Cougars Edged Out in Weekend Finale, 3-2

Ben Sears delivers the first pitch in Sunday’s finale at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars lost their third straight game of the weekend by a single run in spite of another solid outing by a starting pitcher, this time Ben Sears was the hard-luck loser in the 3-2 defeat Saturday afternoon.

Cloudy skies, saw the sun trying to peek through at times and delivered rain drops at other times as the Cougars tried to even up the weekend series . . . In a scoreless game in the second inning, Will Pendergrass hit a two-run home run with one out to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead . . . For Pendergrass it was his fifth home run of the season.

The Shockers got a run back in a complicated third when a bases loaded walk got Wichita State within one . . . After holding Houston scoreless for the next several frames, the Shockers tied the game at two on a solo home run by Paxton Wallace in the sixth.

Ben Sears pitched seven complete innings before Derrick Cherry took the mound to begin the eighth, making his tenth appearance of the season . . . Sears was very good on Saturday, a long third inning elevated his pitch count, but he kept the game close as he struck out five along the way.

In the Shockers threatened in their half of the eighth inning, a lazy pop fly to right was caught by Steven Rivas who quickly threw a low hopper to Kyle Lovelace who had time after he caught the ball to block the plate and apply the tag for the final out of the inning.

Former Cougar Spencer Hynes exited in the eighth after giving up a leadoff single to Brandon Uhse . . . Luke Almendarez bunted the first pitch he saw up the first base line to move Uhse to second base on the sacrifice . . . An intentional walk to Ryan Hernandez followed, after the Shockers brief attempt to avoid pitching to Hernandez resulted in a 3-0 count . . . Tyler Bielamowicz then grounded out to the pitcher moving the runners up to second and third . . . Steven Rivas then drove a ball to center but Shocker center fielder Couper Cornblum made the catch up against the wall to end the frame and send a tied game to the ninth.

Wichita State plated a go-ahead run in the ninth after a ground ball that resulted in an out at the plate was followed by a run-scoring single to right past a drawn-in infield . . . The 3-2 lead would hold up in the ninth as the Cougars were unable to get a runner to second . . . Brandon Uhse was 2-for-4 and was the only Cougar with multiple hits, and one of only four Cougars to get a base hit.

The two teams played to a relative draw, both getting five base hits in the Saturday contest, but Wichita State scored one more run and walked away with a 3-1 weekend series win . . . In the weekend series overall, the Shockers scored eleven to the Cougars ten runs.

The Cougars and the Shockers will both be traveling to Wichita, Kansas, the Shockers today, the Cougars late next week as the two teams with resume their American Athletic Conference schedule with a four game set in Kansas next weekend . . . First pitch Friday afternoon from Eck Stadium in Wichita is set for 1:00pm in game one with game two following at 6:00pm unless game one runs long. –

Gasser Dominates, Cougars Open Conference with 5-3 Win

Robert Gasser opens American Conference play Thursday at Schroeder Park

685 days after their last game within the American Athletic Conference, the Houston Cougars welcomed conference foe Wichita State University to Schroeder Park on Thursday night and walked away with a 5-3 win behind another outstanding mound performance by Robert Gasser.

The Cougars offense got things started in the first when Luke Almendarez reached base on a one-out single . . . That was followed by a Ryan Hernandez single . . . A wild pitch moved both runners up a base before Tyler Bielamowicz plated Almendarez on a grounder to second as the Cougars took a 1-0 lead . . . Worth noting that Brandon Uhse was back in the lineup after leaving Sunday’s game after he was hit by a pitch that caught hi front section as he was squaring to bunt.

In the second, Will Pendergrass led the inning off with a double to left-center . . . Brad Burckel followed with a single that scored Pendergrass . . . Three batters later, Burckel stole second, his tenth stolen base of the season, and Brandon Uhse hit the next pitch into left field scoring Burckel and increasing the Cougar lead to 3-0.

For the second consecutive time through the order, in the fourth inning, Pendergrass and Burckel both led off the inning by getting on base, this time a hit batter and a walk put the two on base . . . Ian McMillan put down a sacrifice bunt that moved the runners up . . . With the runners going on the pitch, Kyle Lovelace executed perfectly on a suicide squeeze as he put a ball in play that stopped moving about ten to twelve feet from home plate and no play was made anywhere as Pendergrass scored to extend the Houston lead 4-0.

