Houston Drops Series Finale in Arizona

Houston Cougars Derrick Cherry 3-8-2020
Derrick Cherry bats against Arizona Sunday in Tuscon.

TUCSON – The Houston Cougars entered Sunday’s rubber game with the Arizona Wildcats with a chance to get their first series win of the season.

Tanner Green took the mound in his first career start for the Cougars . . . Green would be the first of eight pitchers for Houston in the game, and Arizona took an early 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning . . . Robert Gasser would relieve Green in the second with two outs, he would end the inning and carry the Cougars into the sixth inning, going 3 1/3 and throwing 58 pitches in a very good outing.

Houston was scoreless going into the fourth when Tyler Bielamowicz hit a one-out triple down the right field line scored Kobe Hyland from second . . . The next batter, Rey Mendoza put a bunt in play on the right side of the infield and Mendoza was too quick to first for the defense which allowed Bielamowicz to cross the plate and tie the game at two.

In the Houston fifth, freshman Rey Mendoza hit a two-out homerun to right for the first homerun of his young career as a Cougar to tie the game at three . . . Mendoza hit a 1-1 pitch deep to right, which bounced off the side wall of a batting facility the Wildcats have just outside the right field fence . . . Brad Burckel countered with a solo homerun with one out in the sixth to give the Cougars a 4-3 advantage, the first lead of the game for the Cougars.

Arizona took the lead in the bottom of the seventh when multiple walks, multiple batters hit-by-pitch, and bad luck added up to an insurmountable situation and the Wildcats scored five runs to take a 9-4 lead . . . Arizona added a run in the eighth to take a 10-5 lead into the ninth.

Cole Ferguson pitched a nice 2/3 of inning getting some work in for the young pitcher in only his third appearance as a Cougar . . . And freshman Randy Garza got a little work in, making his first appearance as a Cougar getting the last out of the eighth.

The Cougars managed some baserunners in the ninth on walks to Dylan Post and Tyler Bielamowicz, a single by Ryan Hernandez would bring home a run to make the score 10-6, but that is where the offense stopped as Arizona took the weekend series two games to one.

The Cougars head to Las Vegas next for a two-game midweek matchup with UNLV . . . First pitch Tuesday night is at 8:05pm Central Time. –

Cougars Win Behind Aguilar, Cherry Pitching

Houston Cougars Clay Aguilar 3-7-2020
Clay Aguilar faces the Arizona Wildcats Saturday in Tucson.

TUSCON – After dropping Friday’s first game in Arizona on Friday night, the Houston Cougars needed many things to change in order to win Saturday’s second game against the Wildcats.

Houston went down in order in the top of the first, and Arizona made Houston starter Clay Aguilar work, but they only managed a single run in the first frame, thanks in part to an alert play at first base by Ryan Hernandez. With runners on first and second, a groundball has hit to Kobe Hyland’s right at shortstop . . . Hyland fielded and threw to first to get the batter, but the runner from second never stopped running, he rounded third and Hernandez was able to get him at the plate and prevent the run from scoring . . . Score it a 6-3-2 double-play.

Both teams remained scoreless into the fourth inning when the Cougars manufactured three runs . . . Brad Burckel put the first run across on a one-out double that scored Hernandez . . . With the game tied, Kobe Hyland singled two batters later to score Steven Rivas and Burckel as the Cougars took a 3-1 lead.

That was the extent of the scoring Saturday night, for either team.

Clay Aguilar threw  into the sixth inning going 5 2/3 with 96 pitches. This was not a typical, crisp Aguilar start as he walked five batters and hit another, but he kept the ball around the plate and kept it in the ballpark as the Wildcats also collected eight hits.

Carter Henry entered and got a strikeout to end the inning, stranding an inherited runner at first. In the seventh, Henry loaded the bases and gave way to Derrick Cherry . . . Two pitches later Cherry got his first batter to pop-up in the infield, and Cherry made the catch to end the bases-loaded threat.

Cherry was not done yet . . . He would double to left-center in the top of the eighth, but he would be left on basepaths . . . Cherry would go the final 2 1/3 innings to earn his second save of the season . . . He was aided by an outstanding catch by right-fielder Tyler Bielamowicz in the ninth inning near the warning track in right-center, he had to go a long way to get the ball and he made it look easy.

Clay Aguilar improved to 2-0 this year with the 3-1 victory . . . Cherry threw 35 pitches, 25 for strikes in earning the save.

The Cougars and the Wildcats meet Sunday at 2pm for a rubber game in Tucson before the Cougars move on to Las Vegas for a two-game midweek set with UNLV to conclude this road trip. –

Cougars Lose Finale, Series to Bobcats

Houston Cougars Photo via 5_Coogs
The Cougars hosted Texas State for the series finale Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of @5_Coogs on Twitter)

Gray skies and periodic light rain hung over Schroeder Park Sunday afternoon as the Texas State Bobcats and the Houston Cougars opened-up March and closed out their three-game weekend series with a rubber game.

Sunday starter Jared Pettitte had a tough go of things after a scoreless first and was knocked out of the game in the second inning once Texas State had a 3-0 lead.

The Cougars got their first run in the second after Luke Almendarez was hit by a pitch, then stole second and third, and was brought home on a one-out Kyle Lovelace groundout to short to cut the Texas State lead to 3-1.

Kobe Hyland tied the game in the fourth with a one-out single to right . . . Kyle Lovelace followed with a double down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position for Tyler Bielamowicz, who grounded out to short to bring home Hyland and give the Cougars a 4-3 lead.

That was the final run the Cougars would score on Sunday as Texas State would score nine unanswered runs afterward . . . Texas State scored multiple runs in five of the nine innings.

Freshman Cole Ferguson saw the first action of his Cougar career as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning retiring all three batters he faced, striking out one.

Derrick Cherry took the mound to pitch the ninth with the Cougars trailing 10-4 . . . For Cherry, it was his first time on the mound as a Cougar . . . He would pitch 2/3 of an inning, possibly because of a low pitch count in his first pitching action . . . Tyler Bielamowicz then took the mound, also for his first pitching action of the season, he would eventually get a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The Cougars have a couple of days off before heading over to Rice for the first game of this year’s Silver Glove Series Wednesday at 6:30pm . . . The next six games for the Cougars are away from Schroeder Park. –

Cougars Top Texas State 5-1

Houston Cougars Clay Aguilar 2-29-2020
Clay Aguilar throws the first pitch against Texas State Saturday night.

After a high-scoring affair on Friday night which yielded twenty-one runs, the Houston Cougars and the visiting Texas State Bobcats played a lower-key match on Saturday night at Schroeder Park.

Clay Aguilar got the start on the mound and he faced the minimum in the first frame, ending the inning on a grounder to Kobe Hyland that he handled himself in turning the inning-ending six-three double play . . . The Cougars did not waste any time getting runs on the board . . . With one out after a Derrick Cherry walk, Ryan Hernandez tripled to the right field corner to score Cherry, it was a good piece of opposite field hitting to give the Cougars an early 1-0 lead, their first lead of the series to that point.

In the third, Steven Rivas hit a one-out double, and Ryan Hernandez followed with a massive two-run homerun to Elgin . . . Not to be outdone, one out later Ian McMillan followed with a homerun of his own, a solo shot to left to put the Cougars up 4-0.

Bobcats were kept off the scoreboard until the top of the fifth when a solo homerun cut the Cougars lead to 4-1.

Freshman Luke Almendarez led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, he would steal second to get into scoring position . . . Kyle Lovelace hit a one-out single to center that scored Almendarez from second.

Clay Aguilar started the seventh inning, but after a leadoff single, he was lifted in favor of right-hander Isaiah Blaylock . . . Texas State batters would have two hit by pitches to load the bases and the Cougars went to the bullpen again . . . Tristen Bayless entered the game and threw three pitches, all three for strikes, and got a swinging strikeout . . . Bayless departed with one out and the bases still loaded in favor on Carter Henry . . . Henry got two big strikeouts, one called, one looking, and he killed the Bobcats rally as the game went to the seventh-inning stretch.

The ninth inning saw Henry back on the mound and he did not allow the Bobcats back in the game . . . All told, Henry faced and retired eight batters, five on them by strikeout in earning his first save of the season . . . Clay Aguilar six innigs and threw eighty-nine pitches as he picked up his first win of the season in the 5-1 victory.

The Cougars and the Bobcats conclude their series on Sunday with a rubber game at 2pm, this is the last time to see the Cougars at home for nearly two weeks as the team heads to Rice, Arizona, and Nevada. –

Cougars Rally in 9th, Fall Short 11-10

Houston Cougars Lael Lockhart Jr. 2-28-2020
Lael Lockhart Jr.’s first pitch against Texas State Friday night.

The Texas State Bobcats arrived in force at Schroeder Park on Friday night as they opened their series with the Houston Cougars with a big win.

The Bobcats got two quick runs in the first inning off of Cougars starter Lael Lockhart Jr. . . . After a strikeout to lead off the game, two singles and a triple added up to a quick 2-0 lead . . . Texas State would keep Houston off the scoreboard long enough to put up a three-spot in the third to take a 5-0 lead.

The Cougars put together a comeback of sorts in the fourth when they scored two after a leadoff single by Ryan Hernandez, one of his two hits on the night, and a double to right-center by Brett Cain . . . Tyler Bielamowicz was hit by a pitch for the fourth time already this season to load the bases for Ian McMillan . . . McMillan hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Hernandez from third.

Freshman Rey Mendoza pinch-hit with the bases loaded and two-outs after a Kobe Hyland walk . . . Mendoza quickly fell behind 0-2, but he stayed patient and he did not chase, eventually he worked a big walk to score another run and get the Cougars within three at 5-2.

Texas State would get a run back in the fifth . . . The Cougars got that run back in the sixth when Kobe Hyland hit a solo homerun to right field . . . But the math was not adding up as the Bobcats plated five runs in their seventh and eighth innings to take a commanding 11-3 lead into the ninth . . . The Bobcats made the Cougars pay for defensive errors, those hitters scored to increase the pressure on the trio of Cougars pitchers that handled the duty on Friday night.

The Cougars mounted a rally of sorts to close the gap . . . Dax Dathe led off the inning with a solid single, and he would move to second on a wild pitch . . . An error by the Texas State shortstop would allow the Cougars runners on the corners with no one out . . . Derrick Cherry would deliver with an RBI single, his first hit of the 2020 season in his first game this year, and the Cougars were trailing 11-4 as Texas State went to the bullpen.

Another run would score on a Ryan Hernandez groundout to make the score 11-5 . . . Blake Way followed with a two-out two-run homerun to left-center to get the Cougars within four at 11-7 . . . Tyler Bielamowicz worked a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. Bielmowicz reached base in three of his five plate appearances, capping his night with a stolen base.

Ian McMillan kept the ninth inning going with a single to right . . . Freshman Luke Almendarez roped a two-out double into the left field corner and two runs would score to make the score 11-9 before Texas State went to the bullpen again . . . A single to right by Dylan Post would get the Cougars within one, but the rally would end there with the winning run base as the Cougars fell 11-10 despite scoring seven runs in the final frame.

Houston and Texas State are back at it on Saturday evening at 6:30 at Schroeder Park. –

Cougars Fall to Texas Tech in 10

Round Rock Classic Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars and the Texas Tech Red Raiders closed out the inaugural Round Rock Classic with a thrilling ballgame that was not decided until the last of the tenth inning Sunday night at Dell Diamond.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning when Tyler Bielamowicz walked, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout to second by Brad Burckel . . . The lead would not last long though, as Texas Tech’s Dru Baker hit a homerun on the first pitch he saw to leadoff the bottom of the first.

The teams remained tied until the top of the fourth when Kobe Hyland roped a two-out double to right-center to plate Blake Way from first base, Way had reached base because of a two-out walk.

Houston starter Jared Pettitte pitched into the sixth inning, perhaps his best outing as a Cougar . . . Aside from the leadoff homerun and a triple to center that would eventually score, Pettitte was keeping his pitch count relatively low . . . Pettitte gave way to Carter Henry with one out and runners on the corners. Henry would load the bases, but he would escape the inning unscathed and go another scoreless inning in addition to that.

Neither offense was able to get a run across in innings six thru nine . . . In the top of the tenth, the Cougars were kept off the bases, setting up the bottom of the inning . . . The Red Raiders manufactured a run with a couple of base hits against Brayson Hurdsman who pitched three quality innings, the only run he allowed was the game-winning run in the bottom of the tenth to send the Red Raiders home a winner.

The Cougars hung tough with a top-ranked national team, but they fell just short . . . The solid pitching by the Cougars was not enough to outlast Texas Tech pitching. 

The Cougars head home now to face University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) on Tuesday evening at 6:30 at Schroder Park before welcoming Texas State to town for a weekend series to close out February and begin March. –

Cougars Fall to Tennessee in Round Rock

Round Rock Classic Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars and the undefeated Tennessee Volunteers came into the second day of the inaugural Round Rock Classic having both won their opening games on Friday at Dell Diamond.

The Volunteers got on the board with three runs in the first off of Houston starter Clay Aguilar . . . Those would be the only runs until the fourth when Steven Rivas hit a two-run homerun to get the Cougars within one . . . For Rivas it was his second homerun on the season.

Houston would tie the game in the fifth when Ryan Hernandez hit a one-out double to the warning track that allowed Kobe Hyland to cross the plate . . . Clay Aguilar exited the game in the sixth as his pitch count reached 96, he went 5 1/3 striking out five and only allowing two earned runs . . . Tristen Bayless took the mound and got the final two outs of the inning to keep the game tied at three . . . Aguilar’s outing was quite good in the long run, stretching his start into the sixth kept the bullpen from being taxed too heavily.

The Cougars then took the lead in the sixth after Lael Lockhart Jr. got his first hit of the season to lead off the inning. Lockhart Jr. would score from second on an Ian McMillan infield single and a throwing error . . . It would be the only run of the inning as the Cougars took the 4-3 lead into the seventh.

Things came unraveled for the Cougars at that point as the Volunteers continued to get runners on base . . . Tennessee scored three in the seventh and two in the ninth to take an eventual 8-4 lead. 

Houston went hitless in its final three frames against Tennessee pitching . . . Ryan Hernandez was 2-for-3 on the afternoon, the only Cougar with multiple hits, and he got his season average up to .400 . . . It is worth noting that while Tyler Bielamowicz was 0-for-2 in the game, he was hit-by-pitch in his first two plate appearances and he continues to get on base for the Cougars so far this year . . .  The 8-4 loss dropped the Cougars to 2-3 on the young season.

The Cougars close out their action in the 2020 Round Rock Classic on Sunday at 3pm against Texas Tech. –

Cougars Fall in Extras 6-3

Clay Aguilar winds up to face Youngstown State Saturday night.
Clay Aguilar winds up to face Youngstown State Saturday night.

The Houston Cougars and the Youngstown State Penguins needed extra innings Saturday night for the second of their three-game opening weekend series.

Blake Way got the scoring started for the Cougars with a two-out solo homerun in the second to give Houston a 1-0 lead.

Clay Aguilar got the Saturday night start and he did not disappoint . . . Aguilar kept the Penguins at bay for most of his outing, some of the hits against him were of the “tough luck” variety, not solid hits as if opponents had timed Aguilar perfectly . . . A defensive error would lead to three unearned runs in the sixth and that brought Aguilar’s evening to an end.

Tristen Bayless took the mound and got out of the sixth on his first and only pitch of the inning . . . Bayless returned to the mound and before it was all over, he had gone 4 1/3 innings of one-hit baseball while striking out eight on forty-eight pitches . . . Bayless was sharp and he had hitters fooled several times.

The Cougars would crawl back from a 3-1 deficit, first with a seventh inning homerun by Friday night star Ryan Hernandez, a blast off of the black Houston Baseball sign in left-center, followed by an eighth inning homerun by Kobe Hyland off of the scoreboard in right-center.

Extra innings beckoned . . . Both teams went quietly in the tenth, but the Penguins jumped ahead when Penguins first baseman Steven D’Eusanio hit a three-run homerun to left-center in the top of the eleventh . . . Despite a comeback of their own in the eleventh, aided by a dropped fly ball in right field and the tying run at the plate, the Cougars dropped their first game of the 2020 season 6-3.

The Cougars conclude their series with the Penguins with a rubber game on Sunday at noon at Schroeder Park. –

2020 Alumni Day Game Recap

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Red vs. White at Schroeder Park on Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of @Astronile on Twitter)

The 2020 baseball season got a step closer on Sunday at Schroeder Park as the Houston Cougars saw former ballplayers return home for a yearly event that included batting practice, players introductions, and this year, a solemn salute.

Prior to the game, a moment of silence was observed for John Altobelli, a tribute was read to the crowd while the video board displayed Altobelli’s picture with his years as a Cougar listed, then came the silence and head-bowing . . . The only time Schroeder Park is ever that quiet is when the games are over and the campus is empty . . . Coach Todd Whitting said before the game that he would be attending the memorial for Altobelli tomorrow in Anaheim, California at the Angels ballpark.

The game itself was basically an intrasquad affair, with former Cougars and now professional pitchers Joey Pulido and Nick Hernandez each throwing the first inning for Team White and Team Red respectively, but all fielders and hitters were members of the 2020 squad.

It is hard to tell much during what is an unpredictable game scenario of players switching sides, predetermined innings to pitch, along with only five innings of action to begin with . . . Spencer Hynes, Rey Mendoza, Nick Rupp, Tristen Bayless, Carter Henry and Randy Garza all saw some time on the mound.

Defensively there were some bright spots . . . Newcomer Ryan Hernandez is a big kid and he moves well at third base, he made at least one great play on a weak bouncer which he fielded cleanly and made an accurate off-balance throw . . . Kyle Lovelace threw out a runner trying to steal third . . . Newcomer Steven Rivas fielded a fly ball single on a bounce and the hitter tried to turn the single into a double, but Rivas’s throw to second was right on line and the runner was tagged out with room to spare . . . And Kobe Hyland continues to move smoothly at short.

All told the game ended after five innngs, as was scheduled . . . The rain in the forecast held off long enough for the game to be completed, the kids ran the bases, and autographs were signed in the Cougars dugout to cap off the day.

The Cougars start 2020 action on Friday at 6:30pm at Schroeder Park against Youngstown State, the first of a three-game weekend series to get the season underway.

Takeaways from 2019 Fall Exhibition, Game 2

Houston Cougars vs UIW 10-27-2019

The Houston Cougars welcomed several recent friendly faces as part of the University of the Incarnate Word baseball team to Schroeder Park on Sunday afternoon . . . Former Cougars assistant and third base coach Ryan Shotzberger is now the head coach at UIW . . . He took with him Kyle Winkler who was a Cougars coach for a few weeks before Shotzberger took over in San Antonio and Winkler followed him.

Three UIW players were on the Cougars roster earlier this year; Ron Brown, Drew Minter, and Landon Etzel . . . All three saw action in Sunday’s exhibition.

An important thing to remember about the exhibition games is that they are quite literally for the development of the players and nothing more . . . The scores are meaningless . . . The teams played 11 innings on Sunday just because they wanted to . . . The Cougars batting lineup, was twelve players deep, and toward the end of the exhibition, players were literally being plucked out of the dugout to bat in situations that were good for them, even if it meant they had just batted in the previous inning and several spots in the order were skipped.

One of the most interesting situations occurred when the Cougars came to bat in an inning, and before anyone even stepped up to the plate, a base runner was placed at first base for situational practice . . . The pitcher got to work from the stretch, the runner attempted a steal, and was thrown out at second . . . Fun for everyone.

So that brings us back to the highlights and lowlights of Sunday’s action.

Blake Way got the Cougars offense on the board in the third with a homerun to left field . . . Kobe Hyland hit a homerun to straightaway center in the eighth, a ball that hit the batters eye on the lower right corner just above the wall, it was an impressive show of power from the Cougars shortstop, the ball landed to the left of one of the 390 feet signs on the wall in center.

Bryson Hill hit a triple to right to score two runs in the seventh . . . Steven Rivas hit a triple to center which was a tremendous blast that continued to carry further and further off the bat . . . The triple brought home two runners.

Ryan Hernandez walked once and was hit-by-pitch twice, and he stole second base after being hit the second time . . . He continues to be a solid presence at the plate in just his second game with the Cougars.

Luke Almendarez made the defensive play of the game at second base . . . A slow-moving ball was hit toward the right side of the second base bag, Almendarez fielded the ball and falling toward left field threw across his body and just got the runner at first . . . It was a gold star play by the freshman.

Seven Coogs shared in pitching the eleven frames on Sunday . . . Carter Henry started the game and went one scoreless inning . . . Nick Rupp, Robert Gasser, and Isaiah Blaylock each followed with two innings . . . Spencer Hynes pitched 1 1/3 innings with Tristen Bayless going 1 2/3 innings . . . Brayson Hurdsman handled the final inning of work.

All in all, the teams each technically plated seven runs in the final exhibition game of the fall for the Houston Cougars . . . The Cougars will play the Red vs. White game this next Friday, November 1 at 6pm at Schroeder Park . . . Admission is free, these games always prove to be interesting affairs.