Cougars Top FIU in the 9th

Jared Pettitte's first pitch of the game against FIU on Wednesday at Schroeder Park.
Jared Pettitte’s first pitch of the game Wednesday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The threat of rain hung over Schroeder Park on Wednesday night as the Florida International University Panthers brought their shiny chrome batting helmets for the midweek matchup . . . The Houston Cougars countered with what has been a semi-regular formula for victory this year: A late rally, and a closer on the mound that is tough to score against.

A couple of wrinkles along the way told the story in this one though.

Jared Pettitte made his second consecutive Wednesday start for the Cougars . . . After a quick first inning where he retired the Panthers in order, striking out two, he gave up a leadoff homerun to the FIU clean-up hitter after he had fallen behind him 3-1. Pettitte brought a fastball and that was what right fielder Adan Fernandez was looking for and he sent the pitch over the wall in left-center . . . Pettitte would get the next batter to pop up to second.

Panthers first baseman Logan Allen then hit a lined shot off of Jared Pettitte’s throwing arm, the ball did not go far, and Allen reached first on a single and Pettitte stayed on the ground for a while as Cougars staff rushed out to check on the sophomore left-hander . . . Pettitte would walk off the field on his own, but he was in visible discomfort on his left side . . . X-rays would later show no break, we will know more in the coming days.

Ron Brown had the difficult task of relieving Pettitte under the circumstances and a rushed warm-up, and after yielding two runs and recording an out, lefty Spencer Hynes entered the game with two outs in the second and pitched an outstanding three innings, keeping the Panthers from increasing their lead and keeping the Cougars within striking distance . . . A bevy of relievers would provide scoreless, quality work out of the bullpen on the night, including Carter Henry, Brayson Hurdsman, and Devon Roedahl.

Brett Esau got a rare start on Wednesday in place of an ailing Kobe Hyland . . . Esau played third base which moved Jared Triolo to Hyland’s usual shortstop position . . . Esau had the FIU pitching figured out as he went 3-for-4 with two doubles down the left field line . . . And for his part, Triolo played short like he had been playing there his entire life.

FIU starter Christian Santana was touched up for four total runs before he left in the fifth . . . Santana was throwing hard all night, reaching 94 at one point, his command and consistency were off though, and that allowed Houston to continaully chip away at that early deficit.

The only inning where FIU actually did some damage on offense was in the 2nd, most of it after the injury to Jared Pettitte . . . Catcher Kyle Lovelace picked-off Logan Allen at second when Allen strayed too far toward third after reaching base on a double to lead off the sixth, this heads up defensive gem was a key out for the Cougars, it only goes down as a 2-6 on the scorecard, but it was a big play at the time.

Neither team would score in innings five thru eight . . . With the score tied at four, Fred Villarreal came in to the game to make sure FIU did not score in the ninth . . . Fred accomplished this mission on eight pitches.

In the bottom of the ninth, with one out Kobe Hyland pinch hit for Kyle Lovelace and was hit by a pitch, and one out later he would steal second . . . The Cougars were down to their final out when Tyler Bielamowicz singled home Kobe Hyland from second as Hyland had been moving on the pitch . . . Bielamowicw was 3-for-4 on the night with a walk . . . FIU pitcher Christian Dearman, in his second inning of work, had fallen behind Bielamowicz, and with Joe Davis standing on-deck, Dearman had to get Bielamowicz . . . The Cougars won 5-4, Fred Villarreal earned the win to go to 3-1 on the season.

The Cougars have tomorrow off and then they welcome East Carolina University (ECU) for a weekend conference series . . . First pitch on Friday night at Schroeder Park is at 6:30. –

 

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Cougars Win at Lamar; Davis Homers Again

The Houston Cougars celebrate victory at Lamar University in Beaumont on Tuesday.
The Houston Cougars celebrate victory at Lamar on Tuesday.

Stop me if you have heard this before . . . The Cougars rally late, on a Joe Davis homerun, to win, and Fred Villarreal earns a save.

