Shutout in Orlando on Saturday

The story of Saturday’s game in Orlando, Florida between the Houston Cougars and the Central Florida Knights was told in the first inning.

The Cougars were set down in order to open the game . . . Then the Knights came to bat.

Central Florida hit a leadoff home run, and five singles followed while the Knights quickly took a 4-0 lead and chased starter Carter Henry from the game with only one out in the first, and the bases loaded . . . Left-hander Ryne Huggins was brought in from the bullpen, and aside from a hit batter that allowed a fifth run, got the final two outs and ended the inning.

Huggins got the game into the fifth, keeping the Knights from adding to their lead . . . Following a leadoff walk, Cherry relieved Huggins after 3 2/3 innings of hitless, scoreless baseball . . . Cherry faced three batters and got three outs to end the fifth, but the Cougars still trailed 5-0.

Cherry would depart after two innings of work, he did not allow a run or a hit and struck out one . . . A solo home run in the seventh would extend the Central Florida lead 6-0 . . . Cameron Prayer struck out the side in the seventh and Layne Looney pitched a scoreless eighth.

Freshman Samuel Tormos, batting in the two spot on Saturday, singled in the eighth to extend his consecutive games-reached streak to five games . . . The Cougars offense was unable to threaten the Central Florida pitching staff, collecting eight hits in the game, with no Cougars batter having multiple-hits, as they fell 6-0.

The Cougars and the Knights do it one more time tomorrow in Orlando, for Houston it will be game number 50 . . . First pitch will be at 3pm . . . Houston has not yet announced a starting pitcher. –

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 Ends 2021 Home Schedule with Loss

Carter Henry tosses the opening pitch Sunday at Schroeder Park against Cincinnati

Senior Day preceded the series finale Sunday at Schroeder Park where the Houston Cougars fell to the Cincinnati Bearcats 10-3, dropping the series 1-3.

With two outs in the top of the first, Cincinnati collected a single followed by a two-out home run to left to take the early 2-0 lead.

Brandon Uhse led off the Houston half of the first with a home run to left field to get the Cougars scoring started . . . Houston tied the game in the bottom of the second when, with the bases loaded, Brandon Uhse drove in his second run in as many innings with a sacrifice fly to deep left -enter that scored Will Pendergrass (2-for-4) from third base.

The Bearcats re-took the lead in the fourth on a double to right field that scored two and chased Carter Henry from the game . . . Maddux Miller quickly got a fly out to left, but a run came home on the sacrifice to put Cincinnati in front 5-2.

A single by Cincinnati scored a runner from second base, despite a close play at the plate, and the Bearcats took a 6-2 lead . . . The Cougars went to the bullpen once again in favor of Matt Lazzaro who ended the frame.

A wild pitch in the seventh brought Ian McMillan home from third to cut into the Bearcats lead 6-3.

But Cincinnati answered right back, adding four runs in the eighth on a series of hits and batters hit-by-pitch . . . Before it was said and done, Houston trailed 10-3 and Sean Bretz took the mound with two outs in the inning . . . Bretz pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in the loss.

Houston has played their final home game of 2021 and they head to Memphis next week for a weekend series with the Tigers . . . First pitch of the Friday doubleheader is set for 1pm, expect to see Robert Gasser on the mound in that game. –

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 Continue to Struggle in Saturday Loss

Changing ballparks has not changed the outcome as the Houston Cougars continued to struggle against Wichita State Shockers in a 10-1 defeat on Saturday afternoon . . . After playing a Friday double-header on the Shockers home field at Eck Stadium, the action Saturday moved to a new minor league ballpark in downtown Wichita, but the song remained the same as the Cougars dropped their second consecutive conference series.

After not scoring in the top of the first, the Shockers got a two-run home run from Paxton Wallace for an early 2-0 lead on Houston starter Carter Henry.

A few wrinkles in the Cougars usual lineup offered some new looks, especially with Tyler Bielamowicz out with an injury suffered in Friday’s first game . . . Samuel Tormos got the start in left field, he reached base twice, once when hit by a pitch right on the helmet, and he also took a walk in his next at-bat.

Dylan Post handled catching duties on Saturday, giving Kyle Lovelace some time off after he caught parts of both games on Friday . . . Post doubled in the first . . . And Adam Becker played first base for the second day in a row and collected a base hit.

Henry lasted 2 2/3 innings and was relieved by Blake Schultz in the third . . . Schultz issued a bases loaded walk, but was injured on his last pitch and had to leave the game with the Cougars trailing 3-0 . . . Another bases loaded walk and an infield single added salt to the wound as the Shockers took a 5-0 lead by the time the third inning ended.

Not producing offensively, the Cougars pitching could not slow the damage as Hunter Gibson hit a grand slam in the fifth to give the Shockers a 9-0 lead.

Houston finally got on the board in the seventh when Ian MicMillian hit a two-out solo home run . . . Houston had six hits in the contest, all by different hitters, and McMillan’s home run accounted for the only run on Saturday as Wichita State starter Jace Kaminska pitched a complete game on 105 pitches.

Layne Looney pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh and allowed a run in the eighth as the Shockers took a commanding 10-1 lead which would hold up as the Cougars went down in order in the ninth.

The Cougars and Shockers play their eighth straight game against each other on Sunday in Wichita . . . Ben Sears will take the mound for the Cougars looking to make the best starting appearance of the weekend for Houston . . . First pitch Sunday morning is at 11am. –

Two Great Mound Starts Not Enough As Cougars Drop Two

Carter Henry delivers Friday’s first pitch at Schroeder Park

Cougars pitching stole the show Friday, as Carter Henry and Jaycob Deese each pitched brilliant games, but the Houston offense was stymied as Wichita State took both games of the weekend double-header by scores of 3-2 and 2-1 at Schroeder Park.

Carter Henry made the game one start, making his first start since the 2017 season, has been a reliever, and often a long reliever in the past . . . Last Saturday, Henry pitched a solid 5 2/3 innings in relief against UT Arlington . . . The Shockers got to Henry for a run in the first inning, one of three runs off Henry on the day.

Brandon Uhse hit a pitch that was over the middle of the plate over the left field wall for a leadoff solo home run to tie the game at one in the bottom of the first . . . An inning later, Will Pendergrass scored on a wild pitch, after reaching base with a single, to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead . . . The Cougars would not score again in game one.

Shockers tied the game in the fourth, at which point Carter Henry went the next four innings without allowing a run . . . With the game tied at two in the ninth, a leadoff home run by third baseman Paxton Wallace gave the Shockers a 3-2 lead.

The Cougars began a rally in the ninth when Steven Rivas hit a one-out opposite field double to left, the first Cougars hit since the second inning . . . The rally was not to be though as the final two batters could not plate Rivas to tie the game, which the Shockers took by a final of 3-2.

In a semi-repeat of game one, the Shockers got one run off Deese in the top of the first to take an early 1-0 lead . . . Deese was solid over the next 6 2/3 innings, holding the Shockers scoreless until they added a run in the eighth after Deese left the game with a runner on second . . . Andy Belcik did end the inning, but not before Wichita State had taken a 2-0 lead.

After fourteen scoreless innings on the day, the Cougars finally put a run on the board in the eighth when Will Pendergrass hit a sacrifice fly to right . . . Aside from that, Schocker pitching was tough on the Cougars on Friday, allowing three total runs on eleven combined hits in both games . . . Four Cougars had one hit in game one, and Dylan Post (2-for-4) and Ryan Hernandez (2-for-4) were the only Cougars with multiple hits in game two.

Both teams have scored eight runs in the series to this point, and Houston is 13-13 overall and now 1-2 in American Conference play . . . Henry and Deese were hard luck losers on Friday, each pitched well enough to win but for lack of runs to back them up . . . Henry tossed 8 1/3 innings yielding six hits and striking out five . . . Deese countered by throwing 7 2/3 innings allowing eight hits and striking out six.

The Cougars close out the homestand and the opening series of conference weekend on Saturday when they host the Shockers in a noon finale at Schroeder Park . . . Ben Sears will be on the mound for the Cougars. –

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 Avoid Shutout Late, Drop Game 2 in Norman

Andy Belcik faces the Oklahoma Sooners Saturday in Norman, OK

The Houston Cougars had no answers for the questions the Oklahoma Sooners were posing on Saturday afternoon in Norman, Oklahoma as the Sooners took game two of the weekend by a final score of 19-1.

