeder Park on Tuesday at 6:30pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Top FIU in the 9th

Jared Pettitte's first pitch of the game against FIU on Wednesday at Schroeder Park.
Jared Pettitte’s first pitch of the game Wednesday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The threat of rain hung over Schroeder Park on Wednesday night as the Florida International University Panthers brought their shiny chrome batting helmets for the midweek matchup . . . The Houston Cougars countered with what has been a semi-regular formula for victory this year: A late rally, and a closer on the mound that is tough to score against.

A couple of wrinkles along the way told the story in this one though.

Jared Pettitte made his second consecutive Wednesday start for the Cougars . . . After a quick first inning where he retired the Panthers in order, striking out two, he gave up a leadoff homerun to the FIU clean-up hitter after he had fallen behind him 3-1. Pettitte brought a fastball and that was what right fielder Adan Fernandez was looking for and he sent the pitch over the wall in left-center . . . Pettitte would get the next batter to pop up to second.

Panthers first baseman Logan Allen then hit a lined shot off of Jared Pettitte’s throwing arm, the ball did not go far, and Allen reached first on a single and Pettitte stayed on the ground for a while as Cougars staff rushed out to check on the sophomore left-hander . . . Pettitte would walk off the field on his own, but he was in visible discomfort on his left side . . . X-rays would later show no break, we will know more in the coming days.

Ron Brown had the difficult task of relieving Pettitte under the circumstances and a rushed warm-up, and after yielding two runs and recording an out, lefty Spencer Hynes entered the game with two outs in the second and pitched an outstanding three innings, keeping the Panthers from increasing their lead and keeping the Cougars within striking distance . . . A bevy of relievers would provide scoreless, quality work out of the bullpen on the night, including Carter Henry, Brayson Hurdsman, and Devon Roedahl.

Brett Esau got a rare start on Wednesday in place of an ailing Kobe Hyland . . . Esau played third base which moved Jared Triolo to Hyland’s usual shortstop position . . . Esau had the FIU pitching figured out as he went 3-for-4 with two doubles down the left field line . . . And for his part, Triolo played short like he had been playing there his entire life.

FIU starter Christian Santana was touched up for four total runs before he left in the fifth . . . Santana was throwing hard all night, reaching 94 at one point, his command and consistency were off though, and that allowed Houston to continaully chip away at that early deficit.

The only inning where FIU actually did some damage on offense was in the 2nd, most of it after the injury to Jared Pettitte . . . Catcher Kyle Lovelace picked-off Logan Allen at second when Allen strayed too far toward third after reaching base on a double to lead off the sixth, this heads up defensive gem was a key out for the Cougars, it only goes down as a 2-6 on the scorecard, but it was a big play at the time.

Neither team would score in innings five thru eight . . . With the score tied at four, Fred Villarreal came in to the game to make sure FIU did not score in the ninth . . . Fred accomplished this mission on eight pitches.

In the bottom of the ninth, with one out Kobe Hyland pinch hit for Kyle Lovelace and was hit by a pitch, and one out later he would steal second . . . The Cougars were down to their final out when Tyler Bielamowicz singled home Kobe Hyland from second as Hyland had been moving on the pitch . . . Bielamowicw was 3-for-4 on the night with a walk . . . FIU pitcher Christian Dearman, in his second inning of work, had fallen behind Bielamowicz, and with Joe Davis standing on-deck, Dearman had to get Bielamowicz . . . The Cougars won 5-4, Fred Villarreal earned the win to go to 3-1 on the season.

The Cougars have tomorrow off and then they welcome East Carolina University (ECU) for a weekend conference series . . . First pitch on Friday night at Schroeder Park is at 6:30. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Win at Lamar; Davis Homers Again

The Houston Cougars celebrate victory at Lamar University in Beaumont on Tuesday.
The Houston Cougars celebrate victory at Lamar on Tuesday.

Stop me if you have heard this before . . . The Cougars rally late, on a Joe Davis homerun, to win, and Fred Villarreal earns a save.

That is what took place in Beaumont on Tuesday evening as the Houston Cougars visited the Lamar Cardinals, with some other drama along the way.

Clay Aguilar was on the mound for the Cougars and he looked sharp early and his breaking pitches really had nice movement . . . But Aguilar started to lose command of his pitches in the second and the pitch count rose as well . . . Aguilar would leave the game in the third, charged with four runs, but two were unearned as some bizarre baseball took place behind him in the second and third, including the Cougars committing the first two of what ended up being four errors on the night.

Some small ball would help get the Cougars get on the scoreboard in the third as a single by Brad Burckel and a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Lovelace put a runner in scoring position for a double by Jared Triolo, Triolo’s only hit of the night . . . Burckel singled in his first two at-bats, and scored both times.

Rey Fuentes, 3-for-5 in the game, hit an opposite field homerun to lead off the fourth inning . . . The fourth inning also included a single, a wild pitch, a batter bit by a pitch, a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt, another single, another wild pitch, and a partridge in a pear tree . . . When the dust settled the Cougars had scored four in the frame and were leading 5-4.

Lamar scored three in their half of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead . . . This lead held until the top of the eighth when Tyler Bielamowicz, who was on second after a leadoff double to left, was singled home by Lael Lockhart Jr., part of a 2-for-2 night for Lael as he hit the ball hard both times . . . Catcher Blake Way who had entered the game in the sixth replaceing Kyle Lovelace hit a double to center to score Lockhart from second, tying the game at eight.

