Major League Baseball’s amateur draft got underway on Monday and will finish up late on Wednesday . . . Cougars third baseman Jared Triolo was drafted late in the evening on Monday with the 72nd overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates, toward the end of the second of forty rounds.
There is debate about what position eventually fits Triolo best, some suggest shortstop is his destination, while others maintain he can be a third sacker at the next level . . . His arm and his fielding tell us it could be either position, but it may be his hitting that determines where he ends up.
The Pirates amateur scouting director, Joe DelliCarri, offered these thoughts on Triolo’s plate discipline, Jared is, “Comfortable deep in at-bats,” DelliCarri said. “Maybe a little upside, too, in his approach. He’s very comfortable going deeper. He sees the ball and looks to us to have processing. Just the overall look to Jared is hitter-ish in all counts, early and late, and there’s definitely some stuff we believe we can help him get to – upside in his approach a little bit more, then his impact as well. Even though he’s shown some things in samples and at times, there’s more there.” –
Clearwater, Florida was supposed to play host for several days for the Houston Cougars . . . Instead, after a one-run loss on the last batter of the game on Tuesday, and a blowout at the hands of nationally ranked ECU on Wednesday, the rest of the American Championship will be played without the Cougars.
Wednesday, the Cougars had to face American Conference pitcher of the year, lefty Jake Agnos . . . As if that would not be difficult enough under normal circumstances, Houston was facing a team ranked nationally in the top ten, and a team also facing elimination.
Houston pitching was tagged for thirteen runs on fifteen hits against a very good East Carolina offense that was not ready to be sent home . . . It was a tough afternoon for the entire staff.
The Cougars scored their first run of the game in the second inning, without getting a hit . . . Brad Burckel walked to get on base, and after moving around, he would score from third on a wild pitch for the Cougars first and only run against Agnos.
Jared Triolo was 2-for-3 on the afternoon and after getting on base with a double, he would score from third on a Tyler Bielamowicz groundball out to make the score 10-2 . . . The game got further out of hand before finally ending at 13-2, eliminating the Cougars.
The Cougars now wait . . . They have been eliminated from the American Championship, so their fate lies with others . . . There will be a selection process taking place on Monday, and at that point the Cougars will know if they have been chosen to go to a regional, or not. –
The American Conference Championship got underway Tuesday morning in Clearwater, Florida with the first pitch between the UConn Huskies and the Houston Cougars . . . The ability for any team to determine its path can be realized by just playing one game at a time, keep winning, you keep playing, lose a game, and the slope becomes much steeper to climb.
Houston sent Lael Lockhart Jr. to the mound for the morning start, and Lockhart seemed to have adapted well . . . A mistake by Lockhart in the second inning found its way to the left field seats, but Lockhart was very much in control scattering just four other hits through six innings of work as Lockhart took the game into the seventh inning.
Trailing 2-0 in the fourth, Jared Triolo got the Cougars on the scoreboard with a no-doubter to left to cut the lead to 2-1 . . . The homerun was part of a 2-for-4 morning for Triolo . . . Joe Davis evened the score at two with a solo homerun of his own to left-center in the top of the sixth inning.
The Cougars took the lead in the top of the seventh when Kobe Hyland singled home Grayson Padgett to make the score 3-2 . . . Padgett had reached base when he was hit by a pitch and then stole second.
In the bottom of the seventh Lockhart surrendered his fifth and final hit, a homerun to left, which tied the game at three . . . Sean Bretz entered the game and eventually ended the inning, making way for Fred Villarreal . . . Villarreal pitched a scoreless eighth sending the tied ballgame to the ninth.
Houston loaded the bases in the top of the ninth but could not push a run across . . . In the bottom of the ninth, a leadoff single would eventually end up on second, and that run would be driven home by UConn third baseman David Langer with a single to center off of Villarreal to give the Huskies a 4-3 win.
The Cougars will play Wednesday at 2pm Houston time, the opponent is not yet known, but it will be the loser of the East Carolina and Wichita State game which starts forty-seven minutes after the Cougars game ended, so we will know the opponent soon enough. –
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. –
The Rice Owls had won six straight entering play on Wednesday night, and the Houston Cougars were coming off a series loss last weekend in Tampa, Florida . . . The first inning indicated that the streaks would continue, but there is a reason baseball has nine innings and sometimes a tenth.
Wednesday night got off to a shaky start as the Owls scored two runs on three hits and a hit batter . . . The got one hit in the first, and would not get another hit until sixth.
Right-hander Nolan Bond took the mound to start the second inning after Brayson Hurdsman started the game pitching only the first . . . Bond retired the first seven batters he faced as his breaking balls were finding the strike zone and his fastballs were finding the corners and freezing batters for called third strikes . . . In the bottom of the fourth two walks and a fielders choice in addition to a high pitch count after a long layoff ended Bond’s night after 2 2/3 innings.
Sean Bretz would relieve Nolan Bond in the bottom of the fourth and get the final out to keep the Rice lead to 2-0 . . . Bond’s outing was a welcome result after a rocky first inning for the Cougars, and it would be the first of four good outings for the Cougars bullpen in the game.
Houston was held scoreless going into the eighth, and after a leadoff strike out, things did not look to be changing . . . After Kobe Hyland walked and Kyle Lovelace singled, both moved into scoring position after a wild pitch . . . Jared Triolo, who had a great game defensively with plenty of opportunities, hit a clutch two-out double down the right-field line as he went where the pitch was thrown and even the score 2-2.
In the tenth, the Cougars managed to score six runs on only one hit, instead relying on six walks, an intentional walk, and a batter hit by a pitch . . . The single came when Kobe Hyland hit a two-out single to right to drive in the fifth of the Cougars six runs in the inning . . . In a game where the Cougars managed to score eight runs in ten innings, they did it on only five hits . . . Kyle Lovelace was the only Cougar with multiple hits as he went 2-for-4 and walked once.
The Cougars bullpen went nine scoreless innings after Hurdsman left the game after the first inning . . . The Owls only collected five hits in the final nine innings and the Cougars only issued three walks while striking out eight.
Devon Roedahl picked up his seventh win on the year after 2 2/3 innings of work at the end of the game . . . Roedahl struck out four and looked really strong all the way through the final out in the tenth . . . The Cougars improve to 27-18 on the season with the 8-2 victory, and they evened 2019’s Silver Glove Series, which will be decided with a third and final game in a little under two weeks down in Sugar Land.
The Cougars are off tomorrow and host University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) on Friday for a weekend non-conference series . . . The weather forecast is looking ominous so if you plan to attend any part of this weekend series, you will want to check for updates . . . As of now, first pitch Friday is at 6:30pm. –
The great game of baseball typically gives you a quick chance to put bad things behind and move forward without dwelling on the one that got away . . . The opportunity presented itself to the Houston Cougars in Tampa on Saturday night after losing a could-have-been opening game of their series with the Bulls of the University of South Florida.
For the second straight night the Cougars would score first, and in the second inning . . . In Saturday’s version, Rey Fuentes reached base on a one-out single . . . One out later, Brad Burckel hit a triple to right which scored Fuentes . . . Burckel would score on a wild pitch that did not get too far from the plate, but Burckel committed to going home and made it safely to give the Cougars and starter Clay Aguilar an early 2-0 lead.
Houston would add two runs to their lead in the fifth inning after Burckel led off the inning with his second consecutive extra base hit, this one a double down the third base line . . . After Kyle Lovelace sacrificed Burckel to third, Jared Triolo singled him home to put the Cougars up 3-0 . . . A Tyler Bielamowicz single and a wild pitch put runners on second and third for Joe Davis . . . Davis hit a sacrifice fly to score Triolo and make the score 4-0 . . . For Davis it gave him 50 RBI on the year.
The Bulls would not get a run off of Aguilar until the sixth inning when a leadoff double would eventually score, and despite a single, Aguilar got out of the inning holding on to a 4-1 lead.
Cougars added a run in the seventh when Derrick Cherry singled to center scoring Kyle Lovelace from second . . . When the Cougars are playing well, there is incredible balance in their lineup . . . Unlike Friday’s game where the Cougars lost and only had three batters get hits, on Saturday the lineup saw seven of the nine starters reach base with a hit, and four of the nine starters had at least one RBI.
Brad Burckel was not done yet . . . With Jonathan Thomas on first, Burckel hit a two-out homerun to right to make the score 7-1 . . . This left Burckel just a single shy of the cycle in the game . . . Not bad for your eight hitter.
Clay Aguilar went 6 2/3 innings allowing just one run on four hits and striking out five . . . Fred Villarreal recorded the final seven outs of the game after relieving Aguilar, going scoreless in 2 1/3 innings of relief work and locking down the 7-1 win for Aguilar, who improves to 5-3 on the year.
The Cougars and the Bulls conclude their series with a rubber game on Sunday, first pitch is at noon Houston time . . . Neither starting pitcher has been announced yet. –
The University of South Florida Bulls welcomed the Houston Cougars to Tampa, Florida on Friday night for the opening game of a weekend conference series.
Lael Lockhart Jr. got the Friday night start again and he looked crisp early, through the first two innings most of his pitches had been around the plate, many for strikes . . . Lockhart was also accumulating strikeouts early, when his night was done he had struck out eight.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard first, in the second inning after a one-out double by Rey Fuentes and a single by Derrick Cherry put two runners on when Kobe Hyland doubled to right field on an 0-2 pitch . . . Hyland’s double would be all the scoring in the inning as the Cougars took a 2-0 lead.
Derrick Cherry added to the score when he hit a one-out homerun to left-center in the fourth to put the Cougars up 3-0 . . . For Cherry it was his third homerun on the season and part of a 2-for-4 night.
The Bulls did not score a run until a one-out double in the fifth by Alex Bello scored a runner from first base . . . Lockhart seemed to be scuffling at the time as runners would end up on first and second with one out. But the inning would come to an end when Lockhart stuck out his eighth batter of the game and Kyle Lovelace would stop a steal attempt cold at third with a perfect throw and tag by Jared Triolo.
Lockhart would leave the game in the sixth with a 3-1 lead, but with two runners on base . . . Those two runners and one more Bull would score in the inning as USF took a 4-3 lead . . . Sean Bretz, in from the bullpen to relieve Lockhart, threw only nine pitches before being relieved himself by Devon Roedahl with a 2-2 count on a batter . . . Devon Roedahl eventually ended the inning after a fielder’s choice plated the fourth run for the Bulls.
Houston missed a prime scoring opportunity in the seventh when they could not get Kobe Hyland home from third after a triple led off the inning . . . After Brad Burckel reached first on a hit-by-pitch, Jared Triolo skied a ball to center, which looked like it would be a sacrifice fly to tie the game at four at the time . . . After the ball was caught, Hyland raced for home . . . Oddly, Burckel broke for second, and was thrown out at second before Hyland crossed the plate, so the double-play happened before the run scored and the inning ended that way.
The Bulls would add a run in the eighth on an Alex Bello two-out single to take a 5-3 lead into the ninth.
The Cougars went down quietly in the eighth and ninth . . . Houston did not score a run after the fourth and they only collected five hits in the game, one by Fuentes, two by both Cherry and Hyland.
The Cougars and the Bulls do battle again on Saturday at 5:30pm Houston time . . . Clay Aguilar is scheduled to make the start for the Cougars as they look to even this series. –
The Houston Cougars and the Sam Houston State Bearkats took the final game of their three-game series on the road to Sugar Land on Tuesday night for a neutral site game . . . Having already played at Houston and at Huntsville this season, Constellation Field played host to the final game between the two schools this year . . . Having won the first two games of the series, Houston was going for the sweep on Tuesday night.
Jared Pettitte made his fifth appearance on the year for the Cougars, and his first since being hit on the arm by a hard come-backer to the mound on April 3. Pettitte made the start for the Cougars and showed signs of having not pitched in nearly three weeks, but he was also changing speeds well and getting good breaks on some pitches.
Cougars offense is doing it lately by putting the ball in play, not by hitting the long ball, and that continued on Tuesday night as they scored nine runs on twelve hits . . . Seven of the nine starting Cougars recorded at least one base hit in the game, led by Derrick Cherry who was 3-for-4 and Joe Davis who was 3-for-5, Jared Triolo had yet another multi-hit game going 2-for-4, getting the action started in the first with a single before eventually scoring the Cougars first run, followed by his second single of the game in the second inning . . . Joe Davis and Tyler Bielamowicz each had 3 RBI in the game.
An explosive sixth inning put the Cougars in the lead and also put the game out of reach for the Bearkats . . . After an out to start the sixth, Houston had seven straight batters reach base, and six of them would score on either singles or walks.
Cougars pitching did not allow a run after the 4th inning . . . Sean Bretz took over for Jared Pettitte in the fourth and continued his outstanding recent run of scoreless innings, going three more scoreless innings on Tuesday only allowing a hit and striking out four Bearkats . . . Brayson Hurdsman was also good over two innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two . . . Devon Roedahl made quick work of the Bearkats in the ninth throwing just eight pitches, six for strikes . . . Sean Bretz got the win, his first of the season.
With the 9-3 victory, the Cougars secured the season sweep and improved their record to 25-16 with a win over a quality program.
The Cougars hit the road now to play the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida . . . That series starts Friday at 6pm Houston time. –
The Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats played a series-deciding game Saturday afternoon at Schroeder Park and the game could not have been played in a better atmosphere: occasional breezes, sunny sky, no clouds, and plenty of Cougars fans in the seats . . . The series would be decided after two straight low-scoring games setting up the final game.
The Cougars did not score in the first, but they did score first, in the second inning when Jared Triolo hit a two-out bases loaded single to left that put the Cougars up 2-0 . . . For Triolo that hit was part of a 3-for-4 3 RBI afternoon.
