Takeaways from 2019 Fall Exhibition, Red Vs. White

Houston Cougars Red White 11-1-2019

The Houston Cougars baseball squad completed its fall exhibition schedule on Friday night at Schroeder Park by dividing up the entire group into two teams, otherwise known as the Red vs. White Game.

Without getting into specifics of who was on which team, here are some of the highlights…

Newcomer Ryan Hernandez, who had a very impressive fall debut overall with his performance in all three games, hit a homerun to left field in the first inning to get his team on the board . . . There was no doubt off the bat that the ball was headed toward Elgin . . . Later in the game Hernandez hit a hard ground ball to short and the sound that the ball and bat made when they made impact was not a familiar sound . . . The future for Ryan looks good and he should be fun to watch.

Jonathan Thomas was walked twice, and stole second both times . . . At one point there was a ball that got away from the catcher after a block, the ball did not roll far, but it rolled far enough that Thomas was able to advance to third and easily beat the throw . . . In another display of his freakish speed and play-making ability, Thomas bunted to third and started down the line toward first . . . The third baseman made a clean pickup of the ball, but in the rush to try to get Thomas at first made an errant throw that got by the first baseman and Thomas ended up on second.

Many Cougar arms took the mound for both teams and there were some solid efforts, no one really pitched poorly . . . Tanner Green, Nick Rupp, Robert Gasser, Spencer Hynes, Isaiah Blaylock, Brayson Hurdsman, Carter Henry, Randy Garza, and Nate Hardcastle all threw live action . . . There was some bad luck and one bad hop at second led to runs and a long inning, but no one embarrassed themselves out there on Friday night.

The defense was on display on this night . . . Derrick Cherry in right field threw out a runner at home that was trying to score from second on a single, the throw was perfect and the catcher barely had to move . . . In the late innings an attempted double-steal with runners at first and third was spoiled by Brad Burckel who caught the throw down from the catcher and immediately zipped the ball back to home plate to catch the runner at home and end the inning.

The game played like a mostly normal game for nine innings, with the exception that the Red team batted ten players in their lineup with Kyle Lovelace in the ten spot dubbed a “extra hitter” . . . In the bottom of the ninth, a dropped fly ball in left allowed two runs to score and time the game at three . . . The game went to extras . . . Well, these extras were extra, as both teams started with no one out, but runners were automatically placed at first and second just to get some late-inning “situational” action going.

Both sides scored in the tenth, so they went to the eleventh . . . This time both teams started with the bases loaded . . . In the top of the eleventh, Team White plated four runners and took a 9-5 lead to the bottom half . . . The door was closed on Team Red in short order and Team White ended the fall with a win. 

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. –


Newspaper column version of this recap

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. –


Newspaper column version of this recap