That is what took place in Beaumont on Tuesday evening as the Houston Cougars visited the Lamar Cardinals, with some other drama along the way.

Clay Aguilar was on the mound for the Cougars and he looked sharp early and his breaking pitches really had nice movement . . . But Aguilar started to lose command of his pitches in the second and the pitch count rose as well . . . Aguilar would leave the game in the third, charged with four runs, but two were unearned as some bizarre baseball took place behind him in the second and third, including the Cougars committing the first two of what ended up being four errors on the night.

Some small ball would help get the Cougars get on the scoreboard in the third as a single by Brad Burckel and a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Lovelace put a runner in scoring position for a double by Jared Triolo, Triolo’s only hit of the night . . . Burckel singled in his first two at-bats, and scored both times.

Rey Fuentes, 3-for-5 in the game, hit an opposite field homerun to lead off the fourth inning . . . The fourth inning also included a single, a wild pitch, a batter bit by a pitch, a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt, another single, another wild pitch, and a partridge in a pear tree . . . When the dust settled the Cougars had scored four in the frame and were leading 5-4.

Lamar scored three in their half of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead . . . This lead held until the top of the eighth when Tyler Bielamowicz, who was on second after a leadoff double to left, was singled home by Lael Lockhart Jr., part of a 2-for-2 night for Lael as he hit the ball hard both times . . . Catcher Blake Way who had entered the game in the sixth replaceing Kyle Lovelace hit a double to center to score Lockhart from second, tying the game at eight.

Devon Roedahl had entered the game in the seventh, relieving Brayson Hurdsman, and he was outstanding . . . Roedahl ended the seventh completely freezing Lamar’s Cole Girouard on a called third strike to end the inning . . . Devon returned to the mound in the eighth and sent Lamar batters down in order to set up the ninth inning.

Joe Davis led off the ninth inning . . . Davis was sitting 1-0 when he unloaded on the second pitch he saw from Lamar’s Ryan Erickson . . . The homerun shot was a no-doubter, the left-fielder barely moved as he watched the ball sail over his head and over the left field wall . . . The Cougars would be retired in order after the Davis homerun.

Fred Villarreal came in to close the door with a 8-7 lead, and he did so on nine pitches as he retired all three batters he faced . . . For Villarreal it was his sixth save on the year.

The Cougars have little time to rest, they return to action tomorrow night back home at Schroeder Park where they will host Florida International University (FIU) . . . First pitch against FIU is at 6:30pm. –

 

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Cougars Take Finale in Memphis 4-3

Houston Cougars Baseball

For a while, it looked as though the Houston Cougars were doomed in Memphis this weekend . . . The offense was struggling, the defense lost seemingly easy fly balls in the sun which would lead to runs, and having lost both games of a double-header two days before, it was easy to assume the worst.

Nolan Bond got the Sunday start for Houston, only his second start of the season . . . His day ended in the fifth as he exited the game with the Cougars trailing, but still with the game within reach . . . Sean Bretz would be the first of five relief pitchers out of the bullpen in this game . . . Bretz was relieved two outs later by Tristen Bayless who got out of the inning, but the Cougars were down 3-0 and it would remain that way until the seventh.

Rey Fuentes was brought off the bench to lead off the seventh inning . . . Fuentes hit a homerun over the wall in right-center to get the Coogs on the board . . . The offense was not done in the inning though, Brad Burckel and Jonathan Thomas would both walk and Jared Triolo would bring Burckel home on a single, but Triolo was thrown out trying to get to second on the play, so the inning ended there with Memphis still leading 3-2.

Meanwhile, the Cougar bullpen was shutting down the Memphis offense . . . Brayson Hurdsman pitched an important 1 2/3 innings before being relieved by Devon Roedahl for 1 1/3 innings himself.

Houston would manufacture two more runs in the top of the eighth, one of which was Kobe Hyland scoring from first on a Joe Davis double to the wall in right-center to tie the game at 3 . . . Davis would score later on a fielders choice play at the plate that got away from Memphis catcher Jason Santana.