For the second straight day, Ryan Hernandez was not anchoring the lineup, still nursing an injury . . . Hernandez injured himself on the final play of last Sunday’s win in San Marcos, and has only had one pinch-hitting since then, that came on Tuesday against Texas A&M.

After neither team scored in the first frame, Oklahoma took a modest 1-0 in the bottom of the second on Houston starter Cameron Prayer, making his first Saturday start of the season, but his fourth start overall.

Things unraveled at that point when a four run third was followed by a five run fourth, both of which preceded a six run fifth as Oklahoma took a commanding 16-0 lead.

Oklahoma starter Jake Bennett went six strong innings allowing just two hits and striking out six on an efficient seventy-six pitches . . . While the Sooners bullpen kept Houston off the scoreboard, Oklahoma was adding to their lead on a three-run home run in the seventh to extend the lead to 19-0.

Houston finally got a run across the plate in the eighth when Brad Burckel singled to score Luke Almendarez from third to make the score 19-1 . . . Almendarez was on base after his second single of the afternoon, he was 2-for-3 in the game and the only Cougars with more than one hit.

Carter Henry pitched the seventh and eighth innings for the Cougars, he was the only pitcher that Oklahoma did not score on . . . Henry allowed two hits, as the Sooners collected twenty total hits on Saturday.

The Cougars will try to salvage a game on this road trip when they face-off against the Sooners again on Sunday . . . Ben Sears will be on the mound for Houston . . . First pitch will be at noon. –

Houston Drops UT Series in Sunday Finale

Tyler Bielamowicz facing Texas in the 6th inning Sunday

For as well as the Houston Cougars played on Friday and Saturday, the final result in Sunday’s 8-2 loss at Schroeder Park was not indicative of the rest of the series, especially the pitching.

Texas got on the scoreboard quickly on Sunday, plating four runs on only one hit in an inning that included four walks and a crucial error with the bases loaded.

Will Pendergrass hit a one-out double in the second, and he was quickly advanced to third on a wild pitch . . . Moments later Ian McMillan brought Pendergrass home on a sacrifice fly to center to get the Cougars on the board as they trailed 4-1.

Kyle Lovelace led off the third inning with a hustle-double to left-center, he never slowed down on what could have been just a single . . . Lovelace then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Brandon Uhse groundout to shortstop . . . The lead was cut in half to 4-2 at the end of the third.

Andrew Belcik and Carter Henry both provided solid efforts when they needed to . . . Belcik went 2 1/3 innings and Henry went 2 2/3 innings, the two were only separated by 1/3 of an inning by Sean Bretz . . . Overall the staff allowed ten walks and only seven hits on Sunday.

Cougars offense was mostly stymied all afternoon striking out twelve times and only garnering four walks and five hits . . . The three and four spots were 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against the Longhorns pitchers that kept them off balance.

Freshman Dravin Barber picked up his first collegiate strikeout in 1 2/3 innings of scoreless pitching out of the bullpen . . . Layne Looney followed Barber and pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to close out the afternoon for the pitching staff . . . A combined six pitchers pitched out of the bullpen on Sunday, a luxury somewhat afforded by the close games of the last two days and starting pitchers going late into innings both days.

A Texas home run in the top of the ninth increased the Texas lead to 8-2, the Cougars only sent three batters to the plate in the ninth, Sykler Trevino reached on a leadoff walk, but was erased shortly after on a double-play started by the Texas shortstop . . . The loss drops the Cougars record to 7-4.

Kyle Lovelace also threw out the only attempted base-stealer of the afternoon, continuing to remove runners from the bases . . . After the game, Lovelace was asked about his work, and he was quick to credit others, “I pride myself on defense, that’s what got me here.” “I wouldn’t be able to do the things that I do without the guys that we have on this team,” Lovelace said as he heaped praise on the pitching staff’s ability to hold runners by being quick to the plate, and the middle infielders being quick with tags.

“I thought for two games we competed like crazy. Like I told the team after the game, if we lose we lose as long as we play hard, but I don’t think we competed well today,” Head Coach Todd Whitting said after the loss. “We’ve just got to turn the page on this week.”

The Cougars have a couple of days away from game action as the new week starts, they head to San Antonio on Wednesday to take on University of the Incarnate Word . . . First pitch in San Antonio is at 6:30pm. –

Cougars 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.