Cougars Win Behind Gasser, 4-1

Robert Gasser tosses the opening pitch Friday night at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars welcomed the UT-Arlington Mavericks to Schroeder Park Friday night for a four-game weekend set with a 4-1 victory behind another outstanding performance by Cougars starter Robert Gasser.

The two teams were scoreless going into the fourth when the Mavericks plated their sole run of the evening on a single to center by first baseman Dylan Paul.

With two outs in the fifth, Will Pendergrass reached on a bouncer to deep short that he legged-out at first for a single . . . An errant attempted pick-off throw that got past the first baseman moved Pendergrass to second . . . Brad Burckel than drove a ball to the wall in right-center under the scoreboard for a game-tying triple . . . Kyle Lovelace followed with a single into center field that scored Burckel giving the Cougars a 2-1 lead.

Gasser picked-off two runners in the game, both broke for second base as Will Pendergrass fielded throws from Gasser that he relayed perfectly to Ian McMillan at second for both outs.

Will Pendergrass hit a one-out solo home run in the home half of the seventh to extend the Cougars lead to 3-1 . . . As soon as Pendergrass connected on the pitch that was low and inside, he knew it was gone . . . One out later, the Mavericks went to the bullpen for the first time of the evening . . . Pendergrass was 2-for-3 in the Friday contest, as was teammate Kyle Lovelace, the only two Houston players with multiple hits.

Gasser was still strong the later the game went, hitting 93mph on his hundredth pitch in the eighth . . . Gasser, in picking up the win, would go 7 2/3 innings allowing just one run and striking out nine on 111 pitches . . . The outing was Gasser’s longest of the season, surpassing his seven inning start against Texas . . . Derrick Cherry took the mound with two on and two out and got a strikeout to end the UTA threat.

The Cougars added an insurance run in the eighth on a fielders choice off the bat of Tyler Bielamowicz that brought home Luke Almendarez from third . . . Derrick Cherry retired the side quickly in the ninth, striking out two, including the final out . . . Cherry picked up his second save on the year with his 1 1/3 innings on the mound . . . Gasser earned the win, his third of the season.

Ryan Hernandez returned to the lineup on Friday, though in a somewhat limited role . . . Hernandez served as the designated hitter and batted in the three spot, a spot usually occupied by Steven Rivas who was moved to the five spot for the game . . . Hernandez lined a single to left-center in the eighth for his only hit of the game, and his first hit in nearly two calendar weeks.

Houston and UTA square-up again on Saturday in a double-header with the first pitch slated for 2pm . . . Right-hander Blake Schultz with start for the Cougars in game one, and no starter has been named yet for the Cougars in game two. –

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Cougars Win Road Series, Improve to 10-5

Houston wins their second consecutive road series in San Marcos on Sunday

Pitching was not the name of the game this weekend in San Marcos, with the notable exception of Robert Gasser in his Friday night start, as the Houston Cougars left town with an 8-7 victory and a series win . . . Houston outscored Texas State over the weekend 29 to 25, a weekend which saw the wind blowing out on Saturday and blowing in on Sunday.

To get the game started in the first, Tyler Bielamowicz took a one out walk, then Steven Rivas singled to right on the next pitch moving Bielamowicz to third . . . Ryan Hernandez hit a liner toward shallow left-center and the Bobcats centerfielder made a sliding grab, but Tyler tagged-up and scored from third to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

Texas State tied the game at one in their half of the inning, also on a sacrifice fly to center . . . The Bobcats extended their lead in the third when they scored on a single followed by two a two-run home run by Johnny Gonzalez to give them a 5-1 lead.

The Cougars put together a multiple-run inning of their own in the fourth when they got singles from Ryne Edmondson, Will Pendergrass and Brad Burckel . . .  A bases load walk to Kyle Lovelace scored one . . . Brandon Uhse then worked a 2-0 count and Texas State coaches had seen enough from their starter, they went to the bullpen in the middle of the at-bat . . . After the pitching change, Uhse knocked a double into the left field corner scoring two and getting the Cougars to within a run . . . Tyler Bielamowicz tied the game at five with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Neither starter made it out of the fourth inning as Houston starter Cameron Prayer exited in the fourth and was relieved by Jaycob Deese . . . Deese ended the threat after inheriting a runner on first with no outs.

