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. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

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

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 Win at Lamar; Davis Homers Again

The Houston Cougars celebrate victory at Lamar University in Beaumont on Tuesday.
The Houston Cougars celebrate victory at Lamar on Tuesday.

Stop me if you have heard this before . . . The Cougars rally late, on a Joe Davis homerun, to win, and Fred Villarreal earns a save.

That is what took place in Beaumont on Tuesday evening as the Houston Cougars visited the Lamar Cardinals, with some other drama along the way.

Clay Aguilar was on the mound for the Cougars and he looked sharp early and his breaking pitches really had nice movement . . . But Aguilar started to lose command of his pitches in the second and the pitch count rose as well . . . Aguilar would leave the game in the third, charged with four runs, but two were unearned as some bizarre baseball took place behind him in the second and third, including the Cougars committing the first two of what ended up being four errors on the night.

Some small ball would help get the Cougars get on the scoreboard in the third as a single by Brad Burckel and a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Lovelace put a runner in scoring position for a double by Jared Triolo, Triolo’s only hit of the night . . . Burckel singled in his first two at-bats, and scored both times.

Rey Fuentes, 3-for-5 in the game, hit an opposite field homerun to lead off the fourth inning . . . The fourth inning also included a single, a wild pitch, a batter bit by a pitch, a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt, another single, another wild pitch, and a partridge in a pear tree . . . When the dust settled the Cougars had scored four in the frame and were leading 5-4.

Lamar scored three in their half of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead . . . This lead held until the top of the eighth when Tyler Bielamowicz, who was on second after a leadoff double to left, was singled home by Lael Lockhart Jr., part of a 2-for-2 night for Lael as he hit the ball hard both times . . . Catcher Blake Way who had entered the game in the sixth replaceing Kyle Lovelace hit a double to center to score Lockhart from second, tying the game at eight.

Devon Roedahl had entered the game in the seventh, relieving Brayson Hurdsman, and he was outstanding . . . Roedahl ended the seventh completely freezing Lamar’s Cole Girouard on a called third strike to end the inning . . . Devon returned to the mound in the eighth and sent Lamar batters down in order to set up the ninth inning.

Joe Davis led off the ninth inning . . . Davis was sitting 1-0 when he unloaded on the second pitch he saw from Lamar’s Ryan Erickson . . . The homerun shot was a no-doubter, the left-fielder barely moved as he watched the ball sail over his head and over the left field wall . . . The Cougars would be retired in order after the Davis homerun.

Fred Villarreal came in to close the door with a 8-7 lead, and he did so on nine pitches as he retired all three batters he faced . . . For Villarreal it was his sixth save on the year.

The Cougars have little time to rest, they return to action tomorrow night back home at Schroeder Park where they will host Florida International University (FIU) . . . First pitch against FIU is at 6:30pm. –

 

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Cougars Come Up Short Against UConn

Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UConn Friday night at Schroeder Park. Photo by Cougars Beat.
Lael Lockhart Jr. faces UConn Friday night at Schroeder Park.
Photo by Cougars Beat.

The Houston Cougars opened conference play on Friday night when they played host to the Connecticut Huskies . . . Offense was difficult to come by for both teams in the conference opener thanks to both starting pitchers and all of three relievers between the two teams.

Lael Lockhart Jr. got the Friday night start again, a role he has settled into nicely it would appear . . . The fourth inning proved the decisive one after Lockhart got the batters down in order in the very quick second and third innings . . . Two errors would lead to two unearned runs, the only two runs UConn scored on the night.

UConn starter Mason Feole was difficult to figure out on Friday night . . . At one point he threw a fastball at 91, the next pitch changed speed and was clocked at 73 . . . Feole’s mix of speed and control had him sailing in his seven innings of work.

The Cougars offense put their lone run on the board in the seventh when Kobe Hyland led off the inning with a double and would score on some small-ball and some miscues by the UConn defense.

When Lockhart left in the eighth, reliever Fred Villarreal came in to record the final 1 2/3 innings, he retired all five batters he faced in another stellar relief appearance this season.

UConn went to their bullpen twice, but it was their third pitcher, Jacob Wallace, who really closed the door . . . Wallace clocked in at 97 in striking out Joe Davis to end the eighth and would get the Coogs out in order in the ninth . . . The Cougars matched UConn with four hits in the game, but UConn scored that one extra run and held on for a 2-1 win.

The Cougars and the Huskies return to action at 6:30 on Saturday night at Schroeder Park.

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars Shutout in 1-0 Road Finale

cropped-houston-cougars-baseball.jpg

The Houston Cougars and McNeese State Cowboys locked up in a a classic ballgame Tuesday in Lake Charles, Louisiana . . . If you stopped watching the game after the first inning, you would not believe the final score.

Clay Aguilar got the Tuesday start and he was shaky out of the box . . . The first batter walked, the next one singled, the next was hit by a pitch to load the bases before an out was recorded . . . The damage would be limited though, to just one run . . . It would be the only run of the entire game for either team.

Aguilar was very good after that shaky first and did not deserve the loss for that performance, turning in four solid innings of work . . . Right-hander Sean Bretz came into the game in the fifth and pitched four scoreless innings, a great performance in his own right . . . Bretz did not give up a hit and walked two batters, but his outing was a welcome sight.

The Cowboys offense is no slouch either. Just last month when McNeese visited Schroeder Park they put up 13 runs, granted it took fourteen innings, but offense is offense, and they were limited to a single run on Tuesday night.

A somewhat scary and bizarre incident took place in the fourth inning when Cowboys first baseman Jacob Stracner singled to right field . . . Cowboys right fielder Jake Dickerson tried to score from second on the hit, but Lael Lockhart Jr. got a throw to Coogs catcher Kyle Lovelace in plenty of time . . . Dickerson rolled into Lovelace violently and awkwardly enough that home plate umpire Ron Teague wasted no time tossing Dickerson from the game . . . Lovelace remained down for a moment, but he was able to get off the field and he caught the rest of the game.

The Cougars offense could not muster much of anything in the game, Grayson Padgett accounted for the teams two hits on the night, a double in the first to leadoff the game and a single in the fifth . . . The Coogs would threaten, loading the bases themselves in the first, but they came away with nothing . . . The Cougars would also leave six runners on base for the game, a glaring stat when a team loses 1-0.

So, the Cougars head back home now and await the Connecticut Huskies who will be in town for the first conference series of the season . . . First pitch is at 6:30pm Friday night at Schroeder Park.

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

DBU Takes Series Finale as Coogs Fall 8-4

cropped-houston-cougars-baseball.jpg

The Houston Cougars went for the sweep Sunday afternoon in the final game of their three game series with the Patriots of Dallas Baptist University . . . They were well position going in, facing a pitcher in Zach Heaton getting his first career college start.

Meanwhile, Ryan Randel missed his Saturday start yesterday due to an apparent illness, so he got pushed back a day to Sunday, and he was outstanding.

The only scoring for the Cougars on Sunday came in the sixth inning . . . Lael Lockhart Jr. got on base first when he was hit by a pitch . . . Jared Triolo then doubled to put runners at second and third . . . Joe Davis then lined the first pitch he saw from DBU reliever Jarod Bayless over the fence in left-center for a three run homerun . . . Two batters later Kobe Hyland would hit a solo homerun to right and the Coogs had a 4-2 lead.

Randel went six innings allowing just two runs, one run was scored on a triple that easily could have been an out, but Blake Way lost the ball on the warning track looking up into the sun . . . Randel did walk four batters and just over half of his 91 pitches were for strikes, the illness or the extra day off may have contributed to the loss of command, but he left the game with his team leading 4-2 and you cannot expect more than that.

Houston’s bullpen was not able to hold off DBU in the two innings after Randel exited, as they gave up six runs . . . In fact six of the thirteen batters the bullpen faced would score in the final two frames to give DBU a 8-4 lead.

The Cougars offense struggled in the final three innings, with the only base hit coming when Lael Lockhart Jr. hit a double to lead off the eighth, but he would be stranded at third when the inning ended.

The Cougars continue their road trip and will play McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Tuesday afternoon at 6pm before returning home for a conference series with Connecticut next weekend.

 

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Cougars Take Marathon Game 1 in Dallas

The Houston Cougars in their pre-game routine at Dallas Baptist on Friday. Photo by @numberonecoog via Twitter.
The Cougars in their pre-game routine at Dallas Baptist on Friday.
Photo by @numberonecoog via Twitter.

The Houston Cougars played their first ever game at Dallas Baptist University on Friday night. No one will forget the game anytime soon. The Patriots of Dallas Baptist entered Friday with an eight game win streak, while the Cougars arrived in town with a four game win streak of their own.

The Cougars shifted their batting order a bit for the Friday tilt . . . Jared Triolo was moved from his usual three spot and batted second while Joe Davis was moved from his usual cleanup spot and batted third . . . As hot as Davis has been, this was likely a move to get Davis a few more possible at-bats, or at least, at-bats in crucial situations.

The first nine batters for the Cougars garnered four base hits, all singles. This could have indicated the Cougar hitters were seeing the ball well and were not fooled by Patriots starting pitcher Jordan Martinson . . . As it turned out, the Cougars would not score a run until the seventh when Dallas Baptist finally went to the bullpen.

Whatever the strategy on the changed batting order, it worked perfectly on Friday night as Davis in the three spot would bat in two different innings with the bases loaded, and he delivered runs both times . . . His first RBI was a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, part of a three-run seventh in which the Cougars took a 3-2 lead.

Lael Lockhart Jr. made his second consecutive Friday night start on the mound for the Cougars and he had a very good outing . . . He would go six solid innings, and after a rather long top of the seventh for the Cougars offense, Lockhart went back out to the mound for the bottom of the inning . . . He may have been on the bench too long in that top part of the inning, he seemed to be tiring anyway which would make sense with an elevated pitch count . . . After a leadoff single, Lockhart made an errant pick-off throw to first that went down the first base line and put the runner on third.

At that point, pitching change after pitching change took place and the Patriots scored three runs to re-take the lead 5-3 in an inning which lasted about 40 minutes.

The Coogs bounced right back with a four-run eighth, featuring two of Davis’ three RBI in the game and a Kobe Hyland RBI single which ended when Blake Way was caught up in an inning-ending rundown between second and third.

The Cougars scored eight runs in the final three innings of the game . . . They would score the eight runs on only three hits, with the help of seven walks, one error, and a hit batter . . . The Cougars also left eleven runners on base on the evening.

Over four and a half hours after the first pitch, Devon Roedahl shut the door on the Patriots to earn a save and secure the 8-6 win, the Cougars fifth consecutive victory.

The Cougars and the Patriots return to action on Saturday afternoon in Dallas, with an earlier than usual 2pm start. –

 

Newspaper column version of this recap

Cougars End Skid, Defeat Army 6-3

Friday night baseball vs. Army at Schroeder Park. Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.
Friday night baseball vs. Army at Schroeder Park.
Photo by @5_Coogs via Twitter.

The Army Black Knights arrived at Schroeder Park Friday afternoon to face a Houston Cougars team that had lost five straight games dating back two weekends ago when they lost the series finale to Arizona.

Friday night starter Tyler Bielamowicz was scratched from his usual start day due to illness, and Lael Lockhart Jr. would take the hill instead.

The Cougars led off each of the first three innings with a base hit . . . It is no coincidence that the Cougars would also score runs in each of those three innings . . . When the Cougars stopped getting the leadoff batter on base, they also stopped scoring runs.

Lockhart was very effective in his outing as he allowed just one earned run in 5 1/3 innings, exiting in the sixth with his team ahead 4-1 . . . The bullpen would allow the Black Knights to score two runs before Nolan Bond would come in from the bullpen to end the inning with the Cougars lead down to a run, 4-3.

Joe Davis would immediately get a run back, sending the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth inning over the left field wall . . . For Davis it was career homerun number 40 at the University of Houston . . . It was also another leadoff hit leading to runs scoring in the inning, the Coogs would manufacture another run in the inning, taking a 6-3 lead.

Devon Roedahl entered the game to pitch in the seventh and was immediately greeted by a leadoff triple by Army center fielder Jacob Hurtubise . . . Roedahl remained calm, made his pitches, and three outs later had left Hurtubise on third . . . Roedahl would get Army down in order in the eighth.

Roedahl would face a little adversity in the ninth, but he was able to shut down the Black Knights and get the final three outs to end the Cougars five game losing streak . . . Cougars pitching allowed only four hits on the night, two each by two hitters . . . This was a solid team win for the Coogs, and while Lael Lockhart Jr. got the official win, the entire team played a part in the Friday night victory.

The Cougars and the Black Knights continue their series Saturday evening at 6:30pm at Schroeder Park. –

 

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Cougars Hang Close, Lose 3-2 to Texas A&M

Lael Lockhart, Jr. throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Sunday. Photo by Cougars Beat
Lael Lockhart, Jr. throws the first pitch against Texas A&M on Sunday.
Photo by Cougars Beat

The Houston Cougars will be glad to wake up tomorrow morning knowing they do not have any more games at Minute Maid Park this year . . . The Cougars took on the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday afternoon in their final game of the 2019 Shriners College Classic.

The Cougars had a nice crowd on hand to see left-hander Lael Lockhart, Jr. take the mound for the third time this season . . . The Aggies would counter with a lefty of their own, Jonathan Childress.

The Aggies would open the scoring in the fourth inning on a line-drive double down the third base line that brought home one run.

Childress for his part went three scoreless, hitless innings . . . During his warmup tosses in the fourth inning, Childress felt something he did not like in his arm, and after bringing the Aggies head coach and trainer to the mound, Childress would depart the game . . . Chandler Jozwiak would replace Childress, and second baseman Brad Burckel would promptly get the first base hit for the Cougars.

Lockhart would exit the game in the fifth inning with two outs and two runners on base . . . Right-hander Devon Roedahl would enter the game and he would induce an inning-ending ground ball . . . Roedahl was solid out of the bullpen. He ran into trouble in the eighth when he loaded the bases with no outs, but he got a double-play and a strikeout to work out of the jam only allowing one run.

The Cougars were still in the game when Lockhart exited, down only 2-0 . . . But the offense was struggling . . . Joe Davis was 0-for-9 entering Sunday’s action . . . Davis would get his first base hit of the weekend, a towering blast to deep right-center field that the Aggie center-fielder would get his glove on but not reel in . . . One batter later the Cougars had the bases loaded with one out and would score one run on a fielders choice by Grayson Padgett to cut the Aggie lead to 2-1.

Down 3-1 in the eighth Jared Triolo reached base on a walk, and Joe Davis followed that with his second consecutive double, this one off the out-of-town scoreboard in front of the Crawford Boxes, and he had the Cougars back within a run at 3-2.

Devon Roedahl would leave the game in the ninth after a leadoff single, he threw 56 pitches in his 3 1/3 innings of solid relief work . . . Spencer Hynes would inherit a runner and get three outs to get out of the inning by throwing seven pitches, all of them for strikes.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars were not able to get anything going and went down in order . . . The offense left seven runners on base in the game, a glaring number in the eyes of a one-run defeat . . . The Cougars have now lost their last nine games at Minute Maid Park.

The Cougars return to action on Tuesday when they will host Rice at Schroeder Park . . . The weather will be on the chilly side, so dress warm and get to the ballpark and root for the Coogs. –

 

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