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 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 Rally in 9th, Fall Short 11-10

Houston Cougars Lael Lockhart Jr. 2-28-2020
Lael Lockhart Jr.’s first pitch against Texas State Friday night.

The Texas State Bobcats arrived in force at Schroeder Park on Friday night as they opened their series with the Houston Cougars with a big win.

The Bobcats got two quick runs in the first inning off of Cougars starter Lael Lockhart Jr. . . . After a strikeout to lead off the game, two singles and a triple added up to a quick 2-0 lead . . . Texas State would keep Houston off the scoreboard long enough to put up a three-spot in the third to take a 5-0 lead.

The Cougars put together a comeback of sorts in the fourth when they scored two after a leadoff single by Ryan Hernandez, one of his two hits on the night, and a double to right-center by Brett Cain . . . Tyler Bielamowicz was hit by a pitch for the fourth time already this season to load the bases for Ian McMillan . . . McMillan hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Hernandez from third.

Freshman Rey Mendoza pinch-hit with the bases loaded and two-outs after a Kobe Hyland walk . . . Mendoza quickly fell behind 0-2, but he stayed patient and he did not chase, eventually he worked a big walk to score another run and get the Cougars within three at 5-2.

Texas State would get a run back in the fifth . . . The Cougars got that run back in the sixth when Kobe Hyland hit a solo homerun to right field . . . But the math was not adding up as the Bobcats plated five runs in their seventh and eighth innings to take a commanding 11-3 lead into the ninth . . . The Bobcats made the Cougars pay for defensive errors, those hitters scored to increase the pressure on the trio of Cougars pitchers that handled the duty on Friday night.

The Cougars mounted a rally of sorts to close the gap . . . Dax Dathe led off the inning with a solid single, and he would move to second on a wild pitch . . . An error by the Texas State shortstop would allow the Cougars runners on the corners with no one out . . . Derrick Cherry would deliver with an RBI single, his first hit of the 2020 season in his first game this year, and the Cougars were trailing 11-4 as Texas State went to the bullpen.

Another run would score on a Ryan Hernandez groundout to make the score 11-5 . . . Blake Way followed with a two-out two-run homerun to left-center to get the Cougars within four at 11-7 . . . Tyler Bielamowicz worked a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. Bielmowicz reached base in three of his five plate appearances, capping his night with a stolen base.

Ian McMillan kept the ninth inning going with a single to right . . . Freshman Luke Almendarez roped a two-out double into the left field corner and two runs would score to make the score 11-9 before Texas State went to the bullpen again . . . A single to right by Dylan Post would get the Cougars within one, but the rally would end there with the winning run base as the Cougars fell 11-10 despite scoring seven runs in the final frame.

Houston and Texas State are back at it on Saturday evening at 6:30 at Schroeder Park. –

Cougars Drop 12 Inning Thriller

Houston Cougars Spencer Hynes 2-25-2020
Spencer Hynes throws the first pitch against UTRGV Tuesday night.

The Houston Cougars and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros played a game Tuesday night that few who were in attendance will be able to forget; this game had it all.

After neither team could push a run across in the first inning, in the bottom second Ian McMillan put down a sacrifice bunt to score Brett Cain from third for an early 1-0 lead.

Spencer Hynes started the game on the mound and threw two scoreless innings . . . Nick Rupp followed Hynes and went three scoreless before yielding to Tanner Green . . . For Rupp, it was his first appearance for the Cougars.

The Vaqueros tied the game in the sixth with a run-scoring single . . . The next batter put a ball deep into the outfield and the runner from first had been moving on contact with two outs. Right-fielder Rivas threw to his cut-off man Ian McMillan who fired home to catcher Dylan Post to stop a go-ahead run from scoring by mere inches.

With the game tied at one in the eighth, UTRGV hit a grand slam to not only take the lead, but also to have some cushion . . . The Cougars would chip away at the four-run deficit by countering with three runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth, spurred by freshman Rey Mendoza’s first hit as a Cougar, a two-out, two-run single to center in the pinch-hitting role . . . Tyler Bielamowicz followed with a run-scoring single to get the Cougars within one at 5-4.

Bielamowicz in the leadoff spot reached base in five of six plate appearances, with two walks, a double on the first pitch of the night from UTRGV, an eighth inning single, and an error at second base that resulted in Bielamowicz safe at first . . . It is no secret that having a leadoff guy getting on base is crucial, and sometimes a ballplayer just has to put the ball in play to make things happen.

Steven Rivas stepped to the plate with one out in the ninth . . . Rivas went after the first pitch he saw from UTRGV’s Max Balderrama Jr. and drove it over the scoreboard in right-center field . . . The ball cleared the scoreboard by five feet and by the time Rivas crossed the plate, there was a brand new ballgame tied at five all . . . Rivas had three hits in the game, only he and Tyler Bielamowicz enjoyed a multi-hit game.

Before Rivas had a chance to tie the game, the Cougars had to get to that point . . . In the top of the ninth, the Vaqueros were threatening when Coleman Grubbs drove a ball toward the gap in left-center with two runners on base . . . Tyler Bielamowicz covered some real estate and then laid out for the catch of the year thus far . . . If the ball had dropped, a run would have scored, if the ball had gotten by and gone to the wall, two runs would have scored . . . Bielo ended the threat with a catch for the ages.

A scoreless tenth ran into a scoreless top of the eleventh . . . In the bottom of the frame, the Cougars loaded the bases with no outs . . . Jonathan Thomas put a pitch in play and when all was said and done, confusion and bewilderment on the basepaths resulted in an inning-ending triple play.

In the top half of the twelfth, The Vaqueros managed to get a run across on a sacrifice fly to deep left for a 6-5 lead . . . The Cougars went quietly in the bottom half and four hours and forty-two minutes after the first pitch, the game came to an end.

The Cougars return to action on Friday night at Schroeder Park when they play host to the Texas State Bobcats in a three-game weekend series . . . First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6:30. –

Cougars Fall to Tennessee in Round Rock

Round Rock Classic Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars and the undefeated Tennessee Volunteers came into the second day of the inaugural Round Rock Classic having both won their opening games on Friday at Dell Diamond.

The Volunteers got on the board with three runs in the first off of Houston starter Clay Aguilar . . . Those would be the only runs until the fourth when Steven Rivas hit a two-run homerun to get the Cougars within one . . . For Rivas it was his second homerun on the season.

Houston would tie the game in the fifth when Ryan Hernandez hit a one-out double to the warning track that allowed Kobe Hyland to cross the plate . . . Clay Aguilar exited the game in the sixth as his pitch count reached 96, he went 5 1/3 striking out five and only allowing two earned runs . . . Tristen Bayless took the mound and got the final two outs of the inning to keep the game tied at three . . . Aguilar’s outing was quite good in the long run, stretching his start into the sixth kept the bullpen from being taxed too heavily.

The Cougars then took the lead in the sixth after Lael Lockhart Jr. got his first hit of the season to lead off the inning. Lockhart Jr. would score from second on an Ian McMillan infield single and a throwing error . . . It would be the only run of the inning as the Cougars took the 4-3 lead into the seventh.

Things came unraveled for the Cougars at that point as the Volunteers continued to get runners on base . . . Tennessee scored three in the seventh and two in the ninth to take an eventual 8-4 lead. 

Houston went hitless in its final three frames against Tennessee pitching . . . Ryan Hernandez was 2-for-3 on the afternoon, the only Cougar with multiple hits, and he got his season average up to .400 . . . It is worth noting that while Tyler Bielamowicz was 0-for-2 in the game, he was hit-by-pitch in his first two plate appearances and he continues to get on base for the Cougars so far this year . . .  The 8-4 loss dropped the Cougars to 2-3 on the young season.

The Cougars close out their action in the 2020 Round Rock Classic on Sunday at 3pm against Texas Tech. –

Cougars Begin 2020 With 7-3 Win

Lael Lockhart Jr. delivers the first pitch of 2020 on Friday night at Schroeder Park.
Lael Lockhart Jr. delivers the first pitch of 2020 on Friday night at Schroeder Park.

The Houston Cougars under Todd Whitting have a strong record on opening weekends, and Friday night at Schroeder Park was no exception . . . The Cougars played host to the Youngstown State Penguins to get the 2020 campaign underway.

Lael Lockhart Jr. got the Friday night start, a familiar role for him after taking over as the Friday night starter last season . . . Lockhart was perfect through three innings with six strikeouts . . . Lockhart surrendered his first hit and run both in the fourth . . . An inning later, as some tough luck and defensive miscues took place behind him, Lockhart would exit as the Cougars fell behind for the first time in the game.

Junior college transfer Ryan Hernandez introduced himself to the Cougars fans in a big way . . . In his first at-bat, Hernandez drove a pitch deep to left-center to score Brad Burckel all the way from first and give Houston a 1-0 lead . . . Hernandez’s next two plate appearances each resulted in singles, at that point Youngstown State had seen enough, they issued an intentional pass in his next at-bat.

Brayson Hurdsman was outstanding out of the bullpen for the Cougars going the final four innings and striking out six along the way.

In the sixth inning, junior transfer Steven Rivas used his first plate appearance as a Cougar to hit a bases loaded sacrifice fly to right to tie the game . . . Ian McMillan then punched a single into right field to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.

Senior Tyler Bielamowicz got his final Cougars campaign off to a hot start with a 2-for-3 performance that included a walk . . . Bielamowicz drove in three runs on the night, including two in the seventh that placed some distance between the Cougars and the Penguins.

1,074 fans braved the chilly night of baseball and the home team delivered a 7-3 victory . . . The two teams return to the field at Schroeder Park on Saturday night at 6:30.