Four straight Cougar batters reached base to lead off the fifth inning . . . Will Pendergrass was one of those four, hitting a single to right that gave the Cougars a 6-5 lead . . . Kyle Lovelace then grounded into a double play that scored a run to make the score 7-5 . . . Brandon Uhse then drove a double into right-center to push the Houston lead to 8-5.

Meanwhile, Jaycob Deese tossed scoreless fifth and sixth innings, but got into some trouble in the seventh before being lifted for Derrick Cherry after three innings of work . . . A run scored on a bases loaded walk, but Cherry struck out three batters to limit the damage . . . Cherry then worked a scoreless eighth.

The Bobcats clawed their way toward a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, after plating on run on a single to left . . . Derrick Cherry then got a bouncer to Brad Burckel who started the game-ending double play as the potential tying run crossed the plate . . . Jaycob Deese improves his record to 2-1 with the 8-7 win and Derrick Cherry earned his first save of 2021 with his three innings of relief pitching.

In a reversal of Saturday’s loss, the bottom five spots in the Cougars batting order saw three batters produce two hits each and it accounted for eleven runners on base and scored seven runs . . . Brandon Uhse was 2-for-4 on Sunday with 3 RBI in the lead off spot . . .Will Pendergrass, Ian McMillan and Brad Burckel each contributed two hits to the road win.

The Cougars close out this road trip with a 3-1 record and have won both road series this season and improve to 10-5 on the 2021 campaign.

The Cougars head back to Houston now and have a day off tomorrow . . . Houston returns to action on Tuesday night at 6:30pm when they host Texas A&M at Schroeder Park. –

Cougars Open Road Trip with 13-7 Win

The Houston Cougars opened a four game road trip in San Antonio against University of the Incarnate Word on Wednesday night with a 13-7 victory . . . After scoring only four runs in the entire weekend series against Texas, the Cougars scored five runs in the first inning, and they would score five runs in two different innings on Wednesday.

Ryan Hernandez hit a one-out home run to center field to give the Cougars a quick 3-0 lead . . . For Hernandez it was his first home run since he hit two on opening day . . . Ian McMillan a few batters later hit an RBI single to increase the Cougar lead 4-0 . . . Catcher Dylan Post followed with a sacrifice fly to left that gave the Cougars a 5-0 lead and the Cougars eventually batted around in the first.

The Cardinals went to the bullpen to start the second and they kept the Cougars off the scoreboard until the sixth inning, as their offense clawed them back into the game . . . UIW scored three in the third off Houston starter Blake Schultz, but Houston held on to a 5-3 lead.

Blake Schultz took the game into the fifth inning, but he was relieved by Ryne Huggins after 4 2/3 innings and six strikeouts . . . The Cardinals tied the game at five in the bottom half of the fifth . . . Jaycob Deese relieved Huggins and got a strikeout to end the fifth and stop the bleeding at that point . . . Despite a no-decision, it was a solid outing for Schultz, the first-year Cougar.

In the top half of the sixth, Tyler Bielamowicz hit a two-out single to center, his third hit of the game at that point, Steven Rivas then hit a pop-up toward second that seemed like it was going to end the inning, but the catch was not made and Bielamowicz, who was moving the entire time, scored from first on the error as the Cougars took a 6-5 lead.

After ending the fifth, Deese followed with a scoreless sixth . . . UIW then tied the game again in the seventh inning.

With the game again tied in the top of the eighth, and with one out, the top of the Cougars order went to work . . . Bielamowicz collected his fourth hit in a 4-for-6 effort, Rivas singled and plated a run, Hernandez singled to score another, his fourth RBI on the night as he also went 3-for-4 . . . Will Pendergrass then doubled and picked up a RBI as Rivas scored . . . Ian McMillan singled and increased the lead to 11-6 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

Derrick Cherry took the mound looking to protect the lead, he struck out the three batters he faced in the eighth . . . After the Cougars added two more runs in the top of the ninth to build a 13-6 lead, Cherry returned to the mound for the ninth . . . UIW added a run in the ninth on a turf-bouncer that just got over the reach of Brad Burckel at second, but Cherry closed it out a few pitches later with his fifth strikeout in two innings pitched.

The Cougars moved to 8-4 on the season with the 13-7 win, and Jaycob Deese (1-1-1) picked up his first win of the season and as a Cougar.

The Cougars now move the road trip to San Marcos where they will be hosted by the Texas State Bobcats for a three game series this weekend . . . Robert Gasser will take the ball for Houston making his fourth start of the season . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm on Friday. –

Cougars Win in 10, Improve to 6-1

The Houston Cougars offense had to settle for ten fewer runs than they scored on Saturday night in a record-setting performance, but with the help of outstanding pitching, four runs were enough to eek out a one-run victory in ten innings on Sunday at Whataburger Field.

Blake Schultz got the Sunday start for the Cougars and went four scoreless innings while his offense was also being blanked by the other side . . . Schultz received some aid from his catcher as Kyle Lovelace caught two runners attempting to steal second in the second inning, and caught another in the third to end the inning.

Schutlz and the rest of the Cougars pitching staff was being matched by Islanders starter Hayden Thomas who pitched into the ninth inning before being lifted, but not before he struck out twelve Cougars while only walking one and scattering nine hits.

Cameron Prayer picked up an inning of work relieving Schultz in the fifth and ended the inning without allowing a run . . . Sean Bretz took the mound for the sixth and kept the game scoreless . . . With the game still scoreless, Bretz started the seventh but left with the bases loaded and no outs having allowed the Islanders to take a 1-0 on a throwing error, a situation that Layne Looney inherited . . . The Islanders plated another run on a sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 into the eighth.

Brad Burckel finally got the Cougars on the scoreboard in the eighth when he hit a solo homerun with one out, his second home run in as many games and his third of the young season . . . The Islanders got the run right back in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff home run to make the score 3-1 . . . Ryne Huggins then entered the game and ended the Islanders attempt to pad their lead.

Tyler Bielamowicz led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run to draw the Cougars to within a run, part of a 4-for-5 Sunday for the Cougars senior . . . The Cougars loaded the bases with the help of a couple of errors by the Islanders defense, then Dylan Post grounded into a double play that scored the game-tying run . . . Derrick Cherry took the mound for the ninth and kept the Islanders at bay, sending the game into extras.

In the Cougars half of the tenth, with the customary extra-innings runner being placed on second, in this case it was Brad Burckel, Brandon Uhse doubled to score Burckel and give the Cougars a 4-3 lead . . . The Cougars took that lead to the bottom of the inning, Derrick Cherry again took the mound, this time with the aforementioned runner on second . . . Cherry picked up two strikeouts but loaded the bases with a walk and a hit batter . . . However, Cherry got a bases-loaded groundout to end the game in ten . . . Cherry earned the save in the 4-3 victory.

The Cougars have the next two days away from play and will travel to Beaumont on Wednesday to take on Lamar University at 6pm . . . The Cougars will then look to improve on their 6-1 record to begin 2021, before returning home next weekend to host the Texas Longhorns.

Cougars Dominate the Islanders 14-1

Nothing about the Houston Cougars 3-2 loss to the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders on Friday night indicated that twenty-fours hours later would see a monster offensive performance in which the offense set a new school record for home runs in a game . . . A record previously set at seven in May of 1999 . . . But that is what happened at Whataburger Field on Saturday night as the Cougars scored a run in six of the nine innings.

Brad Burckel got the Cougars offense started on Saturday night when he hit the second pitch of the game out of the ballpark for a lead off home run . . . After a single by Brandon Uhse, Steven Rivas hit a two-run home run to center to give the Cougars a quick 3-0 lead.

Freshman Will Pendergrass hit his first collegiate home run in the second to lead off the inning . . . Batting again in the second, with Brandon Uhse on second base after reaching on a double, Steven Rivas delivered another two-run home run to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead.

Freshman Samuel Benjamin also hit his first collegiate home run, this one coming in the third inning . . . Tyler Bielamowicz kept the scoring going in the fourth with a two-run homerun to increase the Cougars lead to 9-0.

Will Pendergrass hit his second home run of the night, this time a two-run shot in the fifth to make the score 11-0 . . .  Later in the inning, Brandon Uhse hit a home run to give the Cougars a 13-0 lead . . . Adam Becker capped the Cougars scoring with a single in the seventh that plated Brandon Uhse and put the Cougars on top 14-0.