Houston chased Cincinnati starter Garrett Schoenle in the third inning after a Rey Fuentes walk and a single by Grayson Padgett, followed by a RBI single to left field by Tyler Bielamowicz . . . Brad Burckel would follow with a sharp grounder to short that could not be fielded cleanly, it was ruled a hit and it drove in the Cougars second run of the inning while the Cougars took a 4-1 lead.
Brayson Hurdsman started on the mound for the Cougars and went 2 2/3 innings . . . Hurdsman only allowed one run on five hits and struck out four . . . Carter Henry and Nolan Bond would be called on first out of the bullpen to keep the game moving . . . Devon Roedahl relieved Bond in the fifth to protect the 4-2 lead and worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Houston padded its lead in the sixth when they scored three runs . . . It began with walks to Triolo, and Joe Davis. A fielder’s choice would erase Davis and put Jonathan Thomas at first. Thomas attempted to steal second, but as the throw went to second, Triolo broke for home from third . . . Cincinnati shortstop Joey Bellini cut the throw off short and tried to get Triolo at home, but Triolo scored and Thomas was safe at second . . . Then Padgett walked.
Tyler Bielamowicz appeared to end the sixth with a long fly out to center, but a balk had been called, so Tyler was not out and got to bat again, and Thomas scored from third on the balk . . . Bielamowicz then dropped a single in to center field for a run-scoring single to give the Cougars a 7-2 lead.
The Cougars offense was oddly limited in a game where they ultimately scored eight runs on eight hits . . . Bearcats pitching walked nine Cougars batters, and they struck out nine . . . Only four Cougar batters got the eight hits: Triolo had three, Padgett and Bielamowicz each had two, and Burckel had a single.
Fred Villarreal entered the game in the seventh inning with a 7-2 lead . . . A single, a walk, and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Bearcats, but Villarreal made his pitches and got out of the inning unscathed, and he followed that with a scoreless eighth . . . Sean Bretz entered the game in the ninth to get the final two outs and hold on to the 8-4 lead . . . Bretz got two fly-outs to end the game and earn his first save, he retired both batters he faced . . . Devon Roedahl earned the win with his outing, he improves to 6-2 on the year.
For Houston, the series win helped improve their conference record to 8-7 and their overall record to 24-16.
The Cougars will be off Sunday and Monday and will return to action Tuesday night at 7pm in Sugar Land at Constellation Field. –
A very windy afternoon with a cloudless sky greeted the Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats for game two of their series Friday at Schroeder Park.
The ballgame got off to an ominous start as Clay Aguilar walked the leadoff batter. Then, he promptly picked-off the runner at first base for the first out of the game.
Part of the winning formula for Houston in recent weeks has included scoring runs early in the game . . . The Cougars returned to that formula on Friday when they jumped on Cincinnati starter Evan Shawver early . . . Jared Triolo worked a leadoff walk on seven pitches . . . Two outs later, Rey Fuentes lined a double all the way to the wall in right-center to score Triolo from first . . . Derrick Cherry hit the next pitch on the ground between the shortstop and the third baseman into left field, Fuentes was racing home from second and was going to beat any type of throw home, but the throw from left fielder Joey Wiemer was off and eventually ruled an error, which allowed Cherry to end up at second base.
The early 2-0 lead was just what the doctor ordered . . . Aguilar was able to pitch with a lead, he was changing speeds well, and he was getting his fastball high and low and got some ugly swings from Bearcat batters.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Evan Shawver was on his game, after the run-scoring first inning, Shawver struck out eight Cougar batters and had 1-2-3 innings fives times in the game in his seven innings of work.
Houston only had five hits in the game, two of them by Kyle Lovelace in a 2-for-3 performance that raised his batting average again, he now sits at .232 on the year, a marked improvement over where he was just two weeks ago, and he is batting .313 in conference play this season.
Clay Aguilar went 6 1/3 innings allowing just one run on six hits while striking out five . . . Sean Bretz entered the game to relieve Aguilar and serve as a bridge to getting the ball to Fred Villarreal . . . Bretz was clocking 94mph as he worked a scoreless 2/3 of an inning to get the Cougars out of the seventh . . . Villarreal started the eighth as he was once again called upon to get six outs on his way to a save.
The two runs in the first would be all the Cougars would get until they tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth in what could have been an explosive inning after Jared Triolo was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs . . . The Cougars settled for one run on a ground-out to short by Grayson Padgett which plated Lovelace from third to give Houston a 3-1 lead.
Over his two innings of work, Fred Villarreal struck out two and only allowed one hit in earning his ninth save on the season . . . Clay Aguilar picked up his fourth win of the year with his performance . . . The Cougars evened their conference record at 7-7 with the 3-1 victory.
The Cougars and the Bearcats conclude their weekend series with a rubber game Saturday at 1pm at Schroeder Park. An Easter egg hunt for the kids follows the game, so get to the ballpark on Saturday and bring the kids. –