Robert Gasser was cruising, he had allowed one hit through four and his second hit in the fifth, and did not allow a hit in his final two full innings of work . . . Houston added a run in the seventh when Tyler Bielamowicz hit a sacrifice fly to left-field to score Brandon Uhse from third and giving the Cougars a 5-0 lead.

Gasser exited after 7 2/3 of scoreless baseball, having only allowed only two hits while striking out twelve . . . Gasser struck out his final batter, and he also struck out the side in his last complete inning, the seventh . . . Derrick Cherry entered the game tasked with getting the final four outs.

The Shockers plated three in the eighth after Gasser’s exit on a hit to center and a throwing error that allowed an extra run to score, followed by a single that squeaked through up the middle and into center field, the Cougars still led 5-3 . . . Cherry pitched a scoreless ninth to end the game and send the Cougars home victorious . . . Gasser picked up the win improving to 4-2 on the year.

The Cougars offense scattered eight hits throughout the game, and Luke Almendarez was the only Cougar with multiple hits as he went 2-for-4.

The Cougars and the Shockers meet again on Friday for a double-header . . . Carter Henry, making his first start since the 2017 season, will start game one . . . Henry is one of only three Houston pitchers who have pitched in American Conference action prior to this weekend . . . Jaycob Deese will start game two, his second start and second consecutive weekend start . . . First pitch is at 2pm at Schroeder Park. –

Houston Walks-Off Series Finale in 10

Luke Almendarez makes a throw to first in Sunday’s series finale with UTA

Fresh off a Saturday double-header, the Houston Cougars and UT-Arlington Mavericks needed one extra inning to settle Sunday’s series finale at Schroeder Park . . . The Cougars prevailed 5-4 in ten innings to split the weekend series as heavy clouds and sporadic rain showers held of just long enough.

The Mavericks wasted little time getting things going, a two-out single was followed by a two-run home run to right for an early 2-0 lead against Houston starter Ben Sears.

Houston leadoff hitter Brandon Uhse was attempting to bunt and instead got a pitch right in the mid-section of his body . . . He stayed in the game long enough to take his base and was eventually erased on an inning-ending double-play, but he left the game and Jonathan Thomas took his place in the batting order and in center field for the remainder of the game.

Steven Rivas led off the second inning by hitting the first pitch saw over the right field wall . . . The next three straight batters reached base for the Cougars on two singles and a walk . . . Samuel Tormos then hit a chopper to short and the fielders choice allowed Will Pendergrass to score from third . . . With Brad Burckel on third, Tormos took off for second in an attempt to steal second, Mavericks catcher Andrew Miller fired to second and Burckel broke for home, second baseman Tommy Williams was not able to field the throw cleanly, Burckel crossed home plate just moments before Tormos was thrown out at first base allowing the run to count and giving the Cougars a 3-2 lead.

Ben Sears got two outs in the sixth and after a walk he was relieved by Derrick Cherry . . . Cherry got a fly out to center to end the sixth frame for the Mavericks who stranded runners on second and third . . . Sears went 5 2/3 innings and only allowed the two earned runs in the first inning, he exited with the lead and the chance to win the game if the Houston lead held . . . Sunday’s outing was a solid rebound outing for Sears.

Derrick Cherry followed with a scoreless seventh, but the Mavericks tied the game in the eighth as they manufactured the unearned tying run . . . A scoreless ninth for both offenses sent the game to an extra frame.

In extra innings, with the rule in place that a runner starts on second base to begin each inning, the Mavericks immediately bunted their runner to third . . . A shallow fly to right-center was then caught by Steven Rivas and with the runner at third tagging, Rivas fired home, the throw was wide and Houston catcher Kyle Lovelace had to move to his right to field the ball and then dove toward the plate to attempt to get the runner, but the runner was ruled safe at home and UTA took a 4-3 lead.

The Cougars began their half of the tenth with pinch-runner Andrew Papantois on second base . . . Brad Burckel hit a slow roller up the first base line that the pitcher was unable to get a grip on, Papantonis moved to third on the play . . . It was Burckel’s second hit of the afternoon and he was the only Cougar with multiple hits . . . Ian McMillan followed with a single toward second base that the second baseman fielded but his throw to first as he was falling away from first was weak, and it allowed McMillan to reach on the single while Papantonis scored the tying run.

Kyle Lovelace came to the plate with no outs and runners on the corners . . . Lovelace bunted the first pitch between the mound and first base, the first baseman fielded with his glove and tossed the ball home in the same motion but Brad Burckel snuck in around the catchers tag attempt to score the winning run and give the Cougars a 5-4 win.

Ryne Huggins picked up the win, his first of the season, as the result of pitching 1/3 of an inning, ending the tenth . . . All told, Derrick Cherry pitched four innings and did not allow an earned run and added two strikeouts . . . In ten innings, the Cougars offense managed just six hits, but it was enough as five runs scored . . . The Cougars improve to 12-11 with the win Sunday and they spilt the series with the Mavericks; a series which featured thirteen home runs over the four games between the two squads.

The Cougars open conference play Thursday at Schroeder Park when they host Wichita State University for a four game series . . . The Easter weekend schedule will open with Thursday’s game beginning at 6:30pm, a double-header will be played on Friday beginning at 2pm, and the concluding game will begin at 11:30am on Saturday. –

Cougars Win Behind Gasser, 4-1

Robert Gasser tosses the opening pitch Friday night at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars welcomed the UT-Arlington Mavericks to Schroeder Park Friday night for a four-game weekend set with a 4-1 victory behind another outstanding performance by Cougars starter Robert Gasser.

The two teams were scoreless going into the fourth when the Mavericks plated their sole run of the evening on a single to center by first baseman Dylan Paul.

With two outs in the fifth, Will Pendergrass reached on a bouncer to deep short that he legged-out at first for a single . . . An errant attempted pick-off throw that got past the first baseman moved Pendergrass to second . . . Brad Burckel than drove a ball to the wall in right-center under the scoreboard for a game-tying triple . . . Kyle Lovelace followed with a single into center field that scored Burckel giving the Cougars a 2-1 lead.

Gasser picked-off two runners in the game, both broke for second base as Will Pendergrass fielded throws from Gasser that he relayed perfectly to Ian McMillan at second for both outs.

Will Pendergrass hit a one-out solo home run in the home half of the seventh to extend the Cougars lead to 3-1 . . . As soon as Pendergrass connected on the pitch that was low and inside, he knew it was gone . . . One out later, the Mavericks went to the bullpen for the first time of the evening . . . Pendergrass was 2-for-3 in the Friday contest, as was teammate Kyle Lovelace, the only two Houston players with multiple hits.

Gasser was still strong the later the game went, hitting 93mph on his hundredth pitch in the eighth . . . Gasser, in picking up the win, would go 7 2/3 innings allowing just one run and striking out nine on 111 pitches . . . The outing was Gasser’s longest of the season, surpassing his seven inning start against Texas . . . Derrick Cherry took the mound with two on and two out and got a strikeout to end the UTA threat.

The Cougars added an insurance run in the eighth on a fielders choice off the bat of Tyler Bielamowicz that brought home Luke Almendarez from third . . . Derrick Cherry retired the side quickly in the ninth, striking out two, including the final out . . . Cherry picked up his second save on the year with his 1 1/3 innings on the mound . . . Gasser earned the win, his third of the season.

Ryan Hernandez returned to the lineup on Friday, though in a somewhat limited role . . . Hernandez served as the designated hitter and batted in the three spot, a spot usually occupied by Steven Rivas who was moved to the five spot for the game . . . Hernandez lined a single to left-center in the eighth for his only hit of the game, and his first hit in nearly two calendar weeks.

Houston and UTA square-up again on Saturday in a double-header with the first pitch slated for 2pm . . . Right-hander Blake Schultz with start for the Cougars in game one, and no starter has been named yet for the Cougars in game two. –

Cougars Win Road Series, Improve to 10-5

Houston wins their second consecutive road series in San Marcos on Sunday

Pitching was not the name of the game this weekend in San Marcos, with the notable exception of Robert Gasser in his Friday night start, as the Houston Cougars left town with an 8-7 victory and a series win . . . Houston outscored Texas State over the weekend 29 to 25, a weekend which saw the wind blowing out on Saturday and blowing in on Sunday.

To get the game started in the first, Tyler Bielamowicz took a one out walk, then Steven Rivas singled to right on the next pitch moving Bielamowicz to third . . . Ryan Hernandez hit a liner toward shallow left-center and the Bobcats centerfielder made a sliding grab, but Tyler tagged-up and scored from third to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

Texas State tied the game at one in their half of the inning, also on a sacrifice fly to center . . . The Bobcats extended their lead in the third when they scored on a single followed by two a two-run home run by Johnny Gonzalez to give them a 5-1 lead.

The Cougars put together a multiple-run inning of their own in the fourth when they got singles from Ryne Edmondson, Will Pendergrass and Brad Burckel . . .  A bases load walk to Kyle Lovelace scored one . . . Brandon Uhse then worked a 2-0 count and Texas State coaches had seen enough from their starter, they went to the bullpen in the middle of the at-bat . . . After the pitching change, Uhse knocked a double into the left field corner scoring two and getting the Cougars to within a run . . . Tyler Bielamowicz tied the game at five with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Neither starter made it out of the fourth inning as Houston starter Cameron Prayer exited in the fourth and was relieved by Jaycob Deese . . . Deese ended the threat after inheriting a runner on first with no outs.

Four straight Cougar batters reached base to lead off the fifth inning . . . Will Pendergrass was one of those four, hitting a single to right that gave the Cougars a 6-5 lead . . . Kyle Lovelace then grounded into a double play that scored a run to make the score 7-5 . . . Brandon Uhse then drove a double into right-center to push the Houston lead to 8-5.

Meanwhile, Jaycob Deese tossed scoreless fifth and sixth innings, but got into some trouble in the seventh before being lifted for Derrick Cherry after three innings of work . . . A run scored on a bases loaded walk, but Cherry struck out three batters to limit the damage . . . Cherry then worked a scoreless eighth.

The Bobcats clawed their way toward a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, after plating on run on a single to left . . . Derrick Cherry then got a bouncer to Brad Burckel who started the game-ending double play as the potential tying run crossed the plate . . . Jaycob Deese improves his record to 2-1 with the 8-7 win and Derrick Cherry earned his first save of 2021 with his three innings of relief pitching.

In a reversal of Saturday’s loss, the bottom five spots in the Cougars batting order saw three batters produce two hits each and it accounted for eleven runners on base and scored seven runs . . . Brandon Uhse was 2-for-4 on Sunday with 3 RBI in the lead off spot . . .Will Pendergrass, Ian McMillan and Brad Burckel each contributed two hits to the road win.

The Cougars close out this road trip with a 3-1 record and have won both road series this season and improve to 10-5 on the 2021 campaign.

The Cougars head back to Houston now and have a day off tomorrow . . . Houston returns to action on Tuesday night at 6:30pm when they host Texas A&M at Schroeder Park. –

Cougars Wallop Texas State 12-3 in San Marcos

Robert Gasser works against Texas State in San Marcos on Friday

San Marcos was the scene of a balanced pitching and offensive explosion from the Houston Cougars on Friday night against the  Texas State Bobcats . . . Texas State was fresh off a run-rule victory over top-rated TCU at Bobcat Ballpark in the midweek, while Houston entered the game after a 13-7 win in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Robert Gasser got his fourth consecutive Friday night start . . . A caveat, Gasser’s first start of the season in game won happened on a Saturday as a result of a weather cancellation . . . After a scoreless first inning, the Bobcats got on the board in the bottom of the second on a one-out single that gave them a 1-0 lead.

The Cougars offense finally got rolling in the third inning . . . Brandon Uhse tied things up with a double to left-center scoring Kyle Lovelace from first . . . Lovelace was on first as the result of a one-out single, one of two hits for Kyle in the game . . . Ryan Hernandez then singled to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead . . . Tyler Bielamowicz, who had reached base after being hit by a pitch, scored the third run of the inning on a wild pitch to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead.

In the top fourth, after singles by both Will Pendergrass and Ian McMillan, Brad Burckel tripled to right-center scoring two . . . A couple of batters later, Brandon Uhse brought Burckel home to score on a groundout to extend the lead to 6-1 . . . Houston batters were making Texas State starter Zach Leigh work, with high pitch counts and one particularly long at-bat by Brad Burckel in the third inning . . . As Leigh’s pitch count went up, so did the Cougars run total.

In the Houston half of the fifth, Ian McMillan hit a three-run blast deep to left-center to put the Cougars in front 9-1 . . . It was the third consecutive inning that the Cougars offense score three runs . . . “I thought overall that may have been the most complete game we played all year,” Head Coach Todd Whitting said after the game. “We just kept putting pressure on them all night.”

Gasser was cruising after the lone run allowed in the second inning, he tossed six complete innings, allowed just the one run and struck out ten, a new season high, which was previously seven strikeouts . . . Layne Looney and Ryne Huggins pitched the seventh inning in relief of Gasser.

Texas State got two back in the bottom of the seventh to pull to within 9-3 . . . The Houston offense then went back to work . . . With two outs in the top of the eighth, Kyle Lovelace singled to right-center . . . Brandon Uhse then hit a grounder that was fielded cleanly at short, but the flip to second was dropped and two were on as a result of the error . . . Tyler Bielamowicz then hit a ground-rule double to left-center to score one run, by rule a sure second run was not allowed, and Uhse was placed on third base  . . . Steven Rivas followed with his only hit of the night, a single to right plating two more runs and giving the Cougars a 12-3 advantage.

Jaycob Deese entered the game to start the eighth inning and threw two scoreless innings to close out the Cougars win . . . Robert Gasser picked up the win as the left-hander improved to 2-1. “He was again, pretty electric tonight,” said Coach Whitting of his Friday night starter. “He was outstanding tonight, I’m really proud of him.”

The Cougars offense scored three runs in four different frames on Friday night . . . Ryan Hernandez had three base hits and was one of the three Cougars with multiple hits in the game, along with Ian McMillan and Kyle Lovelace who each had two hits . . . Houston is now 9-4 in 2021 and has won the first two games of this four game road trip.

The Cougars and the Bobcats return to action on Saturday in San Marcos . . . Ben Sears will take the mound for Houston, first pitch is at 2:30pm. –

(Thank you to Houston Athletics for help with the Coach Whitting quotes.)

Houston Drops UT Series in Sunday Finale

Tyler Bielamowicz facing Texas in the 6th inning Sunday

For as well as the Houston Cougars played on Friday and Saturday, the final result in Sunday’s 8-2 loss at Schroeder Park was not indicative of the rest of the series, especially the pitching.

Texas got on the scoreboard quickly on Sunday, plating four runs on only one hit in an inning that included four walks and a crucial error with the bases loaded.

Will Pendergrass hit a one-out double in the second, and he was quickly advanced to third on a wild pitch . . . Moments later Ian McMillan brought Pendergrass home on a sacrifice fly to center to get the Cougars on the board as they trailed 4-1.

Kyle Lovelace led off the third inning with a hustle-double to left-center, he never slowed down on what could have been just a single . . . Lovelace then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Brandon Uhse groundout to shortstop . . . The lead was cut in half to 4-2 at the end of the third.

Andrew Belcik and Carter Henry both provided solid efforts when they needed to . . . Belcik went 2 1/3 innings and Henry went 2 2/3 innings, the two were only separated by 1/3 of an inning by Sean Bretz . . . Overall the staff allowed ten walks and only seven hits on Sunday.

Cougars offense was mostly stymied all afternoon striking out twelve times and only garnering four walks and five hits . . . The three and four spots were 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against the Longhorns pitchers that kept them off balance.

Freshman Dravin Barber picked up his first collegiate strikeout in 1 2/3 innings of scoreless pitching out of the bullpen . . . Layne Looney followed Barber and pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to close out the afternoon for the pitching staff . . . A combined six pitchers pitched out of the bullpen on Sunday, a luxury somewhat afforded by the close games of the last two days and starting pitchers going late into innings both days.

A Texas home run in the top of the ninth increased the Texas lead to 8-2, the Cougars only sent three batters to the plate in the ninth, Sykler Trevino reached on a leadoff walk, but was erased shortly after on a double-play started by the Texas shortstop . . . The loss drops the Cougars record to 7-4.

Kyle Lovelace also threw out the only attempted base-stealer of the afternoon, continuing to remove runners from the bases . . . After the game, Lovelace was asked about his work, and he was quick to credit others, “I pride myself on defense, that’s what got me here.” “I wouldn’t be able to do the things that I do without the guys that we have on this team,” Lovelace said as he heaped praise on the pitching staff’s ability to hold runners by being quick to the plate, and the middle infielders being quick with tags.

“I thought for two games we competed like crazy. Like I told the team after the game, if we lose we lose as long as we play hard, but I don’t think we competed well today,” Head Coach Todd Whitting said after the loss. “We’ve just got to turn the page on this week.”

The Cougars have a couple of days away from game action as the new week starts, they head to San Antonio on Wednesday to take on University of the Incarnate Word . . . First pitch in San Antonio is at 6:30pm. –

Cougars Walk-Off Winners in 11 Over UT

Ben Sears throws the first pitch of Saturday’s game at Schroeder Park

The Houston Cougars took the field on Saturday afternoon having not scored a run since last Sunday in Corpus Christi . . . While runs were hard to come by on Saturday, the Cougars got one more than the Texas Longhorns did in an eleven inning thriller at Schroeder Park.

Kyle Lovelace drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the second when he hit a two-out single to center to score Samuel Benjamin to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead . . . Lovelace was 1-for-5 on the afternoon but was again a vacuum behind the plate and caught the only Longhorn that attempted to steal a base.

Ben Sears worked 5 1/3 innings as he got the start for the third time this season . . . Sears only allowed two runs and struck out six and left the game as a would-be losing pitcher if things remained as they were . . . It worked out differently.

Ryne Huggins entered the game, after Layne Looney faced a batter, to get the final out of the sixth, but the Longhorns had taken a 2-0 lead at that point.

Samuel Benjamin had two hits in this game, a single in the second, and a two-out double to left-center in the sixth which led to Texas going to their bullpen for the first time of the weekend . . . Will Pendergrass welcomed the new pitcher by lining a triple to the wall in right-center scoring Benjamin and tying the game . . . Head Coach Todd Whitting mentioned earlier in the week that Benjamin and Pendergrass were the future of the program, comparing them to Rivas and Hernandez, the duo looked the part on Saturday afternoon.

Steven Rivas returned to the line-up after only appearing once in a one at-bat pinch-hitting role in Friday nights 1-0 defeat . . . Rivas was 1-for-5 with a single to right field in the seventh that looked to be part of a potential rally, but was foiled soon after . . . The Cougars again threatened when they loaded the bases in the eighth but that rally ended with a strikeout.

Jaycob Deese pitched three scoreless innings in relief to move the game along and he was dominating . . . Deese was consistently throwing 92 plus and ended his first inning of work on a 97mph fastball . . . Overall Deese struck out five and allowed both a hit and a walk and saw his ERA drop to 2.03 . . . Blake Schultz took the mound in the tenth and eleventh and blanked Texas in both . . . Discussing the bullpen’s effort on Saturday, Head Coach Todd Whitting said, “For those guys to come in and throw strikes like they did, it was huge for us to give us a chance to win that game.”

With one out in the eleventh, Tyler Bielamowicz hit an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence off of Texas pitcher Aaron Nixon to send the Cougars home with a 3-2 victory . . . Bielamowicz was 1-for-4 with two walks on Saturday, but the one was a big one . . . After the celebration at home plate, Tyler was quick to heap praise on his teammates for the win, “Ben Sears pitched a hell of a game today. The guys coming out of the pen pitched a hell of a game.” “Benjamin and Pendergrass had some good late hits to get the rally going.”

Blake Schultz picked up the win to improve to 2-0 with his two innings of late relief work . . . Schultz has been the Sunday starter to begin the season, but having pitched on Saturday now, there is a change afoot for Sunday’s game, no decision on who will start Sunday has been announced yet.

Coach Whitting said after the game about the series with Texas, “That’s a resume builder is what that is. And tomorrow we have to get right back to it and keep building that resume.” “This is resume-building time of year and that’s why they’re on the schedule.”

The Longhorns and Cougars return to action on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 for the rubber match at Schroeder Park, both teams have scored just three runs each in the first two games . . . Asked how his team can win on Sunday, Tyler Bielamowicz said, “Energy. Sunday is all about energy.” –

Cougars Drop UT Opener 1-0

The Houston Cougars began a weekend series with the Texas Longhorns on Friday night at Schroeder Park, and the first game of the series saw the lowest possible score a game can have and still have a winner as the Longhorns took the game 1-0.

Robert Gasser got the Friday night mound assignment and he was phenomenal . . . Gasser pitched a complete seven innings, he did not allow a base hit until the fourth while he scattered four hits and struck out five and took a no-decision as the game was decided the inning after he left.

Gasser was matched scoreless-frame for scoreless-frame by Longhorns pitcher Ty Madden, a hard-throwing right-hander who only allowed the Cougars two hits, a single by Brandon Uhse to lead off the game, and a single by Tyler Bielamowicz in the fourth . . . Madden struck out fourteen Cougars in the complete game effort.

“I pitched well and I went deep into the game and helped my team out,” Gasser said after the game. “I needed to throw the off-speed for strikes, when it got to a tight situation I tried to take a step back and get myself back in the moment and not let the game speed up and just execute the pitch that I wanted to throw.”

Kyle Lovelace was once again outstanding behind the plate, he had an especially crucial caught-stealing to end the seventh, and in another instance he made a play on a weak tapper a few feet from the mound where he fielded, spun, and threw a laser to Ryan Hernandez for the out . . . After the game head coach Todd Whitting commented on Lovelace’s effort on Friday, “I would like to see a better catch-and-throw catcher in division one baseball.” “He made some unreal plays behind the plate, just keeping the ball in front of him,” Whitting said.

In the Longhorns half of the eighth, walks led to a run, giving Texas a 1-0 lead . . . A deep drive to gap in left-center looked to be headed for a clearing of the loaded bases to widen the Longhorns lead, but Brandon Uhse was on the move the entire play and he eventually caught up to the ball as it was behind him and he went tumbling to the ground for the inning ending third out.

The one run was enough for Texas on this night as the Cougars fell 1-0 against one of the toughest pitchers in the country . . . Both starting pitchers reached 100 pitches in the Friday night matchup, a rare feat in college baseball . . . Gasser reached the mark in the seventh, while Madden reached it in the eighth.

The two squads return to Schroeder Park on Saturday afternoon, first pitch is at 2pm . . . Ben Sears will get the ball for Todd Whitting’s team. –

Cougars Win in 10, Improve to 6-1

The Houston Cougars offense had to settle for ten fewer runs than they scored on Saturday night in a record-setting performance, but with the help of outstanding pitching, four runs were enough to eek out a one-run victory in ten innings on Sunday at Whataburger Field.

Blake Schultz got the Sunday start for the Cougars and went four scoreless innings while his offense was also being blanked by the other side . . . Schultz received some aid from his catcher as Kyle Lovelace caught two runners attempting to steal second in the second inning, and caught another in the third to end the inning.

Schutlz and the rest of the Cougars pitching staff was being matched by Islanders starter Hayden Thomas who pitched into the ninth inning before being lifted, but not before he struck out twelve Cougars while only walking one and scattering nine hits.

Cameron Prayer picked up an inning of work relieving Schultz in the fifth and ended the inning without allowing a run . . . Sean Bretz took the mound for the sixth and kept the game scoreless . . . With the game still scoreless, Bretz started the seventh but left with the bases loaded and no outs having allowed the Islanders to take a 1-0 on a throwing error, a situation that Layne Looney inherited . . . The Islanders plated another run on a sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 into the eighth.

Brad Burckel finally got the Cougars on the scoreboard in the eighth when he hit a solo homerun with one out, his second home run in as many games and his third of the young season . . . The Islanders got the run right back in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff home run to make the score 3-1 . . . Ryne Huggins then entered the game and ended the Islanders attempt to pad their lead.

Tyler Bielamowicz led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run to draw the Cougars to within a run, part of a 4-for-5 Sunday for the Cougars senior . . . The Cougars loaded the bases with the help of a couple of errors by the Islanders defense, then Dylan Post grounded into a double play that scored the game-tying run . . . Derrick Cherry took the mound for the ninth and kept the Islanders at bay, sending the game into extras.

In the Cougars half of the tenth, with the customary extra-innings runner being placed on second, in this case it was Brad Burckel, Brandon Uhse doubled to score Burckel and give the Cougars a 4-3 lead . . . The Cougars took that lead to the bottom of the inning, Derrick Cherry again took the mound, this time with the aforementioned runner on second . . . Cherry picked up two strikeouts but loaded the bases with a walk and a hit batter . . . However, Cherry got a bases-loaded groundout to end the game in ten . . . Cherry earned the save in the 4-3 victory.

The Cougars have the next two days away from play and will travel to Beaumont on Wednesday to take on Lamar University at 6pm . . . The Cougars will then look to improve on their 6-1 record to begin 2021, before returning home next weekend to host the Texas Longhorns.