The eight home runs for the Cougars set a school record for a single game . . . Five of the home runs were hit with a runner on base . . . Brandon Uhse was 3-for-4 and was on base in each of his first five plate appearances . . . In addition to his two home runs, Will Pendergrass reached base two other times, hit by a pitch one time and walked another time, good production from the eight spot in the lineup . . . Samuel Benjamin was 2-for-4 with a single in addition to the solo home run.

For as good as the offense was on Saturday night, Ben Sears was that dominant on the other side . . . Staked to a big lead that continued to grow as the game went on, Sears scattered four hits over seven innings and did not walk a batter, only departing in the eighth inning after two singles started the inning for the Islanders . . . Sears gave way to Andrew Belcik, eventually one of the runners allowed on base by Sears would score on a sacrifice fly to left field accounting for the sole Islanders run in the game.

Maddux Miller started the ninth in relief, but he gave way to Derrick Cherry who recorded the final out on a fly ball to left and secured the 14-1 victory for the Cougars . . . The Cougars improved to 5-1 on the season with the win.

These two teams close out the weekend series with a rubber game on Sunday afternoon at 1pm at Whataburger Field . . . .Blake Schultz with his record of 1-0 will take the mound for the Cougars.

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.

Cougars Open 2021 with Series Sweep

Blake Schultz opens Sunday’s game against TSU

The Houston Cougars continued their perfection against the Texas Southern Tigers Sunday at Schroeder Park with a 14-4 win, increasing the series record to 32-0 . . . The two teams began playing each other in 1987.

Blake Schultz took the hill for the Cougars in his first outing since coming to Houston . . . Schultz looked strong with good command as he struck out three and did not allow any walks over 4 1/3 innings in which he allowed a single earned run . . . Blake picked up the win (1-0).

In the third inning, Steven Rivas hit a two-run home run to right that traveled 460 feet to extend the Cougars lead to 4-0 . . . Four batters later Ian McMillan hit a grand slam to left to put the Cougars well in front . . . In addition to five RBI, McMillan also dazzled in the field with some incredible defensive plays, many at times when the team really needed them . . . In a post game interview, McMillan noted that he found the partially missing tooth of Luke Almendarez before the game today . . . Almendarez lost part of his tooth in a collision at home plate on Saturday . . . For McMillan, the partial tooth might be a good luck, it might be worth carrying around again to see if it delivers another five RBI.

Sean Bretz made his return to the Cougars after missing all of 2020 after Tommy John Surgery . . . Sean inherited a batter with two strikes already, and he dispatched the batter with a 93mph fastball for a one-pitch strike out . . . Bretz would strike out the next batter to end the Tigers fifth . . . Sean exited after another full inning of work.

Steven Rivas was not done as he doubled to the right field wall in the eighth, part of a 3-for-4 afternoon . . . Rivas is obviously happy to be playing again after having been unable to compete for 347 days prior to this weekend, “you feel like a little kid again,” Rivas said after Sunday’s game.

Tyler Bielamowicz came off the bench for the second day in a row to deliver for the team . . . Tyler hit a bases loaded double to left-center to score two runs, the final runs Houston would score on Sunday.

Derrick Cherry pitched the final two innings to close out the 14-4 victory for the Cougars . . . Derrick struck out one and allowed one hit as he threw twenty-six pitches in his two innings, he was also steadily hitting 93mph and topped out at 95mph.

The 32-0 series record against Texas Southern holds until the two teams meet again, 34 years of dominance by the Cougars will set a standard for all future teams, as will the combined runs in this weekend series win of 30-9 over the three games.

“I have the hammer right now,” Ian McMillan pointed out after the Sunday win, and referring to teammates Ryan Hernandez and Steven Rivas, the only other Cougars to lift the hammer so far this season he said, “they gotta get it back from me.”

The Cougars return to the field on Tuesday at 3pm against Texas A&M Corpus Christi at Schroeder Park as Cameron Prayer will get the start in making his Cougars debut, and other Cougars hitters will try to wrestle the hammer from Ian McMillan, and maybe a partial tooth.

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. –