Cougars Drop Close Game to Cincy, 3-2

Houston Cougars vs Cincinnati Bearcats 4-18-2019
The Cougars bat against Cincinnati on Thursday at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Cincinnati Bearcats arrived in Houston playing better than their current record of 17-19 would indicate . . . Thursday’s conference match-up at Schroeder Park featured Lael Lockhart Jr. with his 3.20 ERA, which placed him fifth best in the conference, on the mound for Houston.

Bearcats starter David Orndorff was perfect thru three innings. Jared Triolo got the Cougars first base hit of the game to lead off the fourth, but Orndorff was in control and would not only get out of the inning, but would then follow with a perfect fifth . . . For Triolo it was his second of three hits in the game.

In their half of the fifth, the Bearcats capitalized on a tiring Lockhart elevating his pitch count and putting runners on base . . . The Cougar went to the bullpen in favor of Devon Roedahl with two runners on and two outs . . . Bearcats cleanup hitter Joey Wiemer hit the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a three-run homerun . . . It was all the offense Cincinnati would get, and it was all they needed.

Roedahl was really effective after that homerun, going 4 1/3 allowing only one other hit and striking out three . . . Roedahl did throw 59 pitches in his Thursday outing, so his availability for the rest of the series could be limited . . . The other side of that coin is that the entire rest of the bullpen is rested since Roedahl was the only pitched used on Thursday.

The sixth inning offered promise for the Cougars offense after Brad Burckel led off the inning with a base hit to center, and Kyle Lovelace hit the next pitch to center for a base hit . . . Jared Triolo skied a fly ball to left that continued to carry all the way to warning track, the left-fielder was unable to make the play and Brad Burckel was able to score from second . . . Two batters later, Joe Davis would receive one of his two intentional walks in the game and that would be all the Cougars would score in the inning.

Orndorff went eight innings only allowing that run in the sixth . . . Bearcats reliever Korren Thompson entered the game in the ninth to attempt to get the final three outs . . . The Cougars mounted a rally, getting four singles in the inning, including Joe Davis’ only hit of the game to lead off the inning after two intentional walks in the fourth and sixth . . . Derrick Cherry’s only hit of the game would drive in the Cougars only run in ninth as Thompson closed it out and saved the 3-2 victory for Orndorff.

The Cougars and the Bearcats return tomorrow for game two of their three game series. First pitch at Schroeder Park is at 6:30pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Stop #7 Texas A&M 4-1

Ryan Randel delivers a pitch vs. Texas A&M Tuesday night at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Ryan Randel pitches to Texas A&M Tuesday night at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

In order to extend their current winning streak to five games, the Houston Cougars would need to take down the #7 Texas A&M Aggies at Schroeder Park on Tuesday night . . . A tall order indeed.

Houston got off to another early start Tuesday night, something they have been doing often recently. It began with Jared Triolo hitting the first pitch of the game from Aggies starter Chandler Jozwiak into center field for a base hit . . . Blake Way then followed that with a double that went to the wall in right-center and plated Triolo all the way from first . . . Four batters later, Derrick Cherry hit a two-out single to score Way from second and give the Cougars an early 2-0 lead . . . Cherry would go 3-for-4 in the game, adding a single in the sixth and a double in the eighth.

The Cougars would add another run in the second to take a 3-0 lead.

Texas A&M went to their bullpen to start the third inning . . . A bevy of Aggies pitchers would keep the Cougars scoreless until the seventh when catcher Kyle Lovelace scored from third on a wild pitch after reaching base on a leadoff single, his second hit of the game, part of a 2-for-4 night that also continued to help Lovelace raise his average to .211 on the year.

Ryan Randel was cruising from the start . . . The Aggies got their first baserunner in the third on a defensive error, one pitch later Randel got a 4-6-3 double-play and the inning was over . . . Ryan faced the minimum in each of the first five innings and did not surrender his first hit until the sixth inning . . . Randel started to fade in the seventh after a walk and a single and the Cougars went to the bullpen with the two runners on base and one out . . . Randel’s 6 1/3 innings with one run allowed  on two hits was a welcome sight after his last couple of short outings.

Sean Bretz entered the game and on the second pitch induced a bouncer to third, Jared Triolo made an incredible grab and threw home quickly to get the runner from third trying to score . . . Two pitches later, Bretz got another grounder, this one to first baseman Joe Davis who ranged to his right to field it, and then raced the runner to first for the third out of the inning . . . Four pitches, two outs, inning done, momentum stopped.

Sean Bretz took the mound again in the eighth with the Cougars leading 4-1 and got the side down in order with two strikeouts and an outstanding defensive play by Jared Triolo at third when he played a bounce perfectly on a ground ball by A&M’s Brett Brown for the second out . . . Bretz went 1 2/3 scoreless without allowing run and only allowing two hits.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the ninth to slam the door on the Aggies . . . Villarreal hit the leadoff batter, but he got the next three batters in order as he was hitting 91-92mph and struck out Aggie clean-up hitter Mikey Hoehner for the final out before a crowd just shy of 3,000 . . . For Villarreal the 4-1 victory was his eighth save of the season, for Randel it was his third win on the season.

The light bullpen usage of only two pitchers on Tuesday night should mean a rested and ready bullpen for their upcoming series which begins Thursday this week instead of Friday.

The Cougars will welcome the Cincinnati Bearcats for the weekend series, but the schedule is slightly different than usual because of the Easter holiday . . . There is no game on Sunday and instead the series begins on Thursday . . . Thursday and Friday, first pitch is at 6:30, and Saturday the game starts at 1pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Sweep Series at Wichita State

Houston Cougars Baseball

In what turned out to be a very balanced weekend in many ways in Wichita, the Houston Cougars got their first conference sweep of the season when they took care of business against the Wichita State Shockers 7-4 Sunday afternoon.

Brayson Hurdsman got the start on the mound Sunday . . . Hurdsman would go 4 2/3 innings allowing his one and only run in his fifth and final inning of work . . . Brayson gave up four hits and struck out four . . . Sean Bretz came in to finish the fifth and also pitch the sixth, both scoreless and hitless . . . To get those four outs, Bretz threw only fourteen pitches, nine for strikes.

The Cougars offense was slower to get on the board than in the first two games, but Joe Davis got the Cougars on the board in the third with a one-out single to left that scored Jared Triolo, who was going on the pitch, from second . . . Kyle Lovelace drove in the Cougars second run in the fourth when he roped a double that bounced and hit the wall in left, one of two hits on the day for Lovelace who has seen his average jump to .198 now.

Rey Fuentes had a nice day going 2-for-3, and getting on base in the first when he was hit by a pitch . . . Fuentes is batting .361 after Sunday.

The Shockers would tie the game at 4-4 in the seventh, taking advantage of walks, hit batters, and defensive miscues . . . Again, talking about balance over the weekend, the Cougars scored seven runs in six different innings . . . Every Cougar in the starting lineup had at least one hit, and five different Cougars had an RBI . . . The downside in the mix is that Houston left fourteen runners on base on Sunday.

The Cougars took the lead back in the eighth after Tyler Bielamowicz got a two-out single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on another wild pitch . . . Derrick Cherry, who reached base via a walk when he pinch-hit for Lael Lockhart Jr., also moved around the bases and would score on an error at second on a Kobe Hyland ground ball to make it 6-4.

In the ninth Grayson Padgett added a little insurance when a hit to left-center scored Brad Burckel from second to increase the lead to 7-4.

Devon Roedahl entered the game in the eighth and got the final four outs of the afternoon, on nine pitches, seven of which were strikes . . . For his effort, Roedahl earned his third save of the year and Fred Villarreal got the win to improve to 4-1.

The Cougars now head back to Houston after the sweep and get ready to face Texas A&M at Schroeder Park on Tuesday at 6:30pm. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Lockhart Jr., Davis Power Cougars in Wichita

Houston Cougars Baseball

Lael Lockhart Jr. did not start the season as the Friday night starter, he initially started out as the Sunday starter and took over on Fridays when an injury sidelined Tyler Bielamowicz . . . Joe Davis has been hitting homeruns all year . . . Lockhart Jr. continues to impress as the Friday night starter, getting quality wins over quality teams, and Joe Davis continues to be integral to the Houston offense.

Friday night in Wichita, Kansas could be summed up by looking at what Lockhart and Davis and drawing your own conclusion . . . The Cougars are taking on the Wichita State Shockers in another weekend of conference play.

The action started early on Friday night. Jared Triolo got the game started with a leadoff double, one out later with Triolo still on second, the Shockers walked Joe Davis . . . Two straight singles, one by Rey Fuentes and another by Tyler Bielamowicz scored Triolo and Davis and by the end of the inning Houston was leading 2-0.

In Davis’ next at-bat, he flew out . . . His next three at-bats consisted of a two-run homerun over a monster scoreboard in left, a three-run homerun to center, and a single to give Davis a 3-for-4 night with 5 RBI.

In between, the Cougars were scoring eight other runs not driven in by Davis, and Lael Lockhart Jr. was limiting the Shockers to one unearned run while striking out nine over six innings of really quality work as it would seem Lockhart has claimed the Friday spot as his own after last weeks shutout performance against ECU and the game against the Shockers Friday night.

The Cougars offense was really complete on Friday night, pounding out sixteen hits . . . Houston scored a run in seven of the nine innings . . . Tyler Bielamowicz was 3-for-4 and one of seven players in the game with at least one RBI . . . Kyle Lovelace and Brad Burckel both hit triples.

Rey Fuentes had a double and a walk in his two at-bats immediately after the Joe Davis homeruns, that’s in addition to a single after Davis was intentionally walked in the first . . . That kind of production behind Davis is going to give someone, either Davis or the batter after him, a chance to hit and drive in runs in the middle of the order.

For Lael Lockhart Jr. the 13-5 victory was his third win of the season and he lowered his ERA to 2.86 on the year . . . Three Cougars pitchers appeared out of the bullpen to get the final nine outs, they allowed just two earned runs and struck out three Shockers batters.

The Cougars and the Shockers return to action Saturday afternoon at 2pm in Wichita as the Cougars look to take the series. –

 

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Cougars Drop Two to ECU

Houston's Sean Bretz delivers a pitch against ECU Saturday. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Houston’s Sean Bretz delivers a pitch against ECU Saturday.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

After being shutout 2-0 on Friday, ECU with their national ranking and potent offense came out firing on all cylinders in game one on Saturday at Schroeder Park . . . First baseman Spencer Brickhouse hit a two-run homerun in the top of the first, and he would follow that with a grand slam in the sixth . . . Brickhouse left the game after the sixth with 6 RBI . . . The Pirates offense pounded out fourteen hits and benefitted from ten walks on their way to scoring fifteen runs.

Friday night pitching hero Lael Lockhart Jr. hit an opposite-field solo homerun for the Cougars first run of the game in the fourth inning . . . Tyler Bielamowicz hit a two-out RBI double in the fifth to score Thomas . . . Jared Triolo’s seventh inning sacrifice fly RBI was the third and final run for the Cougars.

There was not much else in the way of offense for Houston on the afternoon as ECU starter Tyler Smith was in command in his five innings of work where he struck out five and allowed the only two runs the Cougars would score in the game . . . Jonathan Thomas was 2-for-2 in the early game, the only Cougar with more than one hit.

There was no rest for weary as the Cougars had the pleasure of facing ECU starter Jake Kuchmaner, one of the best pitchers in the nation, who also threw a perfect game less than a month ago . . . After a quick pop-up and a strike out in the bottom of the first, Joe Davis hit a monster homerun to left-center on the first pitch he saw from Kuchmaner . . . The 1-0 score would remain that way until the seventh.

Clay Aguilar got the start in game two for the Cougars, and on short rest after his Tuesday start at Lamar, Aguilar turned in his best performance of the year . . . ECU was held hitless until the fourth and they did not score a run until the seventh when designated hitter Jake Washer hit a homerun to left-center . . . The Pirates tacked on another run two batters later on a single which would also end Aguilar’s outing.

The Pirates pitching was too strong and aside from the Davis homerun in the first, part of a 2-for-3 night for Davis, Houston was completely shut down, only getting five other hits, two of those belonged to Rey Fuentes and Derrick Cherry who were both 2-for-4 in the second game . . . ECU pitchers also struck out fourteen Cougars.

The 3-1 loss saw the Cougars use only two pitchers, Aguilar and Devon Roedahl, who held the Pirates offense to seven hits and one walk while striking out ten . . . Not a bad performance by the pitching staff overall, one that would get a win on many nights.

The Cougars now have a couple of days off before they head up to Huntsville to face Sam Houston State for one game, the first game of a four game road trip. –

 

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Cougars Shutout ECU 2-0

The Houston Cougars face ECU Friday at Schroeder Park. Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.
The Houston Cougars face ECU Friday at Schroeder Park.
Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.

A potent East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates team came to Schroeder Park Friday night to face the Houston Cougars . . . The Pirates were sporting a 22-6 overall record and a 6-0 conference record, along with conference leaders in various catergories, and a pitcher who threw a perfect game earlier this season . . . Oh, and they had won ten games in a row.

Friday’s starting pitcher for the Pirates was Jake Agnos who has many credits to his name, including conference leader in strikeouts . . . Agnos was mixing speeds well, but his command was off and the Cougars batters demonstrated some incredible patience, especially on some mid-seventies breaking balls, many of them well off the plate.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the first inning when a Rey Fuentes ground ball to second resulted in a throwing error by second baseman Brady Lloyd and allowed Jared Triolo to score from third.

Jared Triolo hit a one out homerun to left-center in the third inning to put the Cougars up 2-0.

Rey Fuentes made an outstanding defensive play to end the fourth when he went diving head first into foul territory down the left field line on a high fly ball by right fielder Alec Burleson . . . The ball kept drifting away from fair territory and toward the Cougars bullpen . . . Rey went diving, caught the ball, with his hair falling all over the place as he lost his cap, he fired the ball to Jared Triolo who then relayed the ball to second to get the runner who had been on second and was moving toward third on the fly ball . . . It was an amazing play by Fuentes.

Kyle Lovelace also deserves an honorable mention for his defensive work . . . Lovelace got two different runners trying to steal, one ended the third inning and on the other the throw was so early that Brad Burckel had to make sure to hold the glove and wait for the runner, rather than attempting to swipe at the sliding runner.

Lockhart held ECU hitless until the fifth, when second baseman Brady Lloyd reached base on an infield single . . . Lockhart was sharp all night, and ECU batters were hitting right into the Cougars defense, this also allowed Lockhart to be very efficient and maintain a low pitch count.

ECU’s Jake Agnos was quite good on Friday as well, just not quite as good as Lockhart. Agnos went 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs on six hits while also striking out eight . . . Agnos got his pitch count up early and when he exited in the sixth he had thrown 113 pitches.

Alec Burleson came to Houston leading the conference in batting average and went 0-for-4 on the night in the cleanup spot.

With two outs in the eighth, Lael Lockhart gave way to Fred Villarreal for the final out of the inning, which Villarreal got on a ground ball to Kobe Hyland . . . Fred returned to the mound for the ninth when things got interesting . . . A leadoff double was followed by a groundout that moved the runner to third . . . Then a walk put the possible tying run on first and brought the possible go-ahead run at the plate . . . But Villarreal continued to work and throw strikes, he got catcher Jake Washer to strikeout swinging before getting a weak grounder back to the mound for the final out to secure the 2-0 shutout.

The win was Lael Lockhart’s second on the year, and the save by Villarreal was his seventh, and the shutout was the first time this season the Pirates were shutout.

