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. –