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 Bounce Back, Win 3-1 Over Cincinnati

Kobe Hyland bats against Cincinnati on Friday at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Kobe Hyland bats against Cincinnati on Friday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

A very windy afternoon with a cloudless sky greeted the Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats for game two of their series Friday at Schroeder Park.

The ballgame got off to an ominous start as Clay Aguilar walked the leadoff batter. Then, he promptly picked-off the runner at first base for the first out of the game.

Part of the winning formula for Houston in recent weeks has included scoring runs early in the game . . . The Cougars returned to that formula on Friday when they jumped on Cincinnati starter Evan Shawver early . . . Jared Triolo worked a leadoff walk on seven pitches . . . Two outs later, Rey Fuentes lined a double all the way to the wall in right-center to score Triolo from first . . . Derrick Cherry hit the next pitch on the ground between the shortstop and the third baseman into left field, Fuentes was racing home from second and was going to beat any type of throw home, but the throw from left fielder Joey Wiemer was off and eventually ruled an error, which allowed Cherry to end up at second base.

The early 2-0 lead was just what the doctor ordered . . . Aguilar was able to pitch with a lead, he was changing speeds well, and he was getting his fastball high and low and got some ugly swings from Bearcat batters.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Evan Shawver was on his game, after the run-scoring first inning, Shawver struck out eight Cougar batters and had 1-2-3 innings fives times in the game in his seven innings of work.

Houston only had five hits in the game, two of them by Kyle Lovelace in a 2-for-3 performance that raised his batting average again, he now sits at .232 on the year, a marked improvement over where he was just two weeks ago, and he is batting .313 in conference play this season.

Clay Aguilar went 6 1/3 innings allowing just one run on six hits while striking out five . . . Sean Bretz entered the game to relieve Aguilar and serve as a bridge to getting the ball to Fred Villarreal . . . Bretz was clocking 94mph as he worked a scoreless 2/3 of an inning to get the Cougars out of the seventh . . . Villarreal started the eighth as he was once again called upon to get six outs on his way to a save.

The two runs in the first would be all the Cougars would get until they tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth in what could have been an explosive inning after Jared Triolo was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs . . . The Cougars settled for one run on a ground-out to short by Grayson Padgett which plated Lovelace from third to give Houston a 3-1 lead.

Over his two innings of work, Fred Villarreal struck out two and only allowed one hit in earning his ninth save on the season . . . Clay Aguilar picked up his fourth win of the year with his performance . . . The Cougars evened their conference record at 7-7 with the 3-1 victory.

The Cougars and the Bearcats conclude their weekend series with a rubber game Saturday at 1pm at Schroeder Park. An Easter egg hunt for the kids follows the game, so get to the ballpark on Saturday and bring the kids. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Drop Close Game to Cincy, 3-2

Houston Cougars vs Cincinnati Bearcats 4-18-2019
The Cougars bat against Cincinnati on Thursday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Cincinnati Bearcats arrived in Houston playing better than their current record of 17-19 would indicate . . . Thursday’s conference match-up at Schroeder Park featured Lael Lockhart Jr. with his 3.20 ERA, which placed him fifth best in the conference, on the mound for Houston.

Bearcats starter David Orndorff was perfect thru three innings. Jared Triolo got the Cougars first base hit of the game to lead off the fourth, but Orndorff was in control and would not only get out of the inning, but would then follow with a perfect fifth . . . For Triolo it was his second of three hits in the game.

In their half of the fifth, the Bearcats capitalized on a tiring Lockhart elevating his pitch count and putting runners on base . . . The Cougar went to the bullpen in favor of Devon Roedahl with two runners on and two outs . . . Bearcats cleanup hitter Joey Wiemer hit the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a three-run homerun . . . It was all the offense Cincinnati would get, and it was all they needed.

Roedahl was really effective after that homerun, going 4 1/3 allowing only one other hit and striking out three . . . Roedahl did throw 59 pitches in his Thursday outing, so his availability for the rest of the series could be limited . . . The other side of that coin is that the entire rest of the bullpen is rested since Roedahl was the only pitched used on Thursday.

The sixth inning offered promise for the Cougars offense after Brad Burckel led off the inning with a base hit to center, and Kyle Lovelace hit the next pitch to center for a base hit . . . Jared Triolo skied a fly ball to left that continued to carry all the way to warning track, the left-fielder was unable to make the play and Brad Burckel was able to score from second . . . Two batters later, Joe Davis would receive one of his two intentional walks in the game and that would be all the Cougars would score in the inning.

Orndorff went eight innings only allowing that run in the sixth . . . Bearcats reliever Korren Thompson entered the game in the ninth to attempt to get the final three outs . . . The Cougars mounted a rally, getting four singles in the inning, including Joe Davis’ only hit of the game to lead off the inning after two intentional walks in the fourth and sixth . . . Derrick Cherry’s only hit of the game would drive in the Cougars only run in ninth as Thompson closed it out and saved the 3-2 victory for Orndorff.

The Cougars and the Bearcats return tomorrow for game two of their three game series. First pitch at Schroeder Park is at 6:30pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap