2022 MLB Draft Recap

Three Houston Cougars from the 2022 squad heard their names called during the final day of the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft on Tuesday afternoon, along with one former Cougar and two Houston commits.

Ben Sears was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 14th Round.

Logan Clayton, who had transferred away from Houston after the season ended, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 17th Round.

Jaycob Deese was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th Round.

Samuel (Sammy) Hernandez, a catcher at Lakeland High School in Florida, was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 14th Round.

Kevin Kilpatrick, a college transfer who was committed to Houston, was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 17th Round.

Jonathan Thomas, a former Cougar who played for Texas Southern in 2022, was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 19th Round.

Players, whether drafted or undrafted, have until August 1st to sign a contract with the team that drafted them or as a free agent if they were not drafted.

Cougars Erase Early Deficit, Win at Wichita State 7-4

Jaycob Deese faces Wichita State in the seventh inning on Friday

Houston opened up their weekend series in Wichita, Kansas on Friday with a 7-4 win over the Wichita State Shockers and finally exacted some revenge on an recent foe.

The Cougars of 2021 and 2022 had been unable to figure out Wichita State starter Jace Kaminska in three games last season and one game earlier this season . . . Over that stretch, Kaminska was 4-0 and had allowed just two runs in 32 1/3 innings, which includes a contest in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Clearwater, Florida last May.

Trailing 3-0 in the top of the third inning, Brandon Burkel led off the frame with a single and then stole second base . . . Alex Lopez hit a two-out double into right-center to plate Burckel and cut the deficit to 3-1.

Houston starter Jaycob Deese faced the minimum in the third inning, getting a pickoff at first on a runner who had singled with two outs . . . Deese then faced just three batters in both the fourth and fifth innings, requiring just nine pitches in the fifth.

Lopez singled to lead off the sixth inning with the Cougars still trailing 3-1 . . . Anthony Tulimero followed with a walk, and Cameron Nickens was hit in the helmet by a pitch to load the bases with no outs . . . Ian McMillian batted a ball to deep short and before the ball could break free and run into left field, the Shockers shortstop stopped the ball on a dive, but he had no play as a run crossed the plate, the bases remained loaded and the Cougars trailed by a run.

Malachi Lott lined a ball down the right field line all the way to the wall to clear the bases and the Cougars took a 5-3 lead on the double by Lott.

Kaminska left the game after six innings pitched, having allowed five runs.

Ahead 5-4 in the top of the eighth inning, Tulimero led off the inning with a fly ball to center that looked like a sure out, but it was dropped by the center-fielder and Tulimero stopped at second base . . . One out later, Ryan Hernandez hit his seventh home run of the year over the wall in deep left-center field to push the Houston lead to 7-4.

Deese gave way to Ben Sears to start the bottom of the eighth inning with the three run lead . . . Deese did not allow a walk in his seven innings, and in uncharacteristic fashion, only struck out one batter.

Sears handled the final two innings, and while he did not look his sharpest (he walked two and hit a batter), it was nice to see the right-hander work through some adversity and record the six records he was tasked with getting . . . Deese improved to 5-2 on the year with the win and Sears picked up his tenth save.

Head coach Todd Whitting commented on his team coming back from a 3-0 deficit to take the road victory on Friday night, but also of the outstanding defense played behind his pitchers throughout the game. 

“Proud of our offensive unit tonight,” Whitting said after the game. “We had a great plan against one of the top pitchers in our league. We did a tremendous job of grinding out at bats and playing great defense.”

The Cougars and the Shockers are back in action on Saturday afternoon in Wichita . . . Kyle LaCalameto will be on the mound for the Cougars . . . The scheduled first pitch is at 2pm.

Houston Takes Opener Against Bulls in Tampa

Houston traveled east to face the South Florida Bulls on Friday in Tampa, Fla

Houston defeated the South Florida Bulls by a final of 6-5 on Friday afternoon in Tampa, Florida to take the opening game of their weekend conference series. The start time for the game was moved up several hours because of threatening weather, so the first pitch actually took place just after 11am Houston time.

Jaycob Deese got the Friday start once again for the Cougars and he was sharp early, kept his pitch count respectable and despite a couple of mistake pitches, gave Houston a great start that positions them well for the rest of the weekend with regard to the bullpen.

Anthony Tulimero led off the second inning by walking to be the Cougars first base runner of the afternoon . . . Cameron Nickens doubled to the gap in right-center to score Tulimero and give the Cougars the early lead . . . Ryan Hernandez then singled into right against the shift to plate Nickens and Houston led 2-0 going to the bottom of the inning . . . Tulimero extended his current reached-base streak to thirteen games, he had a similar streak to begin the season that spanned the first fifteen games before it ended on March 13.

Trailing 3-2 in the top of the sixth, Houston got a one-out double from Alex Lopez to start a rally . . . A hit batter and a fielders choice loaded the bases and the Cougars tied the game on a wild pitch . . . Hernandez then drove a ball into left field allowing Tulimero to tag up from third base on the sacrifice fly and Houston led 4-3.

Samuel Tormos (2-for-3) led off the seventh with a single and Tab Tracy entered the game to pinch run for Tormos . . . Tracy stole second and was driven home on a double by Brandon Uhse off the wall in left field . . . Zach Arnold (2-for-5) followed with a single up the middle that scored Uhse and the Cougars had a 6-3 lead.

Ben Sears replaced Deese with two outs in the seventh inning to record the final seven outs leading by a pair of runs . . . After posting a zero in the eighth, the Bulls got a run off Sears in the ninth inning to narrow the deficit, but Sears got a key ground out and a fly ball to center to secure the 6-5 victory . . . Deese improved to 4-2 on the season with the win, and the save was the ninth for Sears.

The Cougars improved to 27-15 overall and 8-5 in The American . . . The eighth conference win surpasses the seven conference victories in all of 2021 with eleven conference games left to play this season.

Weather has moved the schedule around quite a bit this weekend, the Cougars and the Bulls will play the middle game of their series on Saturday morning, first pitch from Tampa is scheduled for 9am . . . Left-hander Kyle LaCalameto will be on the mound for Houston.

Houston Loses After Late Memphis Rally

Alex Lopez bats in the first inning on Friday night against Memphis

Houston lost the opener of its weekend series on Friday night as Memphis rallied for four late runs to win 11-9 at Schroeder Park.

The Cougars struck first after a Brandon Uhse lead off single was followed by a walk to Zach Arnold . . . Alex Lopez then doubled to the left field wall to score Uhse and Arnold and the Cougars led 2-0 before the Tigers had recorded an out.

Houston added a run in the second when Ian McMillan led off the inning with a double and one out later was driven home on a single up the middle by Brandon Burckel (3-for-4) . . . Houston then proceeded to load the bases and a Lopez single scored Burckel from third, which was followed by two more runs in the frame and the Cougars led 6-0 going to the third inning.

The Tigers clawed their way back into the game, scoring four runs over the third and fourth innings and they tied the game at six with a pair of runs in the fifth . . . Deese was relieved with two outs in the fifth inning and Maddux Miller took the mound to get out of the inning.

The game did not stay tied for long when McMillan hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning to once again give the Cougars a two-run lead . . . Houston added a run in the sixth on a wild pitch to lead 9-6.

Jackson Dannelley pitched two efficient innings and faced just eight batters before giving way to Ben Sears for the eighth and ninth innings . . . Memphis scored four runs in the top of the ninth to take an 11-9 lead into the final frame.

The Houston offense got two on in the bottom of the ninth inning but could rally as they fell in the weekend opener.

Houston and Memphis continue the series on Saturday at Schroeder Park with a 6:30pm scheduled first pitch . . . Kyle LaCalameto is slated to be on the mound for the Cougars.

Houston, Deese Win 6-3 Over Tulane

Jaycob Deese pitched Thursday against Tulane

Houston took the first lead of the game on Thursday night against Tulane at Schroeder Park and went on to win 6-3 behind the pitching of Jaycob Deese.

Tulane head coach Travis Jewett knew before the game that the Green Wave had a huge task in front of them in facing Deese. Jewett said pre-game, “Deese tonight will be a very good challenge for us.” He was right.

Houston got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning on a double-steal, as Anthony Tulimero broke for second and drew a throw from Tulane’s catcher, Alex Lopez broke from third base . . . The throw toward home plate sailed high and went to the backstop allowing Lopez to score the first run of the game and allowing Tulimero to reach second base.

Tied at one in the bottom of the second, Malachi Lott got the inning started with a single to third base where Lott’s speed forced a bad throw to first base, and when Lott finally stopped running, he was standing at third base . . . Samuel Benjamin doubled down the right field line to score Lott . . . Brandon Uhse then singled up the middle to score two more runs and the Cougars led, 4-1.

Uhse led off the bottom of the fifth inning by hitting a home run over the left field wall . . . A walk to Zach Arnold in the next spot was the end of the evening for Tulane’s starter Grant Siegal . . . Arnold reached third base when a pick-off attempt got by the first baseman . . . One out later a ground out to second base scored Arnold and increased the Houston lead to 6-2.

Siegal, a freshman right-hander, entered the contest 6-0 with a 1.29 ERA on the season . . . Siegal had allowed six runs in forty-two innings coming into the game, he left after four innings on Thursday having allowed five runs.

Lopez made a catch in right field to end the sixth that words cannot justify . . . A fly ball was headed toward the wall . . . Lopez, with his back completely to infield, reached out in front of him and made contact with the ball as it headed for the ground . . . Lopez knocked the ball into the air and then caught it a fraction of a second later to end the frame and the Tulane scoring threat.

Deese left after the seventh inning having allowed just two runs . . . Ben Sears came in to start the eighth inning and pitched the ninth to close out the 6-3 win on a double-play.

Deese improved to 3-2 on the season with the victory.

Houston and Tulane get together again on Friday night at Schroeder Park for the middle game of the weekend series . . . Kyle LaCalameto will take the mound for the Cougars, he will throw the first pitch at 6:30pm.

Houston Shutout in Opener; Deese Throws Compete Game

The first of 137 pitches in a complete game by Jaycob Deese Friday night

The Houston Cougars opened American Athletic Conference play on Friday night on the wrong end of a 4-0 shutout by the Wichita State Shockers at Schroeder Park.

The Cougars combined the dangerous mixture of few hits, nine, with three errors in the field behind their starting pitcher . . . Defensive errors committed in the second and the ninth led to runs in both frames, the runs of the game for the Shockers.

Jace Kaminska was dominant all night and the Cougars only threatened in two innings when a Houston base runner reached third base . . . Kaminska pitched eight innings allowing just the four hits and striking out twelve Houston batters.

Jaycob Deese put on one of the gutsiest displays of any starting pitcher in recent memory tossing nine complete innings in a game where he needed to keep his team close as they trailed 1-0 most of the way . . . The complete game by Deese is the first for Houston since Aaron Fletcher accomplished the feat in March 2018 against Memphis . . . Deese also finished at 137 pitches, a career high.

Samuel Benjamin made a couple of nice grabs in left field on Friday night, and Zach Arnold played well at third base . . . The three errors in Friday’s contest were costly, but is it worth noting the solid defense as well.

The Cougars and the Shockers are back in action on Saturday night at Schroeder Park . . . The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Houston Rolls to 13-3 Opening Win Over Catamounts

Malachi Lott bats in the 2nd inning Friday night at Schroeder Park

Houston opened its weekend series with the Western Carolina Catamounts with a convincing 13-3 win on Friday night at Schroeder Park . . . The Cougars scored ten runs over the sixth and seventh innings to help cruise to victory.

Jaycob Deese started on Friday night, having started last Sunday against Columbia . . . An error in the field led to the Catamounts taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, Alex Lopez was hit by a pitch to reach base . . . Anthony Tulimero doubled to right field and the throw home was not in time to catch Lopez for the tying run, and Tulimero stopped at third base . . . Tulimero was 4-for-5 Friday night and is now hitting .402.

Tied at one in the second, Malachi Lott hit his first collegiate home run over the right field wall to give Houston a 2-1 lead . . . After Brandon Burckel reached base on a two-out single, Brandon Uhse doubled off the right field wall to extend the lead to 3-1 . . . For Uhse, it was his second hit in the game, in as many innings, and he extended his consecutive hit game streak to eighteen games.

Deese exited after five innings having allowed just two earned runs.

With a 3-3 score in the sixth, the Cougars put up four runs in the bottom of the inning . . . After singles by Cameron Nickens and Lott were followed by a double steal, Houston added runs on a wild pitch and a suicide squeeze bunt by Burckel . . . Uhse (3-for-4) hit a two-out double to left and scored from second a few pitches later on a wild pitch . . . Zach Arnold then capped the scoring with a solo home run deep to left.

Houston added six runs in the seventh as things began to fall apart for the Catamounts . . . The Cougars took advantage of two errors and four base hits to extend their advantage to 13-3 going to the eighth.

Cameron Prayer (2-0) picked up the win with his two scoreless innings of work after Deese left the game . . . Logan Clayton and Colby Casey both handled an inning to close out Western Carolina and preserve the 13-3 victory.

The Cougars and the Catamounts meet again on Saturday when they continue the weekend series . . . Nathan Medrano will be on the mound for Houston, first pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm.

Houston Rides Pitching, Three Big Innings to Series Win

Jaycob Deese faced the Columbia Lions on Sunday at Schroeder Park

After dropping Friday’s series opener, the Houston Cougars won the final two games to win their series with the Columbia Lions after a 12-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park.

Scoreless in the bottom of the second, Malachi Lott hit the third consecutive one-out single for the Cougars in the inning and Ryan Hernandez scored from second to give Houston a 1-0 lead . . . Brandon Burckel singled home another run and later an errant throw from Columbia’s catcher to first base allowed another run across and Houston led 3-0.

In the top of the third, with Brandon Uhse at second after a walk and a wild pitch, Zach Arnold roped a double to the wall in left field scoring Uhse . . . Two batters later following a pitching change, Anthony Tulimero doubled into left field driving home Arnold . . . Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly to center for the first out of the inning, but Alex Lopez tagged and scored and the Cougars took a 6-0 lead.

Jaycob Deese got the Sunday start for Houston and was scoreless through five innings with five strike outs and eight ground outs.

Houston got their biggest offensive inning of the game going with one out in the fifth inning . . . A walk to Cameron Nickens loaded the bases after back-to-back singles by Lopez and Tulimero . . . Lott then singled into left-center and when the cut-off throw to home plate got away from the catcher . . . Lott scored on a throwing error from shortstop to first base and the Cougars took a commanding 10-0 lead.

The Lions got two runs back in the top of the sixth to close the gap.

Uhse led off the bottom of the sixth by hitting the first offering into left field for a single, which extended his consecutive game hit streak to sixteen . . .  Arnold and Lopez both followed with singles, the single by Lopez scored Uhse . . . Lopez scored on a ground out double play and the Houston lead was back to ten at 12-2.

Lott took over on the mound to start the seventh for the Cougars in relief of Deese . . . After the first two batters reached base, Houston went to the bullpen in favor of Ben Sears . . . Sears pitched the final three innings of the game to close out the series win without allowing a run, he lowered his ERA to 0.39 . . . Deese picked up the win with the 12-3 victory to even his record at 1-1 on the year.

Houston has Monday off before they head to Huntsville on Tuesday for a midweek game with Sam Houston State . . . First pitch on Tuesday at at 6:30pm.

Cougars Defeat Cards, Extend Win Streak to Six

Jaycob Deese pitches to the Cardinals leadoff batter Friday

A five game winning streak was on the line Friday night at Schroeder Park as the Cougars welcomed the Cardinals of Incarnate Word University for a weekend series . . . Houston would put together another late offensive attack to eventually walk away 5-2 winners.

Jaycob Deese was on the mound for the Cougars, his first start of 2022, but his third appearance thus far . . . Deese was overpowering early in his appearance, striking out the side in both the second and third innings.

Samuel Tormos got the Cougars on the board first when he hit a solo home run to left field with one out in the bottom of the second, his first home run of the year . . . Catcher Anthony Tulimero followed with a single to extend his reaches base streak to all nine games to open the season.

The Cardinals tied the game at one in the top of the fifth.

Batting with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Alex Lopez lined a single into right field scoring Malachi Lott, while Brandon Uhse was thrown out at the plate, but the Cougars regained the lead 2-1 . . . The Cardinals tied the game again in the sixth on a solo home run.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lott drove a ball deep to right and the Cougars took a 3-2 lead on the sacrifice fly . . . Uhse and Zach Arnold each followed with RBI singles to push the Cougars advantage to 5-2 going to the seventh.

Derrick Cherry took the mound in the seventh and delivered a scoreless inning . . . The Cougars then went to the bullpen again in the eighth in favor of Jose Torrealba . . . Torrealba pitched the final two innings and did not yield any ground as he closed out the 5-2 Houston victory and pushed the winning streak to six games in a row.

Left-hander Cameron Prayer picked up the win for his inning of work in relief, his first win of the season . . . Torrealba picked up the save, his first of the season, for his two innings to close out the win.

The Cougars host the Cardinals again on Saturday night at 6:30pm . . . Logan Clayton will be making his third start of the year for Houston.

Cougars Open First Homestand with 11-4 Win Over TSU

Skyler Trevino apllies a tag on an attempted steal of second base Friday night

Houston was able to play the long game better than Texas Southern on Friday evening at Schroeder Park as the Cougars scored in each of their final four at-bats, nine runs in total after the fifth inning to take the 11-4 victory on opening night of their home schedule.

Kerry Wright was on the mound Friday afternoon for Houston after a disappointing opening start for him last Sunday in Scottsdale . . . After a scoreless first inning, Texas Southern scored in the second inning on a play that was close enough at the plate that it needed to be reviewed before it was confirmed.

The Cougars added two runs in the bottom of the second when Zach Arnold (2-for-4) singled with the bases loaded to put Houston in front 2-1.

The Tigers tied the game in the third . . . Wright gave way to Colby Casey in the fourth inning having struck out four in his three innings and allowing just the two earned runs . . . Casey went two scoreless innings in which he also did not allow a hit.

Houston catcher Anthony Tulimero, who is swinging a hot bat to start the season, is doing his part behind the plate as well, on Friday he had thrown out two base runners trying to steal, including speedy former Cougar Jonathan Thomas, by the end of the fifth inning.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Samuel Tormos hit a drive deep the left that in normal conditions would have landed on Elgin . . . Instead, the drive off of Tormos’s bat was caught up against the left field wall and the ball was fired in to second base . . . Chaos ensued as the umpires gathered and tried to figure out what had just happened . . . Eventually, a run was counted as it crossed the plate before the runner was apparently called out at second for having left early trying to tag up . . . The inning came to an end on the double-play with the Cougars once again in the lead, 3-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars added a run on a single by Ian McMillan (3-for-4) . . . Brandon Uhse keyed a three-run seventh inning with a two-out double off the right field wall to push the Cougar lead to 7-2 . . . Tulimero (3-for-5) drove in two more in the eighth with a double to right-center . . . An error on a fly to right field allowing another run was followed by a McMillan RBI single to left.

Jaycob Deese took the mound to start the sixth inning and his stuff was electric, despite the conditions outside . . . Deese struck out a career-high nine batters, of the twelve outs he recorded, in many cases he simply overpowered guys.

Head coach Todd Whitting was ecstatic about the performance from his right-hander out of the bullpen, “Difference in the game was Deese coming in and shutting down TSU.” Whitting added, “In those conditions tonight it took a tough competitor to come off the bench and give his team a great performance like he did.”

“Tuli has been exactly what we thought he would be coming into the season,” said head coach Todd Whitting after the game, “a great receiver and the ability to deliver at home plate in the clutch.” Of the runners Tulimero caught trying to steal Friday night, Whitting added. “His performance to shut down TSU’s running game was huge tonight.”

Casey (1-0) was the pitcher of record, so he picked up the win with Deese earning the save, his first of the season, with his four inning performance to finish the game . . . Ryan Hernandez was 3-for-5 in Friday’s game, and while the power numbers are not there yet, he is going to the gaps and hitting the ball hard.

Houston has won two straight games now and returns to action on Saturday afternoon against UT Rio Grande Valley, first pitch is at 4pm at Schroeder Park, with Nathan Medrano making his second start of the season.