With the Cougars leading 4-3, Devon Roedahl made quick work of the Tigers 4-5-6 spots in the lineup to finish the eighth . . . After a scoreless Cougars half of the inning, Fred Villarreal was called in to slam the door shut on Memphis in the ninth, and he did just that . . . Villarreal retired all three batters he faced to secure the 4-3 road win for the Cougars, earning his fifth save of the year.

The Cougars are now off on Monday and they will be in Beaumont on Tuesday to take on Lamar before returning to Schroeder Park on Wednesday night. –

 

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Friday Twin Bill Goes to Memphis

Houston Cougars Baseball

Possible bad weather on Saturday in Memphis led to the moving of that game to Friday, which meant two games Friday at FedEx Park ahead of the weather . . . The Memphis Tigers grabbed big early leads in both games and that created situations where the Cougars had to come back from big deficits to make the games competitive.

This was made more difficult by facing a very good and effective Friday starter in Hunter Smith in game one . . . Smith would go eight innings and throw 117 pitches while striking out nine Cougars batters and only allowing three earned runs.

Devon Roedahl entered the game in the fifth to relieve starting pitcher Lael Lockhart Jr., and he was quite good, going the final 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball only allowing one hit.

Jared Triolo hit a solo homerun in the sixth, the Cougars first run of the game, as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon in game one . . . Brad Burckel, hitting in the eight spot, went 2-for-3 with a walk . . . Derrick Cherry hit a two-out two-run homerun to left-center in the eighth to make the score 7-3, and that would be the final score.

A grand slam in the first inning of game two once again had the Cougars playing from behind . . . But Joe Davis got the Cougars on the board and back in the game in the third with a three-run blast to center field . . . Kobe Hyland got in on the act in the sixth when he hit his third homerun of the season over the right field wall to tie the game at 4-4.

Ryan Randel settled in after the first inning and turned in a very good 5 2/3 innings pitched leaving in the sixth inning with the game tied . . . When he exited he had put runners on the corners and Nolan Bond inherited that situation . . . Two pitches later Bond had done his job, stranding both runners.

Memphis would get to Fred Villarreal in the bottom of the eighth for two runs and that would be enough to take game two on the day as the Cougars fell 6-4.

The Cougars and the Tigers will have a day off on Saturday and will face off again on Sunday at 1pm. –

 

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Cougars Take Marathon Game 1 in Dallas

The Houston Cougars in their pre-game routine at Dallas Baptist on Friday. Photo by @numberonecoog via Twitter.
The Cougars in their pre-game routine at Dallas Baptist on Friday.
Photo by @numberonecoog via Twitter.

The Houston Cougars played their first ever game at Dallas Baptist University on Friday night. No one will forget the game anytime soon. The Patriots of Dallas Baptist entered Friday with an eight game win streak, while the Cougars arrived in town with a four game win streak of their own.

The Cougars shifted their batting order a bit for the Friday tilt . . . Jared Triolo was moved from his usual three spot and batted second while Joe Davis was moved from his usual cleanup spot and batted third . . . As hot as Davis has been, this was likely a move to get Davis a few more possible at-bats, or at least, at-bats in crucial situations.

The first nine batters for the Cougars garnered four base hits, all singles. This could have indicated the Cougar hitters were seeing the ball well and were not fooled by Patriots starting pitcher Jordan Martinson . . . As it turned out, the Cougars would not score a run until the seventh when Dallas Baptist finally went to the bullpen.

Whatever the strategy on the changed batting order, it worked perfectly on Friday night as Davis in the three spot would bat in two different innings with the bases loaded, and he delivered runs both times . . . His first RBI was a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, part of a three-run seventh in which the Cougars took a 3-2 lead.

Lael Lockhart Jr. made his second consecutive Friday night start on the mound for the Cougars and he had a very good outing . . . He would go six solid innings, and after a rather long top of the seventh for the Cougars offense, Lockhart went back out to the mound for the bottom of the inning . . . He may have been on the bench too long in that top part of the inning, he seemed to be tiring anyway which would make sense with an elevated pitch count . . . After a leadoff single, Lockhart made an errant pick-off throw to first that went down the first base line and put the runner on third.

At that point, pitching change after pitching change took place and the Patriots scored three runs to re-take the lead 5-3 in an inning which lasted about 40 minutes.

The Coogs bounced right back with a four-run eighth, featuring two of Davis’ three RBI in the game and a Kobe Hyland RBI single which ended when Blake Way was caught up in an inning-ending rundown between second and third.

The Cougars scored eight runs in the final three innings of the game . . . They would score the eight runs on only three hits, with the help of seven walks, one error, and a hit batter . . . The Cougars also left eleven runners on base on the evening.

Over four and a half hours after the first pitch, Devon Roedahl shut the door on the Patriots to earn a save and secure the 8-6 win, the Cougars fifth consecutive victory.

The Cougars and the Patriots return to action on Saturday afternoon in Dallas, with an earlier than usual 2pm start. –

 

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Cougars Sweep Army on Davis Walkoff

The Cougars face Army at Schroeder Park on Sunday. Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.
The Cougars face Army at Schroeder Park on Sunday.
Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter

The Houston Cougars took an unconventional path to victory on Sunday at Schroeder Park in the finale of their three game series with the Army Black Knights.

Tyler Bielamowicz’s illness on Friday, and his inability to make his planned Friday night start, meant the Cougars had to go with plan B on Sunday because their typical Sunday starter took the mound on Friday night . . . Clay Aguilar started for the Cougars and could not get out of the first inning as his control was off and his pitch count was already at 27, and he had only pitched 1/3 of an inning.

Nolan Bond made the best of a bad situation when he was called in from the bullpen. A sacrifice bunt would score an inherited runner before Bond would end the first inning with the Cougars already down 4-0 before they had even been to the plate.

The Cougars would start to inch back into the game with a run in the first on a Joe Davis two-out RBI single to score Brad Burckel.

Bond, back on the mound in the second inning would get the Black Knights down in order on seven pitches . . . By the time Nolan’s day was done, he had gone 2 2/3 very important innings, allowed one run, two hits, and had thrown a total of 26 pitches, 21 of them for strikes.

The Cougars would tack on two more runs in the third . . . They would explode for a four-run inning of their own in the seventh to tie the game at 7, highlighted by Joe Davis who came to the plate with the bases loaded . . . Davis would single and plate two runs, and a heads up play by Jared Triolo running at third base, allowed him to score on an error and indecision by the Black Knights second baseman.

Relievers Ron Brown, Fred Villarreal, and Devon Roedahl would each go one inning without giving up a run, a solid day for the bullpen which saw five pitchers come into the game starting in that first inning.

The possibility of ninth inning theatrics looked promising for the Black Knights as they loaded the bases with one out, but Roedahl gave them nothing and that set the stage for the bottom of the ninth.

Jared Triolo got a one-out single and would advance to second on an errant pick-off throw at first . . . Joe Davis would end his 4-for-5, 5 RBI day with a homerun over the right field fence to send the fans home happy and to secure the first series sweep on the season for the Cougars.

The Cougars are off on Monday and welcome Texas-San Antonio to Schroeder Park for a mid-week matchup on Tuesday at 6:30pm before hitting the road for their first real road trip of the season. –

 

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Cougars End Skid, Defeat Army 6-3

Friday night baseball vs. Army at Schroeder Park. Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.
Friday night baseball vs. Army at Schroeder Park.
Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.

The Army Black Knights arrived at Schroeder Park Friday afternoon to face a Houston Cougars team that had lost five straight games dating back two weekends ago when they lost the series finale to Arizona.

Friday night starter Tyler Bielamowicz was scratched from his usual start day due to illness, and Lael Lockhart Jr. would take the hill instead.

The Cougars led off each of the first three innings with a base hit . . . It is no coincidence that the Cougars would also score runs in each of those three innings . . . When the Cougars stopped getting the leadoff batter on base, they also stopped scoring runs.

Lockhart was very effective in his outing as he allowed just one earned run in 5 1/3 innings, exiting in the sixth with his team ahead 4-1 . . . The bullpen would allow the Black Knights to score two runs before Nolan Bond would come in from the bullpen to end the inning with the Cougars lead down to a run, 4-3.

Joe Davis would immediately get a run back, sending the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth inning over the left field wall . . . For Davis it was career homerun number 40 at the University of Houston . . . It was also another leadoff hit leading to runs scoring in the inning, the Coogs would manufacture another run in the inning, taking a 6-3 lead.

Devon Roedahl entered the game to pitch in the seventh and was immediately greeted by a leadoff triple by Army center fielder Jacob Hurtubise . . . Roedahl remained calm, made his pitches, and three outs later had left Hurtubise on third . . . Roedahl would get Army down in order in the eighth.

Roedahl would face a little adversity in the ninth, but he was able to shut down the Black Knights and get the final three outs to end the Cougars five game losing streak . . . Cougars pitching allowed only four hits on the night, two each by two hitters . . . This was a solid team win for the Coogs, and while Lael Lockhart Jr. got the official win, the entire team played a part in the Friday night victory.

The Cougars and the Black Knights continue their series Saturday evening at 6:30pm at Schroeder Park. –

 

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Cougars Hang Close, Lose 3-2 to Texas A&M

Lael Lockhart, Jr. throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Sunday. Photo by Cougars Beat
Lael Lockhart, Jr. throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Sunday.
Photo by Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars will be glad to wake up tomorrow morning knowing they do not have any more games at Minute Maid Park this year . . . The Cougars took on the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday afternoon in their final game of the 2019 Shriners College Classic.

The Cougars had a nice crowd on hand to see left-hander Lael Lockhart, Jr. take the mound for the third time this season . . . The Aggies would counter with a lefty of their own, Jonathan Childress.

The Aggies would open the scoring in the fourth inning on a line-drive double down the third base line that brought home one run.

Childress for his part went three scoreless, hitless innings . . . During his warmup tosses in the fourth inning, Childress felt something he did not like in his arm, and after bringing the Aggies head coach and trainer to the mound, Childress would depart the game . . . Chandler Jozwiak would replace Childress, and second baseman Brad Burckel would promptly get the first base hit for the Cougars.

Lockhart would exit the game in the fifth inning with two outs and two runners on base . . . Right-hander Devon Roedahl would enter the game and he would induce an inning-ending ground ball . . . Roedahl was solid out of the bullpen. He ran into trouble in the eighth when he loaded the bases with no outs, but he got a double-play and a strikeout to work out of the jam only allowing one run.

The Cougars were still in the game when Lockhart exited, down only 2-0 . . . But the offense was struggling . . . Joe Davis was 0-for-9 entering Sunday’s action . . . Davis would get his first base hit of the weekend, a towering blast to deep right-center field that the Aggie center-fielder would get his glove on but not reel in . . . One batter later the Cougars had the bases loaded with one out and would score one run on a fielders choice by Grayson Padgett to cut the Aggie lead to 2-1.

Down 3-1 in the eighth Jared Triolo reached base on a walk, and Joe Davis followed that with his second consecutive double, this one off the out-of-town scoreboard in front of the Crawford Boxes, and he had the Cougars back within a run at 3-2.

Devon Roedahl would leave the game in the ninth after a leadoff single, he threw 56 pitches in his 3 1/3 innings of solid relief work . . . Spencer Hynes would inherit a runner and get three outs to get out of the inning by throwing seven pitches, all of them for strikes.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars were not able to get anything going and went down in order . . . The offense left seven runners on base in the game, a glaring number in the eyes of a one-run defeat . . . The Cougars have now lost their last nine games at Minute Maid Park.

The Cougars return to action on Tuesday when they will host Rice at Schroeder Park . . . The weather will be on the chilly side, so dress warm and get to the ballpark and root for the Coogs. –

 

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