Devon Roedahl had entered the game in the seventh, relieving Brayson Hurdsman, and he was outstanding . . . Roedahl ended the seventh completely freezing Lamar’s Cole Girouard on a called third strike to end the inning . . . Devon returned to the mound in the eighth and sent Lamar batters down in order to set up the ninth inning.

Joe Davis led off the ninth inning . . . Davis was sitting 1-0 when he unloaded on the second pitch he saw from Lamar’s Ryan Erickson . . . The homerun shot was a no-doubter, the left-fielder barely moved as he watched the ball sail over his head and over the left field wall . . . The Cougars would be retired in order after the Davis homerun.

Fred Villarreal came in to close the door with a 8-7 lead, and he did so on nine pitches as he retired all three batters he faced . . . For Villarreal it was his sixth save on the year.

The Cougars have little time to rest, they return to action tomorrow night back home at Schroeder Park where they will host Florida International University (FIU) . . . First pitch against FIU is at 6:30pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Take Finale in Memphis 4-3

Houston Cougars Baseball

For a while, it looked as though the Houston Cougars were doomed in Memphis this weekend . . . The offense was struggling, the defense lost seemingly easy fly balls in the sun which would lead to runs, and having lost both games of a double-header two days before, it was easy to assume the worst.

Nolan Bond got the Sunday start for Houston, only his second start of the season . . . His day ended in the fifth as he exited the game with the Cougars trailing, but still with the game within reach . . . Sean Bretz would be the first of five relief pitchers out of the bullpen in this game . . . Bretz was relieved two outs later by Tristen Bayless who got out of the inning, but the Cougars were down 3-0 and it would remain that way until the seventh.

Rey Fuentes was brought off the bench to lead off the seventh inning . . . Fuentes hit a homerun over the wall in right-center to get the Coogs on the board . . . The offense was not done in the inning though, Brad Burckel and Jonathan Thomas would both walk and Jared Triolo would bring Burckel home on a single, but Triolo was thrown out trying to get to second on the play, so the inning ended there with Memphis still leading 3-2.

Meanwhile, the Cougar bullpen was shutting down the Memphis offense . . . Brayson Hurdsman pitched an important 1 2/3 innings before being relieved by Devon Roedahl for 1 1/3 innings himself.

Houston would manufacture two more runs in the top of the eighth, one of which was Kobe Hyland scoring from first on a Joe Davis double to the wall in right-center to tie the game at 3 . . . Davis would score later on a fielders choice play at the plate that got away from Memphis catcher Jason Santana.

With the Cougars leading 4-3, Devon Roedahl made quick work of the Tigers 4-5-6 spots in the lineup to finish the eighth . . . After a scoreless Cougars half of the inning, Fred Villarreal was called in to slam the door shut on Memphis in the ninth, and he did just that . . . Villarreal retired all three batters he faced to secure the 4-3 road win for the Cougars, earning his fifth save of the year.

The Cougars are now off on Monday and they will be in Beaumont on Tuesday to take on Lamar before returning to Schroeder Park on Wednesday night. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Drop Series Finale to UConn

The Houston Cougars and UConn conclude their series Sunday. Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.
The Houston Cougars and UConn conclude their series Sunday.
Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.

Sunday did not go according to plan at Schroeder Park as the Houston Cougars and the Connecticut Huskies played the rubber game of their weekend series.

Starting pitcher Devon Roedahl had a rough go of things in the third, not helped by two errors on the left side of his infield, in addition to two hits and a walk in the inning . . . He would exit the game with the Cougars down 6-1.

Derrick Cherry was one of the bright spots in the Sunday loss . . . Hitting in the clean-up spot Cherry connected on a no-doubt homerun to left field to lead off the second inning, the first of his collegiate career . . . He also hit a single in the eighth . . . This follows his Saturday night performance where he doubled to clear the bases, all good signs.

UConn starting pitcher Jimmy Wang did enough to use the big lead his offense staked him to throw strikes and let his defense work behind him . . . Wang did allow three runs, but that was as close as the Cougars would get as the Huskies bullpen went the final 4 2/3 innings throwing scoreless baseball.

Brad Burckel, batting in the eight spot, led off both the third and fifth innings with a double in a 2-for-3 day at the plate . . . Burckel would score both times he was on base, accounting for two of the Cougars three runs on the afternoon.

Brayson Hurdsman was terrific out of the bullpen, relieving Roedahl in the third and going four strong innings, only allowing a run on three hits while striking-out four.

Cougars catcher Kyle Lovelace had a great day behind the plate, highlighted by two plays at third base, one a caught stealing from second to third, and another a pick-off of a runner taking a generous extra few steps with the pitch, Lovelace snapped a throw to Jared Triolo at third who was able to get a tag down on the would-be runner.

Left-hander Jared Pettitte saw action for the second time this season, and he struck out both batters he faced, entering the game with a runner on first.

The early deficit was too much to make up though and the Cougars fell 9-3 as UConn took the first series in conference play this season.

Houston will now have a day off before hosting Sam Houston State at Schroeder Park on Tuesday evening at 6:30pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap