Cougars Win 3-1 at UNLV

Ryan Hernandez connects on his 5th homerun of the season against UNLV Tuesday.
Ryan Hernandez connects on his 5th homerun of the season Tuesday.

LAS VEGAS – The Houston Cougars got exactly what they needed in Las Vegas on Tuesday night: Pitching that kept them in the game, gave them a chance to win, and delivered the win.

The game was scoreless in the top of the second inning when Luke Almendarez opened the scoring with a double to left that brought Steven Rivas home from third . . . Ian McMillan would score from third in the same frame on a passed ball and the Cougars took a 2-0 lead.

Nick Rupp allowed his only run of the outing, and the only UNLV run of the night, in the bottom of the third inning . . . Rupp stayed in the game, tossed a scoreless fourth, and started the fifth inning before being lifted having thrown 68 pitches in his longest outing on the season as a Cougar.

Carter Henry entered the game and quickly struck out two UNLV batters before allowing a single and then coming back to get the third out of the inning on a foul pop behind the plate that Kyle Lovelace caught as he fell down for out number three . . . Henry went 2 1/3 innings, struck out five of eleven batters he faced, and kept the Rebels from scoring.

Luke Almendarez added another double in the seventh in a 2-for-3 night.

Derrick Cherry relieved Henry in the seventh to get the final two outs of the inning despite the wind wreaking havoc on pop-ups in the field behind him . . . In the bottom of the eighth, runners reached base on a single and an error at third, Cherry proceeded to strike out the next three batters to end the threat.

With Houston holding on to a 2-1 lead going to the ninth, leadoff hitter Ryan Hernandez went deep to right-center to give the Cougars a two-run advantage going to the bottom of the inning . . . For Hernandez it was his fifth homerun of the season, which leads the team . . . Derrick Cherry gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but he struck out the next batter and then got the final batter to roll into a game-ending double-play . . . Cherry struck out five in his 2 2/3 innings and walked none while earning his third save of the season . . . Carter Henry took home the victory, his first of the year.

The Cougars and the Rebels conclude their two-game midweek matchup on Wednesday afternoon . . . The first pitch is at 3:05pm CT from Las Vegas before the Cougars return home for a series with Dallas Baptist this weekend at Schroeder Park. –

Cougars Win Behind Aguilar, Cherry Pitching

Houston Cougars Clay Aguilar 3-7-2020
Clay Aguilar faces the Arizona Wildcats Saturday in Tucson.

TUSCON – After dropping Friday’s first game in Arizona on Friday night, the Houston Cougars needed many things to change in order to win Saturday’s second game against the Wildcats.

Houston went down in order in the top of the first, and Arizona made Houston starter Clay Aguilar work, but they only managed a single run in the first frame, thanks in part to an alert play at first base by Ryan Hernandez. With runners on first and second, a groundball has hit to Kobe Hyland’s right at shortstop . . . Hyland fielded and threw to first to get the batter, but the runner from second never stopped running, he rounded third and Hernandez was able to get him at the plate and prevent the run from scoring . . . Score it a 6-3-2 double-play.

Both teams remained scoreless into the fourth inning when the Cougars manufactured three runs . . . Brad Burckel put the first run across on a one-out double that scored Hernandez . . . With the game tied, Kobe Hyland singled two batters later to score Steven Rivas and Burckel as the Cougars took a 3-1 lead.

That was the extent of the scoring Saturday night, for either team.

Clay Aguilar threw  into the sixth inning going 5 2/3 with 96 pitches. This was not a typical, crisp Aguilar start as he walked five batters and hit another, but he kept the ball around the plate and kept it in the ballpark as the Wildcats also collected eight hits.

Carter Henry entered and got a strikeout to end the inning, stranding an inherited runner at first. In the seventh, Henry loaded the bases and gave way to Derrick Cherry . . . Two pitches later Cherry got his first batter to pop-up in the infield, and Cherry made the catch to end the bases-loaded threat.

Cherry was not done yet . . . He would double to left-center in the top of the eighth, but he would be left on basepaths . . . Cherry would go the final 2 1/3 innings to earn his second save of the season . . . He was aided by an outstanding catch by right-fielder Tyler Bielamowicz in the ninth inning near the warning track in right-center, he had to go a long way to get the ball and he made it look easy.

Clay Aguilar improved to 2-0 this year with the 3-1 victory . . . Cherry threw 35 pitches, 25 for strikes in earning the save.

The Cougars and the Wildcats meet Sunday at 2pm for a rubber game in Tucson before the Cougars move on to Las Vegas for a two-game midweek set with UNLV to conclude this road trip. –

Cougars Win at Rice, 6-4

Houston Cougars 3-4-2020 via FERGTEXAS409
The Houston Cougars win at Rice on Wednesday night.
(Photo courtesy of @FERGTEXAS409 via Twitter)

The Houston Cougars traveled a few miles to Rice’s Reckling Park on Wednesday night for the first of three games against the Owls in the 2020 Silver Glove Series.

Nick Rupp got the start on the mound for the Cougars and faced early trouble loading the bases with no outs, but he would work out of the situation without allowing a run.

Ian McMillan led off the top of the second with a single, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Rey Mendoza and then a fly out to right by Luke Almendarez, before finally scoring on a passed ball to give Houston a 1-0 lead . . . Rice would take the lead right back in their half of the second on a back-to-back single and double.

In the top of the third, Brad Burckel, in his first game back since suffering an injury in Round Rock, singled home Steven Rivas from second to tie the game at two.

Tanner Green entered in the third and pitched 2 1/3 innings and did not give up any runs while only yielding two hits and walk.

The Cougars took 4-2 lead in the fourth when Tyler Bielamowicz singled to center to plate Luke Almendarez and Kyle Lovelace, both reached base on singles . . . After a scoreless fourth for Cougar pitching, Derrick Cherry doubled off the wall in right-center, and was brought home from second two batters later on an Ian McMillan single to increase the Cougars lead to 5-2.

The Cougars ran into trouble in the sixth as two runners reached base with no outs behind Jared Pettitte . . . Derrick Cherry entered the game and gave up a quick RBI single on a wild hop past third baseman Ian McMillan, then an RBI double by Trei Cruz to put Owl runners on second and third with no one out . . . Cherry then struck out the next three Rice batters swinging, the heart of the Owl lineup could not deliver as Cherry buckled-down and held on to a 5-4 lead.

Cherry followed with a scoreless seventh inning in which Kobe Hyland made two great defensive plays at shortstop, showing range and movement on both, one to his right, and one to his left in which he was well behind second when he threw the ball to first.

Tyler Bielamowicz brought home an insurance run in the eighth when he doubled to left-center to bring home Rey Mendoza from second . . . Mendoza had walked to reach base in a ten-pitch at-bat that included fouling-off five pitches . . . For Bielamowicz, the double capped-off a 3-for-4 night with a walk and a stolen base . . . Ironically, Tyler’s stolen base came when he was on first because of a fielder’s choice, the one time he did not reach base cleanly all night.

Meanwhile, Derrick Cherry was dominating on the mound, going four scoreless innings, hitting 87-89mph in his final inning of work . . . Cherry struck out five, only allowed three hits and picked up a save for his effort . . . Tanner Green got the win by virtue of his being the pitcher of record when the Cougars took the lead once and for all.

The Cougars are off tomorrow before opening a series at Arizona Friday night at 7pm. –

Cougars Lose Finale, Series to Bobcats

Houston Cougars Photo via 5_Coogs
The Cougars hosted Texas State for the series finale Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs on Twitter)

Gray skies and periodic light rain hung over Schroeder Park Sunday afternoon as the Texas State Bobcats and the Houston Cougars opened-up March and closed out their three-game weekend series with a rubber game.

Sunday starter Jared Pettitte had a tough go of things after a scoreless first and was knocked out of the game in the second inning once Texas State had a 3-0 lead.

The Cougars got their first run in the second after Luke Almendarez was hit by a pitch, then stole second and third, and was brought home on a one-out Kyle Lovelace groundout to short to cut the Texas State lead to 3-1.

Kobe Hyland tied the game in the fourth with a one-out single to right . . . Kyle Lovelace followed with a double down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position for Tyler Bielamowicz, who grounded out to short to bring home Hyland and give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.

That was the final run the Cougars would score on Sunday as Texas State would score nine unanswered runs afterward . . . Texas State scored multiple runs in five of the nine innings.

Freshman Cole Ferguson saw the first action of his Cougar career as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning retiring all three batters he faced, striking out one.

Derrick Cherry took the mound to pitch the ninth with the Cougars trailing 10-4 . . . For Cherry, it was his first time on the mound as a Cougar . . . He would pitch 2/3 of an inning, possibly because of a low pitch count in his first pitching action . . . Tyler Bielamowicz then took the mound, also for his first pitching action of the season, he would eventually get a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The Cougars have a couple of days off before heading over to Rice for the first game of this year’s Silver Glove Series Wednesday at 6:30pm . . . The next six games for the Cougars are away from Schroeder Park. –

Cougars Top Texas State 5-1

Houston Cougars Clay Aguilar 2-29-2020
Clay Aguilar throws the first pitch against Texas State Saturday night.

After a high-scoring affair on Friday night which yielded twenty-one runs, the Houston Cougars and the visiting Texas State Bobcats played a lower-key match on Saturday night at Schroeder Park.

Clay Aguilar got the start on the mound and he faced the minimum in the first frame, ending the inning on a grounder to Kobe Hyland that he handled himself in turning the inning-ending six-three double play . . . The Cougars did not waste any time getting runs on the board . . . With one out after a Derrick Cherry walk, Ryan Hernandez tripled to the right field corner to score Cherry, it was a good piece of opposite field hitting to give the Cougars an early 1-0 lead, their first lead of the series to that point.

In the third, Steven Rivas hit a one-out double, and Ryan Hernandez followed with a massive two-run homerun to Elgin . . . Not to be outdone, one out later Ian McMillan followed with a homerun of his own, a solo shot to left to put the Cougars up 4-0.

Bobcats were kept off the scoreboard until the top of the fifth when a solo homerun cut the Cougars lead to 4-1.

Freshman Luke Almendarez led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, he would steal second to get into scoring position . . . Kyle Lovelace hit a one-out single to center that scored Almendarez from second.

Clay Aguilar started the seventh inning, but after a leadoff single, he was lifted in favor of right-hander Isaiah Blaylock . . . Texas State batters would have two hit by pitches to load the bases and the Cougars went to the bullpen again . . . Tristen Bayless entered the game and threw three pitches, all three for strikes, and got a swinging strikeout . . . Bayless departed with one out and the bases still loaded in favor on Carter Henry . . . Henry got two big strikeouts, one called, one looking, and he killed the Bobcats rally as the game went to the seventh-inning stretch.

The ninth inning saw Henry back on the mound and he did not allow the Bobcats back in the game . . . All told, Henry faced and retired eight batters, five on them by strikeout in earning his first save of the season . . . Clay Aguilar six innigs and threw eighty-nine pitches as he picked up his first win of the season in the 5-1 victory.

The Cougars and the Bobcats conclude their series on Sunday with a rubber game at 2pm, this is the last time to see the Cougars at home for nearly two weeks as the team heads to Rice, Arizona, and Nevada. –

Takeaways from 2019 Fall Exhibition, Game 1

Houston Cougars 10-16-2019
The Houston Cougars take the field for Wednesday’s exhibition game.

The Houston Cougars baseball team hosted the San Jacinto College Gators at Schroeder Park on Wednesday evening for some exhibition action . . . San Jac is one of three teams visiting the corner of Elgin and Cullen for an exhibition game this fall.

The Cougars have a ton of new faces this fall, and some familiar faces like Jared Triolo and Joe Davis are visibly absent.

Wednesday’s action was not a prototypical game by any means . . . After all, the two teams played a tenth inning for no real reason, other than the extra swings and the extra pitches . . . There was no official scoring of the game, and the scoreboard only displayed a UH logo during the game – no time, no innings, no lineups . . . the only way to know what was happening was to have kept score, and those scorecards were a mess for sure.

Transfer newcomer Ryan Hernandez got his Cougar career off to a great start, knocking two solid singles in his first two plate appearances . . . Hernandez is listed at 6’4″ and he looks like a sizable presence at the plate.

The Cougars used ten pitchers in the game, each pitcher went a full inning of work . . . Brayson Hurdsman, Carter Henry, Spencer Hynes, Isaiah Blaylock, Robert Gasser, Tanner Green, Reed Osborn, Nick Rupp, Tristen Bayless, and Layne Looney all got some solid work in against the Gators.

Layne Looney was notable among the rest of the pitching staff that threw scoreless innings, his pitches were phenomenal . . . Looney had guys buckling and looking helpless at the plate . . . The three that batted against him anyway, all three went down looking.

The Gators scored all three of their runs in the seventh inning, the inning was the only one where control was an issue, fours walks, three wild pitches, and a stolen base were only problematic when combined with a solid double hit to the left-field corner.

Aside from the two Hernandez base hits, Cam McMillan reached base with a single, as did Derrick Cherry after he was hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance . . . The Cougars only plated two runners . . . If an official score had been kept, the Cougars would have dropped this one 3-2, but again, this was a weird one to measure as guys batted out of order and the order went beyond one thru nine . . . Add to this the well-known fact that San Jac is loaded with pitching arms, and the Cougars faced many of them on Wednesday night.

The Cougars return to exhibition action on Sunday, October 27th at 2pm at Schroeder Park.

