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

Cougars End Skid, Top UConn 5-4

Ryan Randel warms up to face UConn Saturday at Schroeder Park. Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.
Ryan Randel warms up to face UConn Saturday at Schroeder Park.
Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.

The Houston Cougars righted the ship on Saturday night at Schroeder Park behind good pitching and one offensive inning against the Connecticut Huskies . . . Having dropped game one on Friday night, the Cougars not only needed some offense, but they needed a win.

Right-hander Ryan Randel was on the mound Saturday night . . . Randel had a difficult first inning in which the Huskies plated three runs, but he rebounded nicely and faced only three batters per inning over the next three innings.

Houston missed a grand opportunity in the second when they loaded the bases with three straight singles, but it was to no avail as UConn starter Jeff Kersten would strike out two and get a ground ball out to escape the inning.

But Kersten’s night would come to an end in the fourth inning when the Cougars offense exploded . . . The big blow was off the bat of Derrick Cherry when he hit a laser to left field to clear the bases, there was a play at home on Grayson Padgett, but the ball slipped past the catcher and Cherry was standing on second with a double, his first collegiate hit and RBI . . . The Coogs would send eleven batters to the plate in the inning as they took a 5-3 lead.

The Huskies would get a run back in the fifth and in the process would chase Randel from the game . . . Nolan Bond would relieve Randel with runners on the corners. Bond walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, but the Cougars would get out of the inning with a ground ball to shortstop . . . After a difficult first inning, Randel settled in and left the game with his team leading 5-4.

Bond got a 1-2-3 sixth with the help of a couple of consecutive defensive gems by third sacker Jared Triolo, then he faced just three batters in the seventh with another defensive gem behind him when Brad Burckel made a leaping snag of a line drive and was able to recover quickly enough to double-up the runner who was on first.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the eighth and retired all six batters he faced to help the Cougars secure the 5-4 victory . . . Villarreal was incredibly efficient throwing eighteen pitches to get his six outs and earn his third save of the season while lowering his ERA to .98 . . . Nolan Bond earned the win for his solid effort, his first win on the year . . . Together, Bond and Villarreal pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball.

The Cougars and the Huskies conclude their series with a rubber game on Sunday at Schroeder Park . . . Please note an earlier than usual start time for a Sunday (or any day) of 11:30am.

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Come Up Short Against UConn

Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UConn Friday night at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UConn Friday night at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars opened conference play on Friday night when they played host to the Connecticut Huskies . . . Offense was difficult to come by for both teams in the conference opener thanks to both starting pitchers and all of three relievers between the two teams.

Lael Lockhart Jr. got the Friday night start again, a role he has settled into nicely it would appear . . . The fourth inning proved the decisive one after Lockhart got the batters down in order in the very quick second and third innings . . . Two errors would lead to two unearned runs, the only two runs UConn scored on the night.

UConn starter Mason Feole was difficult to figure out on Friday night . . . At one point he threw a fastball at 91, the next pitch changed speed and was clocked at 73 . . . Feole’s mix of speed and control had him sailing in his seven innings of work.

The Cougars offense put their lone run on the board in the seventh when Kobe Hyland led off the inning with a double and would score on some small-ball and some miscues by the UConn defense.

When Lockhart left in the eighth, reliever Fred Villarreal came in to record the final 1 2/3 innings, he retired all five batters he faced in another stellar relief appearance this season.

UConn went to their bullpen twice, but it was their third pitcher, Jacob Wallace, who really closed the door . . . Wallace clocked in at 97 in striking out Joe Davis to end the eighth and would get the Coogs out in order in the ninth . . . The Cougars matched UConn with four hits in the game, but UConn scored that one extra run and held on for a 2-1 win.

The Cougars and the Huskies return to action at 6:30 on Saturday night at Schroeder Park.

 

Newspaper column version of this recap