The threat of bad weather on Sunday has changed the Saturday schedule . . . The teams will play a double-header at Schroeder Park with the first game starting at 1pm, and the second game beginning about 45 minutes after the first game ends. –

 

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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 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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Clay Aguilar Leads Cougars Past Bearkats

Clay Aguilar and the Houston Cougars face Sam Houston State Bearkats Tuesday night. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Clay Aguilar and the Cougars face Sam Houston St. Tuesday night.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars and the Sam Houston State Bearkats played a fast game on Tuesday night at Schroeder Park, the result of only three runs and nine hits combined . . . The Bearkats entered the game with a record of 15-6 and a team batting average of .303 . . . Clay Aguilar was not interested in any of that, however . . . The Bearkats were not going to ruin Clay’s birthday.

Jonathan Thomas got the scoring started in the second with an RBI single to bring home Derrick Cherry who had powered his way on base with a leadoff double to right-center.

Clay Aguilar was effective all night, he had the Bearkats batters completely off balance and they were not able to put much together . . . Clay’s pitching game was so complete he even picked-off a runner at first in the fourth.

Jared Triolo drove in the Cougars second and final run of the evening with a hard hit ball past the Bearkats third baseman driving in Brad Burckel for an RBI in fifth to give Aguilar a 2-0 lead . . . Aguilar would yield his one and only run in sixth when the Bearkats took advantage of a leadoff hit-by-pitch, then they moved the runner around until he scored on a single by right-fielder Jordan Cannon.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the eighth inning, and as has been the case more often than not, he shut the door . . . The Bearkats would get one hit in the final two innings as Villarreal was mixing speeds well and his fastball was clocking 91 . . . Fred lowered his ERA to .091 (to match his fastball?) as he earned his fourth save on the season . . . Aguilar picked up his second win of the year and got his own ERA down to 2.86.

The 2-1 win for the Cougars marked the 300th win in the career of head coach Todd Whitting.

The Cougars hit the road tomorrow for a game in Nacogdoches against Stephen F. Austin at 2pm before heading to Memphis for a three game weekend series. –

 

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Cougars End Skid, Top UConn 5-4

Ryan Randel warms up to face UConn Saturday at Schroeder Park. Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.
Ryan Randel warms up to face UConn Saturday at Schroeder Park.
Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs via Twitter.

The Houston Cougars righted the ship on Saturday night at Schroeder Park behind good pitching and one offensive inning against the Connecticut Huskies . . . Having dropped game one on Friday night, the Cougars not only needed some offense, but they needed a win.

Right-hander Ryan Randel was on the mound Saturday night . . . Randel had a difficult first inning in which the Huskies plated three runs, but he rebounded nicely and faced only three batters per inning over the next three innings.

Houston missed a grand opportunity in the second when they loaded the bases with three straight singles, but it was to no avail as UConn starter Jeff Kersten would strike out two and get a ground ball out to escape the inning.

But Kersten’s night would come to an end in the fourth inning when the Cougars offense exploded . . . The big blow was off the bat of Derrick Cherry when he hit a laser to left field to clear the bases, there was a play at home on Grayson Padgett, but the ball slipped past the catcher and Cherry was standing on second with a double, his first collegiate hit and RBI . . . The Coogs would send eleven batters to the plate in the inning as they took a 5-3 lead.

The Huskies would get a run back in the fifth and in the process would chase Randel from the game . . . Nolan Bond would relieve Randel with runners on the corners. Bond walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, but the Cougars would get out of the inning with a ground ball to shortstop . . . After a difficult first inning, Randel settled in and left the game with his team leading 5-4.

Bond got a 1-2-3 sixth with the help of a couple of consecutive defensive gems by third sacker Jared Triolo, then he faced just three batters in the seventh with another defensive gem behind him when Brad Burckel made a leaping snag of a line drive and was able to recover quickly enough to double-up the runner who was on first.

Fred Villarreal entered the game in the eighth and retired all six batters he faced to help the Cougars secure the 5-4 victory . . . Villarreal was incredibly efficient throwing eighteen pitches to get his six outs and earn his third save of the season while lowering his ERA to .98 . . . Nolan Bond earned the win for his solid effort, his first win on the year . . . Together, Bond and Villarreal pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball.

The Cougars and the Huskies conclude their series with a rubber game on Sunday at Schroeder Park . . . Please note an earlier than usual start time for a Sunday (or any day) of 11:30am.

 

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