Cougars Edged by Rice 2-1

Houston vs. Rice Owls 5-14-2019
Jared Pettitte prepares for the first pitch Tuesday in Sugar Land.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

After a soggy week in the Houston area, Constellation Field in Sugar Land provided a perfect atmosphere for baseball on Tuesday night as the Houston Cougars and Rice Owls played their third game of the season against each other, this one was the rubber game to see who would take home the Silver Glove.

Jared Pettitte made his fourth start of the season and he was getting good movement in his three innings of work . . . Leadoff walks in the third and fourth would score in both innings, the only two runs of the night for Rice . . . In both instances, the leadoff walks were followed by more free baserunners, a walk in the third and a hit batter in the fourth.

The Cougars got on the board in the fifth when Tyler Bielamowicz hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Jared Triolo who had reached base by getting hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.

Aside from Cherry, Houston’s offense was mostly silenced by Rice pitching . . . The Cougars were limited to the one run and only six hits . . . The six hits were collected by only three Cougars, Cherry had three, Burckel had two, and Jared Triolo had a two-out single in the six . . . Nine walks kept runners on the bases all evening for the Cougars, that make the fourteen runners left on base a difficult stat to accept in a one-run loss.

Cougars pitching did not allow a run after the fourth inning as Nolan Bond, Brayson Hurdsman, and Devon Roedahl went the final six innings worth and only allowed two hits.

Derrick Cherry reached base all five times he batted on Tuesday with three singles and two walks . . . A disciplined ninth inning at-bat ended with a one-out single to center that moved Brad Burckel from first to second ahead of potential late-inning heroics, but it was not to be as the next two Cougars batters both grounded out to give Rice the 2-1 victory and the Silver Glove to hold onto for a year.

The Cougars will travel to Orlando, Florida to begin a three-game weekend series with the University of Central Florida to close out the regular season schedule . . . The series in Orlando begins Thursday at 5:00pm local time. –

Cougars Take Tulane 5-2

Houston vs. Tulane 5-12-2019
Photo by Cougars Beat

Sunday afternoon offered the Houston Cougars and the Tulane Green Wave a complete contrast to Saturday afternoon and evening, and early Sunday morning for that matter . . . Where Saturday was rainy, then misty, then humid, then misty again, Sunday was occasionally breezy, sunny with a blue sky and white clouds, and about half as humid as Saturday at the ballpark. 

Sunday was also Mother’s Day and Senior Day, so it made sense for the weather to cooperate . . . Cougars fans bid farewell and said thank you to Joe Davis, Nolan Bond, Grayson Padgett, Rey Fuentes, and Ryan Randel . . . Randel and Bond had something extra for the fans, and for the Tulane offense.

After two quiet innings, Derrick Cherry put the Cougars on the board and in the lead with a two-RBI single in the third . . . The single scored both Kyle Lovelace and Jared Triolo who had both walked to reach base . . . Cherry was 3-for-4 on the afternoon with two RBI on the afternoon.

The Cougars added another run the seventh when Kobe Hyland hit a two-out RBI double to center in the 7th to take a 3-0 lead.

Ryan Randel was very good on Sunday and was not in much trouble at any point . . . When Randel exited after 7 1/3 innings, he had only allowed 2 unearned runs on three hits . . . He left with the bases loaded after an error, a batter hit by a pitch, and an intentional walk, so it was not the worst of circumstances . . . Two runs would score on a bloop hit off of Nolan Bond, who had taken over on the mound for Randel in the eighth, but the damage was limited and Houston held on to a 3-2 lead.

Houston started the eighth with two singles before Tyler Bielamowicz put down a sacrifice bunt to score Jared Triolo and Lael Lockhart Jr. followed with a single to center batting right-handed – it was Lockhart’s second hit of the game, this one scoring Derrick Cherry and giving the Cougars a 5-2 lead.

Bond recorded the final five outs of the game, escaping too much damage in the eighth and getting Tulane down in order in the ninth to close out the game . . . Bond earned his first save of the year in securing the 5-2 win . . . Ryan Randel he picked up his fourth win of the year.

After playing 28 innings of baseball in the last 25 hours, the Cougars are off on Monday and return to action on Tuesday against Rice down in Sugar Land at Constellation Field . . . First pitch is at 7:05pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Sweep UNLV with 9-2 Victory

Houston Cougars faces UNLV Sunday at Schroeder Park. Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.
Houston Cougars faces UNLV Sunday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.

A sunny and hot afternoon with clouds dotting the sky greeted the UNLV Rebels and the Houston Cougars Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park . . . The Cougars arrived winners of two straight, including a 2-0 shut-out of UNLV on Saturday night.

Left-hander Clay Aguilar started Sunday’s game and surrendered a run in the opening frame, Cougars would get it back quickly when Jared Triolo hit his sixth homerun of the season to leadoff the bottom of the first . . . For Aguilar, the looping single by Bryson Stott to leadoff the game was the last batter to reach base until the fifth inning, Aguilar retired thirteen straight Rebels in that span . . . For Triolo, the leadoff homerun was the first of five hits in the game in a 5-for-5 afternoon that included five RBI.

The Cougars started their half of the sixth with three straight doubles followed by a single, they would score two runs in the inning to extend their one-run lead to 5-2.

Clay Aguilar exited the game in the sixth with two outs and runners on second and third . . . Sean Bretz entered the game and walked the bases loaded, but clutch pitching left the bases loaded for the Rebels in the sixth and Bretz would work out of another bases-loaded situation in the seventh inning . . . Bretz went a total of 1 1/3 innings scoreless to bridge the game from Aguilar to Villarreal.

The Cougars offense scored two runs in four different innings on Sunday . . . The offense also pounded out seventeen hits and even though they scored nine runs, they had plenty of opportunities to score more runs leaving eleven runners on base . . . Every Houston starter got at least one base hit, with Derrick Cherry and Kobe Hyland both getting two hits, and Grayson Padgett got two hits going 2-for-2 off the bench.

Righty Fred Villarreal handled the final two innings of action on Sunday, entering the game in the top of the eighth . . . Villarreal retired all six batters he faced, getting four groundballs to help his cause, and he did it all on only eighteen pitches . . . Aguilar collected his sixth win on the year in his tenth start, he allowed only two runs in his 5 2/3 innings and struck out four.

The Cougars are off now until Wednesday when they face Florida Atlantic University at Schroeder Park . . . Houston takes a three-game winning streak into the midweek matchup . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm on Wednesday. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Shut-Out UNLV 2-0

Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UNLV at Schroeder Park on Saturday night. Photos by Cougars Beat.
Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UNLV at Schroeder Park on Saturday night.
Photos by Cougars Beat.

Potential inclement weather canceled Friday night’s game between the UNLV Rebels and the Houston Cougars . . . Having decided the game would not be made up meant the two teams could stretch their lineups as needed with this brief two-game series.

The Cougars offense was in business in the bottom of the first after a Brad Burckel walk and a stolen base, then an intentional pass to Joe Davis . . . Derrick Cherry put a ball in play toward short that was too slow for the UNLV defense to turn a double play, when Cherry was safe at first, Burckel was the first run to score for the Cougars when he crossed home . . . After a Tyler Bielamowicz single, Rey Fuentes followed with a clean single up the middle into center field which scored Derrick Cherry from third to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

Lael Lockhart Jr. got his eleventh start of the season against UNLV, and he was cruising for the most part . . . The few times Lockhart faced adversity, he was quick to get out of it without any damage, in one instance Kyle Lovelace caught a popped bunt in front of homeplate and doubled-up the runner on first with a quick, accurate throw . . . In another instance Brad Burckel fielded a bouncing ball right on top of second base with a running bearing down on him, his throw to first completed another double-play behind Lockhart.

The innings pitched quickly stacked up as Lockhart faced only three batters in five of his innings pitched . . . Lockhart eventually took the mound in the eighth inning still maintaining his 2-0 lead.

Bryson Stott entered Friday’s action hitting .365 for UNLV, the highest batting average on the team and the team leader in homeruns with ten . . . Stott was 0-for-4, striking out twice against Lockhart who went 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball against a good hitting team that only got five hits off of him and struck out five times.

Devon Roedahl came into the game with two outs in the eighth to get the final out with two runners put on base by Lockhart . . . Roedahl induced a ground ball to short that Kobe Hyland handled easily to get the runner at first and end the inning . . . Roedahl returned to the mound for the ninth after the Cougars went down in order in the bottom of the eighth.

An error at third was followed by a deep grounder to short, Kobe Hyland was able to field the ball but unable to make a clean throw to Burckel at second as Kobe was falling away from the throw . . . Roedahl struck out the next two batters, then loaded the bases with a walk, he then recorded his third strikeout of the inning to end the game and secure the 2-0 win for Houston . . . Roedahl did not allow a hit in his 1 1/3 innings that earned him his fourth save on the year . . . Lockhart for his outstanding effort was rewarded with his fourth win as he loaded his ERA to 3.03 with his scoreless effort.

The shortened weekend series with UNLV concludes Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park, first pitch is at 1pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap